Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Sunday, December 23, 2018
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Monday, December 17, 2018
Popular Christmas Flowers
These bright red flowers are sold in locations all over Okinawa around the Xmas holidays.
Legend has it, some kid ate the plants and died. We found out that's BS.
The Flower Society and Ohio State University conducted an experiment.
No parents wanted to volunteer their children so, rats were used for testing.
They fed the rodents large quantities of Poinsettia plant parts and the rats didn't die!
Monster Size Poinsettia Plants
On Okinawa, the Euphorbia pulcherrima (Poinsettia) can become shrubs as large as trees.
The first time I found one taller than me, I was on an outer island.
Not wanting people to start worrying about their pets or children eating poison, I checked.
Doctors at WebMD say the poisonous part is a myth, like flying reindeer.
Over the years whenever I spot a huge Poinsettia, I try and pose with them.
It must have been freezing the day I was wearing that red jacket.
That would be below 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 Celcius.
People worried about pets around these plants should visit the HELPLINE.
Treatment for dogs and cats is rarely required because:
What Kind of Stupid Animal Would Eat Pretty Flowers Anyhow?
Research Cracks Me Up
Sometimes, I roll around on the floor laughing at the things scientists come up with.
Let me give you one last photo of a giant Poinsettia plant next to me.
To prove they're not poisonous sometimes, I touch the fuzzy little things.
Texas Cooperative Extension busts the poison myth wide open.
If you have a really stupid child weighing 50 pounds, you could try this:
Feed the kid 500 pounds of Poinsettia parts and, it won't kill them!
This kind of stuff I don't make-up. It's true. The plants are harmless.
Visit Texas A&M University to learn more about Poinsettias.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Saturday, December 1, 2018
Wintering in Okinawa
Luckily, I have an internet friend who speaks Dutch and hooked me up with this bird ID.
Whenever I find a critter (like this) which becomes unidentifiable, I turn to Facebook.
I submit a photo to a Closed Group named "Determinatie van planten en dieren."
In English, I give them the location the animal was photographed in and ask for help.
Within hours, sometimes minutes, I get an identification.
My friend got me into this Closed Group somehow but, I won't reveal her name.
She's like some kind of magic lady and, I don't want the CIA hunting her down.
When I posted this photo to Facebook, she was the first one to identify the bird.
She opened a 300-page bird book and the Little Bunting was the first bird to show up.
Hey! The CIA Could Use People Like Her
First, let me tell you where you can learn more about this bird.
Handbook of the Birds of the World, tells you where they come from.
Old World Europe, Russia, and northern China have these birds.
They must not like snow so, they winter in the southern climates.
More could be found in Wikipedia but, I think the CIA doesn't like them anymore.
CIA Dudes can reach me by email, for more information on that woman.
But, they better be talking some big bucks or, I won't say nothing!
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Monday, November 26, 2018
AKA Butastur indicus
Camera: Pentax K1
Lens: Sigma 50-500 + 1.4 Converter Focal Length 700 MM
Exposure: f/9.5 1/400 ISO 800
Location: Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan
Date and Time: NOV 26 2018, 9:45 AM
Saturday, November 24, 2018
Just Home From an Exhausting Trip
It was sort of a whirlwind tour of Izenajima and cameras are downloaded, batteries charging.
The purpose of the trip, wasn't to get full moon photos but, it happened while we were there.
The moon was actually full on the night of the 23rd. Clouds covered it.
But, at 3:40 AM the Beaver Moon was shining, directly over my hotel.
So, I shot it. End of report.
Thursday, November 22, 2018
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Until Saturday Night
It's been a busy week and there are several hundred photos of this bird in the pending files.
About to make another excursion at sea, I'm packing the bags tonight.
Traveling light, I won't take a computer but, may have some iPhone access.
Enjoy the weekend and, we'll see if I have anything exciting to post Monday.
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
They Say Walk 10,000 Steps a Day
So, I let Apple have access to my location on the iPhone contraption.
Wherever I walk, as long as the phone is with me, I'm supposed to get a step count.
The technology must not be perfected yet. I walked to the coffee machine to buy iced coffee.
It's about a city block away. Got my coffee and started drinking while checking my steps.
The thing said I walked a grand total of eight steps, first thing this morning.
Maybe it takes a few hours for the satellite information to get there, inside my phone.
So, I finished my coffee and went back to bed.
About the Bird
This character hangs out in a tree a few minutes walk from my house, sometimes.
Several times a day (before noon) I walked down the road looking for my feathered friend.
Bird photos look better when they're out in nature not, on telephone poles.
The sun was in a position to light the bird's eye up nicely so, I took some photos.
It was around 8:30 AM and, I'm glad I got some images early in the morning.
Five or six trips outdoors, looking for the bird in the trees were disappointing.
My last hike around the neighborhood ended as the sun was setting behind the mountains.
There are more lousy photos of the bird in this electrical environment.
Let me know if anyone needs to study the length of bird toenails. OK?
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Camera: Pentax K1
Lens: Sigma 50-500 with 1.4 converter - Focal Length 700 MM
Exposure: f/9.5 1/125 ISO 100
Location: Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan
Date and Time: November 6, 2018, 9:01 AM
Saturday, November 3, 2018
12 Photos from a Nature Hike
There were three of us, long-term Okinawa residents, on this excursion.
With a grand total of almost a century on the island, we've never been here before.
One of the things I love about the Ryukyu Island Chain is the discoveries to be made.
Just when you think you've seen it all, something else will pop up.
Fooling Around in the Travel Industry
Over the years we learned to make use of the travel information offices.
It pays, to make contacts, gather tourism brochures, and swipe maps.
People become great friends when they see a couple of foreigners promoting travel and tourism.
Dozens of times, we had traveled through this area and never noticed the Horohoro Forest.
Last year, we promised to take a girl named Yuka out for lunch.
Her 28th birthday was in October. She's always helpful. We owe her a steak dinner.
Well, a typhoon or something happened and, we missed the date!
Mothers tell your daughters to ignore old guys promising you steak dinners.
Here's what led us to Horohoro. We promised to take the gal to lunch, again.
This time it was supposed to be something a little bit different.
Have you ever heard of Flying Fish Soba? Me neither but, that was the plan.
Yuka, being in the travel and tourism business, was promoting the fish and noodles soup.
Yuck. I told everybody if the place had Hamburger Soba, I'd order that.
The girl wouldn't be free for lunch until noon so, we had some time to kill.
In a brand new travel information office, I noticed a map with Horohoro on it.
Asking a guy behind the counter, where Horohoro might be, he helped me.
He came out from behind the counter and pointed at a green-roofed building.
Up there, behind that building on the hill, Horohoro Forest could be found.
Things Like This Just Don't Happen
Bumbling around, making believe you speak Japanese and stuff, goes a long way.
The forest was up on that hill and we had a bit over an hour to kill. What could go wrong?
Three elderly gentlemen with a young date pending, should get out and exercise.
So, there we were, huffing and puffing up and down the jungle trails.
Just picture it. Man against nature. Earthy elements and stuff like that. Wilderness.
Fortunately We Traveled in a Pack
It's easy to get carried away and forget about a young gal and stinking fish soup.
The wife told me, flying fish soba would be good for my heart. Yuck.
Anyhow, up and down the hills along that trail, the steps made navigation fairly easy.
Nobody was out there except us. Toilets seemed to be everywhere behind any tree.
Um, I mean, "They don't have any." You have to use your imagination.
About halfway through the nature trail, we came across a second map signboard.
You know, where the red dot is means, "You Are Here."
Just past that sign, the trail took a big dip, going downhill. We checked the time.
There was no sense going down a steep grade if, we had to hurry back up for a date.
If, you ever get old remember, travel in packs. It's smarter than traveling alone.
For being out in the wilderness, this trail is really well maintained.
Wooden stairs and handrails aren't something you'd expect to find but, they were.
The log steps and handrails are actually made with concrete. They look like wood, huh?
Going up and down the steps along this trail can give you an appetite.
Even though my stomach started growling, I wasn't looking forward to flying fish soup.
Funny thing: We found the spot where it's sold and, I told the guy there, I'd be back for lunch.
Someday, I'll have a Part II for this trail to show you. I want to go back.
According to my calculations, after about 600 meters of hiking, it leads to the sea.
We had to hurry. No sense in standing the birthday girl up, two years in a row.
We got to her office shortly before noon and went across the street.
Not five minutes away was the Every Choice Steak House.
Smooth talkers insisted on buying Yuka a steak dinner. Soup is too cheap!
While waiting for our orders, we mentioned the Horohoro Forest experience.
On my iPhone Google Maps, didn't have the place listed.
We learned, "Horohoro" means cinnamon in Okinawan language.
We walked halfway through a cinnamon forest and, I didn't bite one tree!
A few years ago, I had a cinnamon tree encounter and, got to bring a chunk home.
Heck, I eat cinnamon every day and spend my hard-earned money to buy the stuff.
Must Return: Forest of Horohoro
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Friday, October 26, 2018
Before Sunrise on October 23 2018
The Chinese calendar sometimes places the full moon differently than a Roman calendar.
That was the case this month. I won't argue with the Chinese or Romans either.
For this month's full moon photography, the plan was, to catch the moon setting in the West.
Waking up at 2:30 in the morning, I would walk to the beach with the dog and a camera.
By the time I wandered home, the sun would be rising.
Scene at 5:22 AM October 24 2018
Its cool enough in the mornings to wear a light jacket and, the mosquitoes aren't awake, yet.
The moon shines and fades as clouds blow by.
My preference would be for clear shots of the moon but, some folks like to see the weather.
It didn't rain and wasn't too windy. Clouds kept drifting in and out of my scenes.
October 25 2018 at 4:52 AM
Clouds and moisture in the air can change the colors captured in the moon.
There are ways to change the color after taking photos but, I leave them natural.
So, what you are seeing is, exactly what I saw, except for cropping and enlarging the scenery.
Shortly after 6 AM, this was my parting shot.
Standing on a seawall at Kin Port, I caught the moon reflecting over the bay.
A few minutes later, it would be setting behind the clouds.
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Sunday, October 14, 2018
Away from Festival Grounds
Kyuzo Toyama is considered the father of Okinawan emigration.
Kin Town is celebrating the 150th year of his birth during this annual festival.
Grounded by doctor's orders and heavily medicated, I didn't attend the matsuri.
Having been to this festival dozens of times, I came up with a plan. Stay home.
Under orders, to not leave the house, I simply went up on the roof.
Normally, the bursts of fire would appear off to the west of my position.
This year the wind decided to carry the show off towards the north.
Having the camera and zoom lens mounted on a sturdy tripod made things simple.
It was easy to swing the contraptions around and capture a few good shots.
The camera was taken off Auto Focus and, I focus to infinity.
That way the lens won't be continually searching in the dark for fireworks.
Starting things off, I use an exposure of f/11 1/60 ISO 100.
Hanabi can be tricky and you learn to adjust the shutter speed, quickly.
Some photos were exposed 0.3 seconds, others to 1.6 seconds. I go with the flow.
There are advantages to being up on a roof shooting festival fireworks.
Number One: Nobody can walk in front of the camera and ruin your shot!
My method of shooting is, use continuous firing mode or rapid fire.
That means, I hold the shutter button down and fire bursts of 3 or 4 images at a time.
Everyone has their own preferences for fireworks photography. That's mine.
If, you Google "Fireworks Photography" there are probably a dozen other ways of doing it.
A tripod makes things a lot easier and eliminates camera shake somewhat.
But, I have also steadied the camera resting on a fence, wall, or rock and, done just as well.
An advantage I discovered this time around, to being farther away pleased me.
The wind seemed to clear the smoke surrounding the fireworks, more quickly.
Smoke can ruin some great shots when it clouds-up images.
Hanabi, translated to English, would mean, flower fire. What flower is this?
Maybe a dandelion or one of those weeds growing on your lawn?
The Mad Moment, when all Hell breaks loose gave me flashbacks.
They must say, "Times up" and load everything they've got in their mortar tubes.
Not very pretty but, this photo shows some buildings silhouetted in the foreground.
I could email you a digital copy for only 5 bucks!