Monday, July 29, 2019
Camera: Pentax K1
Lens: Pentax 300MM + 1.4 converter Focal Length 420MM
Exposure: f/5.6 1/2000 ISO 400
Location: Kin Town Okinawa Japan
Date and Time: JUL 29 2019 7:13AM
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Monday, July 22, 2019
Hundreds of Photos Were Taken
Yesterday two summer festivals (matsuri) took place at Kin Dam.
The Kin Dam Festival and the 20th annual Kin Eisa Matsuri were held in a dam park.
On a July afternoon the temperatures outside are almost unbearably sticky hot.
The Dam Matsuri took place from 10 AM until 5 PM. I skipped that one!
Arriving early enough to check some camera positions out, I stayed mostly in the shade.
The smells of food cooking in festival tents, drifted over my way and was irresistible.
So, I went and gobbled some food (you don't want to hear about) down.
Then, walked over to these Chondara dudes and asked if, I could take their photo.
Chondara, also known as Gajan Gani, are sorta friendly clowns.
After showing them how the photo looked on the camera LCD screen I said "Thanks" and left.
There never used to be children, doing the Eisa dances at festivals, in years gone by.
But, recently you may see kids out dancing with the adults almost anywhere.
Not sure if these are sisters or, mother and daughter, I didn't bother to ask.
Whoever the children are, they must practice plenty because they're really good.
The timing of their movements is excellent and, they even know how to chant and shout.
It isn't just the young girl children out there; boys get in on the act too.
These guys bang the drums, just like the big men do and, they do some high stepping, too.
One toddler was probably too small for the Eisa uniforms but, got to dance anyway.
Other little kids on the sidelines sorta kept cheering him on. Bet they envied him!
The light started fading as the sun crept down behind the mountains and I was glad.
A gentle breeze would soon start cooling things down out on that hot field.
It's difficult taking photos of the dancers, with all the guests surrounding the performers.
You're not allowed to just kick grandmas and grandpas, to get them out of the way. Rats.
Sundown Saved the Day
There are always plenty of people who know me, at these events and we get to chat.
The hardest part, is when they try bringing me some saki or beers.
Usually, I tell them I'm working and can't drink until I finish. They understand.
The Gajan Gani (Chondara/Clowns) from Nakagawa performed here.
They got their district started with the night's Eisa dances and, they were great performers.
Had there been a competition among the Eisa groups, these folks would have won!
Nakagawa, had some little tyke drummers, too.
This would be the last group I photographed doing their dances. Time to leave the crowd.
Hanabi or Fireworks Next on the Schedule
It happens to me all the time. The fireworks go off right where you don't want them to be.
Heading away from the crowds, I set my camera and tripod up at the edge of a field.
The first few blasts took place almost directly overhead.
Knowing I probably wouldn't be getting any award winning photos, I didn't cuss.
All you can do is move the camera lens around and hope for the best.
It's alright to cuss, too. Just do it softly so, nobody can hear you.
The wind was blowing but, all the smells and smoke of the fireworks hung in the air.
Next year if this matsuri is in the same location, I'll distance myself from the explosions.
Like, get up on a hill away from the fairgrounds and maybe get some reflections in water.
It was a festival at a dam. Why didn't I think about reflection shots? Dammit!
My parting shot. I'll call it, "Sunflower."
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Monday, July 15, 2019
Sunrise Began Looking Unimpressive
Taking a circuitous route to the beach, at first, I was disappointed.
Umi no Hi (Ocean Day) only comes once a year. It's the third Monday in July.
Before 5 AM the long hike to a remote beach began. I wanted to catch the sunrise.
Clouds blocked the sun along the horizon. I shrugged and headed west along the beach.
Ten minutes later, the sun started to burn through the cloudy horizon.
By 6 AM I had positioned the camera where this reflection would appear.
"Happy Umi no Hi," I posted on Facebook, a similar iPhone image.
One Camera One Lens
Traveling light, there was just a camera (no tripod) and I went without a backpack.
Pentax K1 and a Pentax 18-250MM were slung from my shoulder.
When I'm out hunting wild things, 300-700MM of lenses may accompany me.
Today, I was limited to 250MM of glass, at the maximum.
Bird shots were difficult but, some dragonflies cooperated with the photography.
This Red Dragonfly happened to land on some vegetation with a white background.
Scientists claim the red ones are scarce in mainland Japan due to pesticides.
They're nowhere near extinct in Okinawa, Japan. I see them daily.
Bird of the Day: Streaked Fantail Warbler
Far from the ocean and headed home, this bird appeared and was a challenge for the camera.
Zitting Cisticola is another name for them but, I call them Scissors Birds.
That's because of the sounds they make when flitting around in fields.
They could be mistaken for a barber shop's squeaky scissors. Snip, snip, snip, snip, snip.
Normally, my view of the Kin Power Plant is from another direction.
This composition was made using local vegetation as the foreground.
Ocean Day, in Japan, was established to express gratitude for the sea and its bounty.
For me, today was another day I'm happy about everything nature has provided.
That's blue skies, sunshine, bugs, birds and, an occasional cloud overhead.
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Sunday, July 7, 2019
Ogimi Candle Night
A few years ago this event was started in the Shirahama district of Ogimi.
It was a practical way to recycle candles left over from wedding ceremonies.
Before sunset Eisa dancing is performed by talented youngsters at the community center.
Shirahama is a small community so, a group of 5 kicks off the entertainment.
Before long some bystanders decide to jump in and dance with the Eisa group.
There aren't tents set up selling refreshments. People bring their own booze and food.
Barbecues are set up by families and you can smell burning charcoal drifting through the air.
Get close enough to those in attendance and you may smell alcoholic spirits, too.
The annual Candle Night became so popular, all of Ogimi participates these days.
Along the west coast of Okinawa, Shioa Bay becomes encircled with burning candles.
Five or six thousand candles are lighted in time for sundown. It's 7:02 in this photo.
As the sun was setting behind us the orange glow of candles started appearing on the bay.
The PET bottles contain about a pint of water in them to keep the wind from tipping things.
When the sun dips below the horizon, the candles put on quite a show.
The road across the bay became my subject for reflection photography. It wasn't easy.
Using slow shutter speeds and the camera's timer proved challenging.
My friends heard me cuss (softly) every time a car's headlights ruined my compositions.
Facing west the moon was visible above the bridge and reflections in the water.
A few times clouds looked threatening but, miraculously rain never fell.
Sometimes, I swear the old Okinawan priestesses control the weather. Good gals!
Moving around the bay some interesting reflections would appear around bridges.
If only, the spiritual leaders could control automobile headlights and traffic.
For sure, I'd buy them some drinks.
Some very creative individuals added their artwork to the PET bottle windshields.
The plastic encased candles were placed in decorated wax paper cartons.
Shortly after 9 PM, this photo was taken. It was time to start heading home.
At every festival on this island, friends are made and, I can hardly wait to return.
For what seems like a never-ending rainy season, this festival stayed dry.
After dropping my photo gear off at the office, I walked to the drinking part of town.
The skies opened up and rain poured down on me. It felt terrific.
But, one beer is the limit according to my doctor. So, that's what I did.
Before midnight I was snoring, at home.
Tuesday, July 2, 2019
Going Extinct in Japan?
Shooting Dragonflies wasn't planned as I went on my morning walks the past few days.
But, they kept showing up and reminded me of this article I read recently.
It seems like the poor rascals are headed the way of dinosaurs, in mainland Japan.
Some scientists estimate 99% of the Red Dragonfly population has been wiped out.
The population of dragonflies seems to be doing alright in Okinawa.
They claim, bug spray used by mainland farmers, is what's destroying the insects.
But, the chemical companies manufacturing bug spray would argue. Not our poisons!
Just like in America. Sugar ain't bad for your health. Ask any breakfast cereal company!
Grandkids Are Always Popping Up Around Here
It's summertime, they live nearby and, Grandpa always has ice cream.
A story about dragonflies mating will have to be modified. Adults can read the link.
Let's see. The one in front is the male dragonfly and, they're flying around together.
He has his "Hu-Ya" stuck in her "Ah-Hum."
Flying around at high speed, they're looking for a safe place to land.
Then, they really get it on and do the copulating thing.
More at How Dragonflies Mate.
Sorry for the shortened version. I gotta run before all the ice cream is gone!