Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Special Trees and Another Sacred Grove

Natural Monument of Okinawa Prefecture



Today day was spent searching for the special trees in the Ryukyu culture.

A little hike up a hill, led to Kami-ashagi, in the Hiji area of Okinawa.

Bischofia tree, Akagi

The goal, for me, was to locate this tree, called an Akagi (Bischofia) that's on my list.

The large trees in this grove are over 250 years old.

log stairway, trail

The trail, leading to the top of the hill was well maintained.

It was warm enough for the mosquitoes to come out so, we used some repellant.

uphill trail, stairs

The autumn leaves around here, don't crunch under your feet.

In the forest, they compost real fast and, smell woodsy.

When, I get home maybe, I'll hose my feet and flip-flops down over a flowerpot.

Tell the missus, I'm fertilizing her plants.

thatched roof hut

The trail, led to this place of worship, Kami-ashagi.

It is extremely important to know, you never enter one of these structures.

I maintain my distance and photograph them but, would only enter one by invitation.

They are used for cultural rituals and, in many villages, only women may enter them.

English text sign

A sign, nearby, gave some history about the area.

A photo of the English portion, will come in handy for future reference.

jungle trail

Having taken photos of the trees, I was after, the return trip began.

Going downhill was much more enjoyable.


We were blessed with warm weather and blue skies, all this week.

So, I made sure to capture as much with the camera as possible, during the descent.

log staircase, trail,jungle

People, living in snow country, might appreciate all this greenery.

Any day now, we will start getting temperatures in the 60's and I will be freezing !

Note to those who followed this far:

Tomorrow, I will be going to a hospital for a short visit and, will be offline.

Automotively speaking, I guess you could say, something popped in my exhaust manifold.

And, they have to open my engine compartment up, to put a patch inside.

Lucky, for me, it's an up front repair and not, a broken tailpipe.

See you next week !

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Funny Landing But Impressive Bird

Great Egret



These egrets were headed for extinction, at one point in history.

That's because, people liked their bright, white feathers.

Great Egret landing in a tree

There are way, too many, images of egrets in my flies already.

But, I just had to save this bird's goofy-looking descent.

egret with wings spread

Once it got settled, my feathered friend, did a bit more regal posing for me.

All About Birds



There are so many types of herons and egrets, identification can get confusing.

On an occasion or two, I have misidentified a bird and, posted it here.

Something like that can be a disastrous experience.

Bird watching experts and scientists, will jump down your throat !

So, what I do now, is go to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology for identification.

If this egret isn't an Ardea alba, they can try and jump down some other guy's throat.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Wildlife GIFs: Grey Heron in Flight

Ardea cinera, bird, flying

November in Okinawa Just Can't Be Beat



It was a little windy and warm so, the birds probably liked it as much as I did, today.

These photos were taken, where the Okukubi River, meets the Kin Dam.

 Photos of several different species of birds were taken over a period of about 3 hours.

The Grey Heron shots, I liked the best.

They are just magnificent birds, when they are in flight.

And, today, they performed for me, when the lighting was just right.

If you enjoy being outdoors, this is the time of year to visit the Ryukyu Islands.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Grey Heron and Its Shadow in Flight (GIF)

bird, Ardea cinera,flying,shadow

Fish Jumping Out of the River Too



It was a beautiful Autumn day and, I couldn't resist a walk to the Kin Dam.

The plan was, to take advantage of the blue skies and sunshine.

It would have been nice, to come home with some eagle and hawk photos.

That didn't happen but, there were plenty of heron and egret shots taken.

This Grey Heron put on a good show.

Look closely and, you can see fish, jumping in the lower left of the frame.

The series of photos was captured at 4:15PM.

A few minutes later, the sun would be going down behind the mountains.

Once that happened, it was time to put on a jacket and, start walking home.

Location: Okukubi River directly below Kin Dam

Camera: Pentax K3

Lens: Sigma 50-500 at 500mm

Exposure: f/9   1/640   ISO 100

Learn more about this bird, the Ardea cinera at ARKive

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Ryukyu Castanet Known as Sanba (三板)

Musical instrument, sanba

This instrument accompanies many Okinawan folk bands.

It is a gadget made by threading three pieces of hardwood on a string.

It took awhile, but, I found a good video of the sanba in action.

One of these musical instruments has been taking up space in my office.

Today, I decided to use it as a photographic subject.

Using available light, I shot a few different compositions, with black and white backgrounds.

Still not sure, which, I like best. Maybe, I'll try some Okinawan fabric next time.

The research, led me to something about this instrument, I had never known.

It was introduced to Okinawa by a famous singer.

Now deceased, he was the father of another musician, Kina Shoukichi.

Read more about it at The Power of Okinawa

Kina the younger, had one heck of a good band, back in the good old days.

Recently, he got himself into politics and, got whooped really bad.

Politics and, I don't really agree with each other but, I can play the sanba.

Maybe, I should look that guy, Kina Shoukichi up.

If he'll teach me how to play the sanshin and sing, I'll show him how to play the sanba !

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