Amami Superman Photography

A Place to Share My Photos

Mar 12, 2010

Waterfalls and a Dam

Posted by Amami Superman

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 28mm, 10 sec, f/13, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Waterfall in Sumio

After the terrible weather we've been having, it finally cleared up to some fantastic weather. This morning I decided to try some street photography and took a walk to my friend's photo shop. I took loads of photos on to the way to his shop, which I'll save for later posts.

My friend's name is Toshi Nagai. I met him through gym khana and street racing years ago when I first game to Amami Oshima. His father was a photographer and he followed in his father's photo steps. His father passed away about the time I came to Amami when he took over the family business. He's been into photography since he was in junior high school. He went to college studying photography (I think), and worked in photography in Fukuoka before he returned to Amami. I've looked though some of his earlier photos and, to say the least, he is an inspiration to me. Now that his job is taking photos, it's tough for him to enjoy photography like I do as a hobby. But, with a little coax, I got him to come with me a few times to go out and take some photos.

I also got him to buy Lightroom 2 and he's recently been trying to learn how to use that. Up until now, he's mostly done all his work using Photoshop. His Photoshop techniques greatly outweigh mine, but I've been trying to help him learn how to use Lightroom.

As we were sitting there talking about photography and Lightroom, I couldn't get over my urge to go out and take photos in the nice weather we were having. I asked him if he wouldn't come out with me and take some photos in the afternoon and he said he would. AWESOME!

We decided to go out and take some photos of a dam just south of the main city of Amami. It was about a 30 minute drive so we didn't spend too much time getting there. On the way up the mountain, we came across a bridge and a waterfall. We decided to stop and take some photos of it, but, instead of the waterfall above the bridge, we hiked down below the bridge and got some of these shots. This first and second photo is mine. I couldn't decide which one I like. The second one had the sun shining down but I couldn't decide if I like that or not. I ended up posting both photos.

Nikon D60, 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 28mm, 13 sec, f/16, ISO 100 -- EXIF
With a Little Sun

These next four photos were taken by my friend Nagai. When we first got to this waterfall, I tried to take some photos from the bridge. They didn't turn out bad, but they didn't tickle my fancy. He went straight away down the road and found a place to climb down. These are the photo he took in the area he was at.

Photo by: Toshi Nagai

Photo by: Toshi Nagai

Photo by: Toshi Nagai

Photo by: Toshi Nagai

After taking my photos from the bridge I headed down to the same area, but went further down the mountain from where he was. The photos of the waterfall that I took were a bit a ways down from where he was.

After taking these photos we loaded back up into my car and headed up the mountain to the dam.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Dam in Sumio

I thought it would be cool to take some photos with a bit of human element in them so I took some of my photos with my friend Nagai in them.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/100 sec, f/5.0, ISO 200 -- EXIF
A Bit Closer to Nagai

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 22mm, 1/125 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200 -- EXIF

This is the photo I thought would be a nice photo framing-wise. Nagai took a photo of me while I was taking the above photo.

Photo by: Toshi Nagai

I don't think I've ever posted a photo of me on this blog so far. I'm camera shy and I hate to post photos of myself (because I'm fat and ugly). SO! Here's a photo of me getting down and dirty trying to take a nice photo. Cheers!

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 48mm, f/5.6, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Nagai Mid Shot

Photo by: Toshi Nagai

I took a bunch of shots of Nagai while he was shooting and I think this maybe one of the shots he was trying to shoot when I took the previous shot. I really like the above photo. It never crossed my mind to take a shot of the reflection of the mountains. This photo is one of my favorites.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/160 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Opposite Direction From the Dam

So those were some of the photos I took today of Nagai's and my trek to a dam. I'll post more of the other photos I took from this day in other posts.


garth said...

Your recent sets of photos have been impressive. I truly enjoy coming here to see your work. Both you and Jeffrey Friedl have inspired me to invest in a good DSLR and get back into photography.

Also, enough with the self deprecation! I'm sure Jade and your wife would completely disagree!

Amami Superman said...

To me, it's a great thing to have someone say I've impressed and inspired them enough to get in, or get back into, photography. Thanks for the great comment! Jeffrey has inspired me loads to get out there and take photos. I owe a lot to him.

As for the self deprecation, yeah, I know. I get that all the time. Another thing I'm really bad about is hearing myself speak Japanese. Everyone says I speak better than most Japanese, but when I hear myself on television or on the radio, I cringe at my own voice and my the mistakes I make in Japanese. It's weird. I don't realize some of the mistakes I make while speaking, but I pick them up right away when I hear it afterwards. The funny thing is, while I wasn't able to participate in sports one year in high school, I went out for a play the drama group was doing. I didn't have a problem getting in front of a couple hundred people and performing in front of them. I actually enjoyed it. But now it seems I'm a little more conscientious, and maybe have sort of a complex, of having my photo taken. I guess it's just something I need to get over.

Again, thanks for the great comment.

Jon said...


Thanks for posting all these great pictures.. I am planning to visit Amami in mid April and though it looks beautiful, it always scares me to see dams and tetrapods etc... I wonder where will they dump all this concrete next? Also it's scary that most japanese people are completely dis-sensitized to the horror of their coastline. If people dont react, who will?

I'm hoping that Amami is different and that people respect their environment and appreciate what they've got. Or is it the outsider who feels more concerned than the islander?

I read this interesting thing in another blog:

The pattern of development from 1968 followed very much the same path as that of Okinawa from 1972, or Amami from 1953, all island groups that were subject to development plans which placed central importance on infrastructure and public works funded by lavish subsidies from central government funds. Construction companies became the major employer and roads, harbors, bridges, and coastal and river works proliferated. Development funds to a total of 83.1 billion were poured into the Ogasawaras in the nearly three decades to 1995. As of 1994, agriculture and fisheries employed a mere 3.4 per cent of the work force, secondary industry 0.2 per cent, administration 23.5 per cent, services (guides, boat crews, etc. for whale- watching, fishing, and diving) 6.0 per cent, and construction a whopping 43.3 per cent. This pattern of gross imbalance is shared with Okinawa and Amami. Had such public works been occasioned by need and infrastructural backwardness, one would expect their role would indeed have been high in the early years after reversion but then would have peaked and begun to decline. The fact that this did not happen points to the inherently pathological nature of the process, best understood in light of the phenomenon known in Japan as the 'doken kokka' or 'construction state.' Public works-led development simply breeds more and more public works development.

I've been looking for a place to settle down in Japan for quite some time and I feel Amami might have the potential to satisfy me.. Even though I've never been there. The only thing I fear in Japan is to fall in love with beautiful beaches and rivers only to see them concreted and gone.. It happened so many times in my 30+ years coming to Japan that I know it can happen again...

Amami Superman said...

I understand your concern and how things like these affect the environment. On the other hand, before they had dams like these, Amami used to have terrible water shortages. But with these dams, dansui (water shortage) are almost unheard of here now.

Some of the other things the different people of Amami are for and against are fishing ports and concrete piers. The people that are against them worry about the coral reefs surrounding the island and that they're slowing being destroyed. The others that are for these kinds of things look towards the economy and safety of the outlying villages. Concrete piers protect these villages from swell surges during typhoons as well as provide local fishermen with ports closer to home to park their boats.

As for construction companies here in Amami, they are everywhere. And as you quoted from another blog, public works-led development does breed more public works, but there are select groups here in Amami that are against certain kinds of development and hold protests regularly saying there are better ways to spend money then pouring it into useless development. Other groups will disagree and the cycle goes on.

When you come to Amami, I hope your stay is an enjoyable one. You picked a nice time to come. It should be pretty warm and nice but not blazing hot and humid like mid summer.

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