Amami Superman Photography

A Place to Share My Photos

Aug 29, 2010

I Spy a Dragonfly

Posted by Amami Superman

Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-.5.6 @ 200mm, 1/80 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800 -- EXIF

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800 -- EXIF

Here's a couple more photos I took from last Wednesday. These dragonflies are different from the ones you normally see. The wings don't stick straight out to the sides. Instead, when not flying, they go straight back and are together. This second photo was just after it landed so it's winds were apart. When they fly, they kind of flutter like butterflies and not the zippy decise movements of normal dragonflies.

Ugh... I'm dreading the thought of going back to work next week. But hey, it was fun while it lasted.

Aug 28, 2010

Reposed at the River

Posted by Amami Superman

Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/50 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200 -- EXIF

This is one of the photos I took from last Wednesday on our outing to the river. It was a nice warm day and the cool water washed the uncomfortable mugginess away. Jade caught a few tanaga (crawdads), and spent most of her time swimming. She brought her camera along, but I have yet to upload those photos to a computer to look at.

Aug 27, 2010

Tiltshift Maker

Posted by Amami Superman

I was cruising the interwebz tonight and I came across a neat site that titlshifts your normal photos for you called TiltShift Maker. I've been interested in tiltshift lenses but always thought they were for the professionals and people who had money to spend on those kinds of expensive lenses. I would like to have a tiltshift lens, but I'm poor and a tiltshift lens is not on the top of my wish list. So with that, I thought I would try it out.

Now when I first came across this site, I was apprehensive. So I took a look at the flickr group they had and took a look at some of the photos people produced with this site. After going through quite a few photos, I became aware that photos taken from above looked better than the photos taken at ground view, or level, photos. With that in mind, I thought of some photos that I took from an upper perspective and came up with these two. I hope you like them.

This photo is from my post of the 2009 Hachigatsu Odori post. The original photo I posted is here.

This is a photo I posted earlier this month of the Amami Matsuri 2010. The original photo I posted is here.

I know this isn't a real part of photography, but when we mess up photos in whatever application we use, how is this much different? I thought it was a pretty cool site and I thought I would try it out. With that said, I think these photos turned out a bit artistically different that what I originally produced and I'm happy with that.

My First Attempts at Time Lapse

Posted by Amami Superman

Well, this is my first attempt at trying to make a time lapse movie sequence. I've seen plenty of very nicely put together time lapse movies and I thought I would try my hand at it.

Attempt #1

This video contains 133 photos taken about 40 seconds apart. My camera and settings were: Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 15 seconds, f/2.0, ISO 1600. The exposure program was set to manual, auto focus turned off as well as white balance. The photos were put into sequence using Quicktime 7 Pro with 24 frames per second, if I remember correctly (I forgot to write it down when I saved it). I had too much time between shots and it was pretty jerky at lower frame rates.

Let me start off by saying, I understand this isn't very good (actually craptastic more like it). For quite some time now, I've wanted to go out and take photos of the stars on a clear night. While searching the interwebz for some information and advice about this, I came across several places that had time lapse movies for star photos and instantly thought I need to learn how to do it.

It just so happened that yesterday we went to the mountains to play at the river and have a barbecue when my wife dropped my mobile phone in the weeds before returning home. After returning home, I taught a few classes and went to call one of my students, but couldn't find my mobile phone. I asked my wife and she said she put it in the bag, which is wasn't in. We searched the car and came up empty handed. We finally concluded that we must have dropped it while loading our things into the car at the river. Since I had to drive to the mountains anyway to look for my phone, I decided to bring my camera gear and see if I couldn't take some time lapse photos.

It took a little over an hour to get to the spot were we parked by the river and it took me a few minutes of searching before I found my mobile phone. After that I decided to head deeper into the mountains were I could get further away from city lights and the like. I don't think the conditions could have been worst besides it being completely cloudy and rainy. It was cloudy with lots of patches of starry sky which I thought was OK, but it did sprinkle rain a few times. Luckily, I was set up under the back lift door to my loaner car we're using, so things stayed dry. We had some car troubles last week so we took it to the Honda dealership to get it worked on and I forgot my nice tripod in the back. Because it has been obon, the dealership has been closed and I had no way to get my tripod out the back. Instead, I had to settle with using kind of flimsy aluminium tripod I borrowed from my friend Shoriki. I figured if I kept it low and didn't extend the legs, it should be steady enough to take the kind of photos I wanted. If you look closely at the movie, I think I bumped it because the angle drops a bit part way through.

So it was partly cloudy with some rain at times, I didn't have a decent tripod and to top it off, it was a full moon and very humid. It was pretty clear despite the clouds and then a fog came creeping out of the jungle. But did I let this discourage me? Not the least. I'm going to learn time lapse photography and since this was my first time, I figured no matter how bad it turned out, I would have a better understanding of what I need to do and do things better next time. Oh, and you're probably wondering how I timed the shot intervals? "One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand, four one thousand..." And I used my remote to trigger the shutter. I know there are plenty of devices out there to time shot intervals, but I haven't decided on one to buy. I also looked at time lapse software that I can tether my camera to a computer and use. I found a great application for Nikon cameras and Macs called Soforbild. I actually hooked up my Nikon D60 via USB to my iMac and took some time lapse shots inside my classroom. I thought it worked great. Now I just need a Macbook to bring with me when I go out to take time lapse photos.

When I first set up everything and took a few practice shots, the first thing I noticed is that long exposure shot under a full moon can look exactly like daytime. I was so surprised. When I hit the playback button and seen this really bright daytime looking photo, I thought maybe I hadn't taken the photo in the first place. With how foggy, cloudy and humid it was with the full moon, I didn't think I was going to get any shots of the stars that night. So instead, I decided to take over exposed photos that look kind of like daytime and see what the clouds would like like. The above movie is what I ended up with.

Some mistakes I figured out right off, is I can't shoot in RAW format. It takes too long to save to the memory card and it's too taxing on my camera battery. I had a fully recharged battery and I only got off 133 shots. Now here's a kicker, the battery I used when I first got there when I was setting up taking practice shots was only about half full. Earlier in the day, it only had one battery level on the charge mark and before I swapped it out for a new one, it was back up to 2 out of 3. So I figure it was probably around half full. I switched my camera settings just a bit and also switch to normal JPEG format and swapped back to my first battery. I was able to get off 109 shots before the battery ran out of juice. Here is the movie for my second attempt.

Attempt #2

I basically just turned my camera facing the opposite direction for these shots. This video has 109 photos taken at 25 second intervals. My camera settings were: Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 8 seconds, f/1.4, ISO 400. Again, all manual and no white balance. I put it together using Quicktime 7 Pro and this time the frame rate was 15 frames per second. I accidentally threw in a test shot at the first of the movie. That's why it jumps at the very beginning.

So these 109 photos were taken with only a half a battery. It makes me think how many I could take with a fully charged battery or maybe even a battery pack grip, hmmmm. It also makes me think what it will be like on a clear night with no moon. *smiles big*

Although these two time lapse movies are completely sucktacular, I still feel pretty good about them. It was my first time trying out something like this and I learned so much from this experience. I'm excited to get out again in a few weeks when there's no moon and see what kind of photos I can take. There's so much more I want to write in the post, but I think I'll cut it off here.

Aug 26, 2010

Learning LR3

Posted by Amami Superman

Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/200 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Random 2010 Obon Shot

I took this shot last Sunday while my wife's family was at their haka. I wanted to try out the new Grain feature under Effects in Lightroom 3. I thought the graininess of the photo turned out pretty nice.

Before adding the grain, I switched it to Black & White, put the Recovery at 100 (had just a few blown out spots), upped the Fill Light and Blacks. I then raised the Contrast to 85 and the Brightness to 65 and then gave it a Vignette. Lastly, I gave it some graininess. Here is the original photo if you would like to have a look.

So that's just some photo I chose to mess up to learn how to use some of the new features in Lightroom 3. In all honesty, I was never any good at using Lightroom 2 even, but meh, I enjoy using it. :P It makes things so much easier.

Aug 25, 2010

Flower of the Sun

Posted by Amami Superman

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 29mm, 1/640 sec, f/8.0, ISO 400 -- EXIF

I took this shot on the way to my wife's family's haka on Sunday during the first day of obon.

Aug 24, 2010

Obon in Amami 2010

Posted by Amami Superman

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/100 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Nagata Bochi
(Nagata Cemetary)

It's typical Japanese tradition to cremate the remains of family members passed away and keep the ashes in these monument like family graves. These stone monuments are called haka.

One of the three major holiday seasons in Japan is obon. Traditions for obon vary greatly throughout Japan, but one thing is certain, obon is a time for honoring one's ancestors. I don't know what obon traditions are like in other parts of Japan, but I'll tell you what they do here in Amami.

Obon usually last three days. Before obon starts, the family cleans house sort of like spring cleaning. They do this in order to receive the spirits of their ancestors. Obon is a Buddhist festival and it is believed that our ancestor's spirits come back to visit during this time.

At the beginning of obon, the family goes to their haka and pay their respect first.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/40 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Grandma Kaoru Paying Her Respect

Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/50 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Jade Paying Hers

Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 -- EXIF

Once respects are paid, a candle is lit and placed inside a lantern in order to help the spirits find their way back to home. The lantern is then carried back home all the while keeping the candle lit.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 116mm, 1/800 sec, f/4.8, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Keeping It Steady

Once home the spirits are then placed inside the family butsudan. A butsudan is kind of like a mini shrine inside families' homes. The spirits are kept their for the next 2 days. On the 3rd day, the spirits are then brought back to the the family haka in the same manner. Respects are paid and that marks the end of obon here in Amami.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/500 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Showing the Way

I kind of like this photo because the girl is holding on tightly to a bottle of Coca Cola. My grandfather loved Coke and you probably wouldn't need a lantern to help him find his way back home, just a bottle of Coke...

Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 135mm, 1/400 sec, f/5.0, ISO 200 -- EXIF

Lanterns come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors. Jade has carried the same lantern for a few years now and it's not that fancy. Maybe next year we'll get a little nicer one to carry.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 72mm, 1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Checking Out Some Bugs

I waited back some to see if I couldn't take some random photos of people walking by with their lanterns. I thought Jade and Hikari would have been home by then but as it turned out, they were waiting for me in the shade of these trees by a dried up riverbed checking out some bugs.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/40 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 -- EXIF
I'm Good at Engrish

"Baby! Love your hug♥"

"Rainbow Revive. Walk on the Dreams."


Precure is pronounced purikyua and that actually comes from the English contraction, Pretty Cure. So go figure, I never could understand how they come up with names like this. Anyway, Precure is the name of a cartoon for young girls here in Japan.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Heading Home

So that was our trip to the cemetery to pick up the spirits of my wife's father's side of the family. I wasn't particularly pleased with the photos I took, especially the first one, but I needed one to show you what a typical Japanese cemetery looked like. You only see a small portion of the cemetery in the first photo. Nagata Bochi is actually very large and is probably much bigger than a football field. The haka are built right next to each other with no room in between and you get a sense of claustrophobia looking out across this garden of monuments.

Aug 23, 2010

Cleaning My Gear

Posted by Amami Superman

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, 1/200 sec, f/3.5, ISO 400 -- EXIF

Yesterday was the start of obon here in Amami. The official holiday was from August 13th to the 15th, but most southern islands like Amami go off the traditional lunar calendar and started on the 22nd until the 24th.

I planned on taking some photos of obon this year and I got my camera gear out to clean yesterday. It being summer time and me being quite a sweaty person, my camera and gear gets kind of grimey at times. I try to keep my gear as clean as possible, but sometimes I just don't get the time after using it to clean it. So I took some time to clean my camera and lenses before I went out to take some photos.

After cleaning my gear, my daughter had some coloring pencils out and decided to line them up and take a shot to mess around with in Lightroom 3. I recently upgraded to Lightroom 3 and I haven't really had the chance to mess around with some of the new features it has. I didn't plan on posting this photo, but as I was messing around with it, my wife came up and took a look at what I was working on and thought it looked nice so I thought I would share it.

I did a bit of everything to this photo. I upped the Recovery to 100, upped the Fill Light along with Blacks a bit. I also upped Brightness and Contrast just a little, put the Clarity and Vibrance to 100 and upped the Saturation just a bit. I did a bit of Sharpening and Noise Reduction and gave it a Vignette. Obviously this photo is also cropped a bunch. Here is the original photo to show you how much I did to it. Not that much, but completely different.

Aug 22, 2010

Jade's First Basketball Tournament

Posted by Amami Superman

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Getting Ready for the Opening Ceremonies

This was Jade's first basketball tournament. It was held in June on the 20th. I'm not very good at taking sports shots, especially inside a gymnasium, so I took a few practice shots and decided on an average setting and pretty much stuck with that setting until her second game.

I've always been into basketball even before I was Jade's age. I lived on a reservation and spent a lot of time at my grandmother's place on my father's side of the family. They had a concrete section, probably where a small building used to be, and set up a basketball court to play on. I remember trying to shoot hoops, granny style, and having my cousins giving me pointers. My father also put up a hoop outside our house on a tree, we didn't have any concrete courts, and practicing a bunch on that. I joined the elementary school team when I was in 3rd grade and I still remember my mother taking me out to buy some basketball shoes. I don't want to say how hard my life was growing up, but it wasn't the best and I know how much effort my parents put in to helping us have a happy childhood and for which, I am thankful. I'll be the first to say that my basketball skills are sucktacular, but I have a passion for the game and I owe it to my family for the support they gave me.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Pre-game Peptalk

While living on the reservation, I had a few opportunities to go play at the reservation's gymnasium with the bigger kids. They always played "shirts & skins" to divide the teams up. Me being a chunky kid, I always had an issue with taking my shirt off. I still have memories of not wanting to take my shirt off and starting the game, me not taking my shirt off and being on "skins", and receiving a pass from the "shirts", only to pass it off to another "skins", and have people get angry at me for not taking my shirt off.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
The "Greetings" Before the Game

Japanese are pretty formal before and after games. They always bow before and after a game. This is just before Jade's first game. They played two games this day and they won the first.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Going for the Rebound

The students playing in this tournament, I think, were only 3rd and 4th graders. They didn't have enough players in this age bracket so they teamed up with another school to form a team. The kid wearing the "Itsubu" #7 uniform is from another school and joined our team to play, and although he's not wearing the same pink game jersey, he played with us.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Miho Taking a Free Throw

This is one of Jade's team mates. She's a very talented player and was very good at drawing the foul, if you get my drift... (ball hog! *cough*, not really though lol )

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Half Time Advice

Only having one sub on the team, Jade played the whole game. Coach Junpei is telling her to go sit down, take a drink and have a rest during half time.

Although I haven't played basketball in quite a few years here in Amami, I used to practice with coach Junpei before with several different teams. He is a very good ball player and has a great sense of the game. I've recently started play basketball again and he frequently comes to practice for the team I play on. I bring Jade to my practices often and when coach Junpei is there, she's always happy.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
After the First Game

As you can see by her rosy red cheeks, she was grateful to finally take a break after her first game. She mentioned that she ran so hard that she got dizzy for a bit and didn't know where the ball was.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Going for the Shot

This is her second game. Their team played an all boys team and it was pretty difficult for them. They lost this game, but it was close (if I remember correctly).

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/400 sec, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Perfect Bank Shot

Jade made quite a few points during this game, but as I said, I'm pretty sucktacular at taking sports shots and messing most of them up. It will come eventually with some more practice.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Jump Shot

I wish I had better framing on this shot, as you can see, the ball is just barely in the top portion of this photo. The D60 only has 3 focusing areas and it makes me wonder if I could do better having more focusing areas with a D300s. I've been giving some thought about my next camera and though there are a few Nikon users in Amami, most of my friends use Canon and have said they would be more than willing to lend me lenses. I'm still thinking about it, but I'm thinking of giving a good Canon body also a try...

Aug 21, 2010

What Do You See?

Posted by Amami Superman

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 52mm, 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF

Do you look at clouds and find they look like different things? I used to do that when I was a kid. While we were at the beach last Monday, Jade pointed and said, "It looks like a turkey." I told her it looked more like a pigeon in flight. What I really thought it looked like was a Kentucky Fried Chicken drumstick and breast piece...

Aug 20, 2010

Another Happy Day

Posted by Amami Superman

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/30 sec, f/10, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Playing in the Waves

It was pretty hot last Monday so we took Jade to Ohama Beach Park after work. I was happy to go and take some photos. Photography is like anything else I guess, if you want to get good and stay good at something, you have to keep at it. I haven't taken very many photos over the past 2 months and most of the photos I took from this day were pretty craptacular.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/200 sec, f/3.5, ISO 100 -- EXIF
I Used My Flash

I used my flash for some fill light in the upper photo. I thought it turned out ok. Instead of Jade's face being all dark, you can actually see her.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/50 sec, f/22, ISO 100 -- EXIF

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/50 sec, f/22, ISO 100 -- EXIF

The two previous photos were taken with the same camera setting about the same time, I just couldn't decide whether I liked the portrait style or the landscape style one. The both look nice to me.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 45mm, 1/50 sec, f/22, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Deep Thoughts
by Hikari Barr
"I bet one legend that keeps recurring throughout history, in every culture, is the story of Popeye."

That's an actual quote from Jack Handy's Deep Thoughts. I used to get a kick out of watching those on Saturday Night Live.

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

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/15 sec, f/3.5, ISO 400 -- EXIF
In the Parking Lot

So that was another happy day for us. Jade got to do some swimming, I got to take some photos and Hikari got to... watch us do our things.

Aug 16, 2010

Uken Matsuri 2010

Posted by Amami Superman

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Hachigatsu Odori

The kids in the center ring doing hachigatsu odori are my students from Taken Junior High School. I had a lot of fun attending this festival. I knew most of the people or their children here and it didn't matter where I went, I was continually being greeting by so many people.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Shogo Maekawa

The young man smiling with the towel wrapped around his head is Shogo Maekawa. Shogo is younger brother to Kengo Maekawa whom I photographed earlier this year. Shogo took first place in the Kagoshima Prefecture for Judo this year. It's his dream to be able to go to the Judo Nationals. For the most part, the students at Taken Junior High are well mannered and easy to get along with. I really enjoy teaching there. It's the least I can say about them and more than I can say about others. One of my students from another junior high completely ignored me when I greeted him which is pretty dang rude in Japanese society. Anyway, stifling my urge to knock him around a bit, I met up with his volley ball coach a bit later and let him know what happen. If you know anything about sports in Japan, coaches are pretty strict with their players and demand they show the upmost respect in and out of the whatever game they play.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/80 sec, f/6.3, ISO 800 -- EXIF
Sunset Before the Fireworks Procession

As it got closer to the time for the fireworks procession, I made my way back to our car and got the rest of my camera gear. I took this photo on the way.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/25 sec, f/10, ISO 800 -- EXIF

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/2 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800 -- EXIF
The Booths and Stores

The matsuri here in Uken is not anywhere near as big as the Amami Matsuri, but they still had a fairly good size crowd none the less. This was kind of a test photo I took as I was setting up to take photos of the fireworks and I kind of liked it.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 10 seconds, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
A Bit Far Away

When the fireworks started, I noticed that they were pretty far way. The above photo was cropped a bunch. I had a lot more people in the original like in the next photo, but without the crop, the fireworks looked pretty pathetic. I did zoom in after this, but the smoke started to accumulate and the most of the photos after this weren't very good.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 20 seconds, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Suichu Hanabi
(fireworks in the water)

It wasn't until I came to Japan that I saw my first water firework. They basically just drive a boat in a straight line dropping fireworks over the side at intervals and they blow up every couple of seconds. They do this pretty close to the docks as you can see and it's pretty fun to watch. I remember when I first saw the fireworks here in Uken, the water fireworks were so big and close that they blew up and streamers fell into the crowd. It was pretty exciting then. Now they don't do that sort of thing anymore for safety reasons. I was actually talking to one of the head fire department personel there in Uken and he even said he misses the old fireworks. They used to have a pretty neat lazer show too during the procession halftime.

I'm finally getting to enjoy my summer vacation. I hope it doesn't go by too quickly.

Amami Matsuri 2010

Posted by Amami Superman

My summer vacation has finally started. I was asked to teach summer school not only for the town of Uken, but also Kasari. That was at the first of this month. Now that I'm all finished with that, I'll have the rest of the month off. I'm happy I get some time off, I was getting pretty worn down.

I haven't been very focused with my photography lately. When I do take my camera out with me, the photos I take are pretty terrible. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I'll be able to slow down and take my time.

I picked out a few photos from the Amami Matsuri this year. I had classes this evening so I was only able to go out for a bit and I returned home early. I took maybe 150 photos, but as I said, most of them were pretty terrible.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/8 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Jade in Her Yukata

This was kind of the shot I was going for. I wanted the fireworks to more to the left, but it just didn't work out. The shots I did frame right were out of focus and this is the best one I ended up with.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 5 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
From a Rise in the Park

This was taken from a small rise with a concrete lookout type of building. I found a crushed beer can to prop my camera up with to take this 5 second shot. This is only part of the whole festival grounds. The main part of the park is off to the left and behind from where this shot was taken.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/25 sec, f/1.4, ISO 800 -- EXIF
From Outside Our House

I didn't have a long time to spend at the matsuri and I had to return home early for my next class. I suppose it was a good thing anyway, I lost my towel I use to wipe sweat away and I was completely drenched. I was afraid I got my camera drenched as well, but it was OK.

I was kind of bummed that I wasn't able to take any photos this year. I didn't even get to go out for the hachigatsu odori. I did however go to the Uken Matsuri and I was able to take a few fireworks photos there, but the conditions weren't that great. There was no wind and the smoke didn't go anywhere and most shots were pretty terrible again. I believe the last matsuri they have here in Amami is in Yamato Town and hopefully it will be nice weather and I'll be able to get out and take some photos there.