Amami Superman Photography

A Place to Share My Photos

Feb 29, 2012

2011 Amami Matsuri Fireworks

Posted by Amami Superman


Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 6 seconds, f/9, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Almost Ready to Begin

These are the fireworks shots I took of last year's Amami Matsuri. They really didn't turn out that great and I wasn't happy with most of them. It was six months ago I took these and I still remember for the most part what happen.

I decided to chose a different vantage point last year. I went to the top of Ogami Yama. No one else was there when I first arrived so I got the pick of the lot. I set up and waited for it to get dark. Little by little others started to show up. One particular guy set up shop right next to me. When the fireworks started I watched him out of the corner of my eye. It was clear to me that he had never taken photos of fireworks. Then the guy sits down on a bench just behind me and starts to smoke a cigarette. The smoke was floating in front my my camera. I wanted to throttle the guy. But, I calmly turned around and asked him to smoke somewhere else where the smoke wouldn't bother me. He told me sorry and moved away. He then came back and started to ask how to take photos of fireworks. I don't know a whole lot, but I told what I knew. He seemed friendly enough.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 15 seconds, f/8, ISO 100 -- EXIF



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 5.2 seconds, f/8, ISO 100 -- EXIF



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 11 seconds, f/9, ISO 100 -- EXIF



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 6.5 seconds, f/8, ISO 100 -- EXIF



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 3.9 seconds, f/8, ISO 100 -- EXIF

Some of the photos are cropped a bit. I did some post editing within Lightroom to make them look a little better, nothing special. Overall, I feel I was just too far away. I've been looking around at different buildings I may be able to shoot from. We'll see this summer.
Feb 13, 2012

Taking Control Again

Posted by Amami Superman

Do you ever feel like your life isn't in your control? I've been feeling that way for quite some time now. At the beginning of this year, I decided to make some changes. It's not quite a New Year's resolution, as the thought has been in my mind for a while. It just happened I got the gumpf to do something about it then.

I need to take more time to spend with the family during the week and on the weekends. Not so much just being with them, but going out and doing things together. I feel our family activities have slowly dwindled to nonexistence over the past year or so. Sure we get out every once in a while, but not like before.

I also need to get in control of my health. I think I fall in the severely obese category now. It's weird to think that just 8 years ago I used to play basketball 3 times a week and compete in off-road bike races around southern Japan. I used to pride myself with how strong and in shape I was. Now I'm just a fat tub of lard that has a hard time putting on his socks. I think in the past 8 years I put on over 50kg (over 110 lbs). No more.

I'm going to take some time to get back and do something fun and interesting for myself. I haven't taken very many photos over the past 3 or 4 months. Maybe a handful of times. I want to change that too. I'm going to make some time for me.

I decided to stop teaching some of my evening classes I teach during the week. I mean to stop teaching all evening classes eventually. Last month I started to coach my daughter's mini basketball team. I've posted a few posts about that in the past. I decided to do this for a few reasons: 1. Running drills with the kids gives my fat butt a chance to do some exercise. 2. I get to spend a little time teaching my daughter basketball as well as a whole team. Sure coaching basketball takes up some time, but it's something I like and want to do.

Last month I started to watch what I eat, literally. I started counting calories and what I was actually eating in my meals - lots and lots of fat. My wife bought a healthy recipe book and has been making some very delicious meals from that. I've made some nutrition goals for a daily calorie intake. It's not that difficult once you figure out what kinds of foods have loads of fat in them. I read somewhere a quote that goes quite well with how I feel, "I'm not on a diet, I'm eating healthy." There's another quote I saw that I also like, "I'm not losing weight, I'm getting rid of it! And I don't want it back!" So I'm eating healthier and drinking lots of water.

With these changes I also want to get back to taking photos again. This last weekend I grabbed the camera bag, dusted off the tripod and loaded the family into the car to go take some sakura photos. We didn't have that much time as we had basketball practice in the afternoon, but I was able to take a few OK shots.


Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, 1/250 sec, f/4.2, ISO 100 -- EXIF



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 48mm, 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 -- EXIF



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 22mm, 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Am I Making a Funny Face?

So I'm going to make more time to take more photos and also make some more time to go through them and post to this blog. I'm sorry for not posting in so many months.
Aug 7, 2011

Metaroka Summerfest 2011

Posted by Amami Superman


Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Metaroka

Metaroka is a tribute band to Metallica. I suppose you say the pronunciation is meta-rocker, but it sounds close to Metallica in Japanese, sorta...

Every year they hold Summerfest at Ohama Beach here in Amami. My friend Daiju (Mr. D), plays guitar for Metaroka. Daiju owns a cafe called Clo-bar. His cafe is a nice little place with some pretty tasty dishes. Anyway, I came out to cheer on some of out local bands here in Amami.

Summerfest lasts for 2 days and usually has over 50 bands that come out to play. It's pretty fun to come and watch if you're up to sitting out in the sun most of the afternoon, which is pretty hot and tiresome. Metaroka started their stage just a little after 4:00pm so there was some shade from the palms to hide under.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Mr. D
(Daiju)



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Naru
(bass)

Daiju and Naru are in another band called Gas Coin. Gas Coin is a punk rock band and are pretty popular here in Amami. I've been to a few of their stages and I get a laugh from their main vocal.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Taro

Taro is a very talented guitarist. I took some photos of him a few years ago playing acoustic guitar at an anniversary party at Susumocho.

They played 2 or 3 songs from Metallica. I forget which ones they played but one I do remember one was Enter the Sandman, very awesome. I got chills.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/500 sec, f/8, ISO 100 -- EXIF
"Enter night!"



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/400 sec, f/8, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Posing for the Applause



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/80 sec, f/8, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Daigo

Daigo is another good friend of mine. He runs the surf shop with my wife's older brother. I took photos of his yoinou a few years back. Daigo is also a very talented musician. He can play drums as well as guitar and a few other instruments.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/400 sec, f/8, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Mr. D Solo



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 1/200 sec, f/8, ISO 100 -- EXIF



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 20mm, 1/160 sec, f/8, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Power Stance Perfection



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/250 sec, f/8, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Style

Only Daiju can pull off being a hardcore rocker and wear flip-flops.

So those are a few photos I took from Summerfest this year. It was hot and I was pretty tired from work so I didn't stay to see everyone. We let our daughter swim for a while and then headed for home.

Work has been pretty busy for me. We were supposed to have Amami Festival happen this weekend but we had a typhoon come near us and they rescheduled it for later this month. They did have the hachigatsu odori yesterday and the parade today, but it was rainy and I didn't chance taking my camera out. We still have a few festivals scheduled around the island so hopefully it will be good weather and I'll be able to get some photos of those.
Jul 8, 2011

A Little Flashy

Posted by Amami Superman


Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Glamour Shots by Deb are 75% Off

So after our daughter got her hair cut and we went to pick her up, we were walking home and I decided to take some photos of her on the way. The previous post's photos are some of those photos. This is another that wasn't that great on its own but with a few post editing graduated ND filters and a nice crop, I thought it turned out OK. Oh, and I used my flash, hence the title of this blog post.

I dialed down my on-board camera's flash compensation to -3.0 and shot. I don't like harsh contrasting shadows from flashes so I don't use my on-board flash that often. Eventually I would like to buy a flash and start experimenting with it. Learning how to diffuse the light from a flash is something I'd like to learn and it's high up on my list of things I'd like to study. I just have to buy a flash. But before I buy a flash, I would like to buy a new camera body. I've been saying this for over a year now, but I really do think I need to buy a new one. It's just not high up on my Things I Want to Spend My Money on list, but eventually I will. I still got my eye on a Nikon D300s.

Oh, and the title for the photo, "Glamour Shots by Deb are 75% Off", is from the movie Napoleon Dynamite if you were wondering what that was all about.
Jul 7, 2011

Took Her to the Chop Shop

Posted by Amami Superman


Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/80 sec, f/1.8, ISO 400 -- EXIF
That's Short!

My wife and daughter decided between themselves that yesterday would be a good day to go get our daughter's hair cut. I like long hair for the most part and liked the way Jade looks in a pony tail, especially when she's playing basketball. But, it's the summer time and I guess long hair makes things quite hot. So they decided to get it chopped off short. Her hair used to fall down to around her waist. Now she can't even tie it back if she wanted to.



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/125 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Not Bad
I guess...

When I went to pick Jade up from the beauty salon, this little boy come running up to me ready to throw his arms around me. "Who's this little boy?!" I shouted. Jade stopped in her tracks and almost started to cry. I quickly pulled her in and gave her big hug and told her how beautiful she looked.



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/160 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400 -- EXIF
She Looks Older

I have to admit that it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. I actually like it, although, it makes her look a bit older. I wish I could stop time. I don't want her to grow up so fast and she's just racing through the years it seems. She's 10 already! Holy cow. It just seems like yesterday I was gagging and dry heaving trying to changer her diapers.
Jun 27, 2011

More Roadside Flowers

Posted by Amami Superman


Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/80 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Nice Light Purple

Holy jeeze! As I started to make this post, I was wondering if I hadn't taken photos of these kinds of flowers before and went back to check older posts. As I got into searching, I went back and started looking at all my older posts as I sometimes do. I realized that I've been taking photos for over 2 1/2 years now. That's not the holy jeeze part I'm talking about. The holy jeeze part is I've really fallen off my game in the last 8 months. I'll admit that work has been busy and I haven't made posts as much as I would like to, but I looked at some of the photos I haven't posted and they really aren't that great. And the photos I have posted don't really compare to the photos I took a year ago. I feel I don't have a strong talent for taking photos, but for what I do have, how does the saying go? "Use it or lose it" I need to get out there more! So I guess you could say that I'm a bit ashamed of myself personally as I know I can take better photos.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Out Stretched

Anyway! I'll stop the rant there. Although I haven't been taking photos as much as I used to, I still learn a bunch from the photos I do take, like fluorescent light and sports shots. But, with summer setting in, I know I'll have plenty of opportunities to get out there and start honing my skills again.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 -- EXIF
I Like This One

It was a cloudy day and the sun breaks were frequent. I upped my ISO after it got cloudier and was able to take this photo. The colors seem pretty close to what I saw and that's what I like about it. I think it turned out pretty nice.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Reaching Out



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 -- EXIF
A Buzz in the Air

As I was taking these photos, I could hear the buzz of a bee flying around me. I found it and decided to take some photos of it as it lit from one flower to the next and try to catch it in flight. At first, I couldn't get any decent photos. I would auto-focus on it, but as it flew away, it would be out of focus when I snapped the shot. So I switched to manual focus and tried my luck. I took around 15 photos like this one, but this was the closest I came to a nice shot. This photo was cropped almost to a 1:1 ratio.

So there are some pretty pink flowers. I don't have a clue what they are and I'm hoping that a botanist viewer, Peter from Whales, will be kind enough to enlighten me if he knows what they are. Cheers
Jun 23, 2011

Hydrangea!

Posted by Amami Superman


Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 34mm, 1/500 sec, f/5.0, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Astonishingly Vibrant

Believe it or not, I didn't do anything to change the vibrancy nor saturation in the above photo. I was surprised when I first saw it. Usually the photos I shoot don't look as colorful and vibrant as I see when I shoot. I did, however, up the contrast a bit and lowered the clarity to max for this photo.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5,6 @ 55mm, 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Can I Have My Photo Taken Too?

For this photo I upped the exposure a bunch, not sure how much, +1.65 in Lightroom. I added some recovery and blacks, gave it some clarity and also upped the vibrancy a bit and lowered the saturation a tad.

These two photos look pretty different and I notice that when they are on the same page, the second photo makes the first one look weird. But when I'm looking at them separately, the first one looks really nice to me. Especially when I leave my computer for a while and come back and it's the first photo I see. I like it. But something about the second photo makes it look weird when they're on the same page.

I posted some photos of hydrangea a few posts early and I didn't know what they were. Peter from Whales was kind enough to leave a comment and tell me what they were. So, thanks Peter. :)

And at least this time I remembered to give this post a title...