Amami Superman Photography

A Place to Share My Photos

Jul 23, 2009

Yuinou

Posted by Amami Superman


Canon EOS Kiss F, EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/30 sec, f/3.5, ISO 800 -- EXIF

My friend, Daigo Nakatani, held his yuinou on July 11th and asked me to take the photos. I was honored he asked me to take them considering I've never taking photos of a yuinou before.

My knowledge of a yuinou is very limited but I'll try my best to explain what a yuinou is. A yoinou is an engagement ceremony where both families come together. To my knowledge, the ceremony is for the man to offer different things and money for the daughter's hand in marriage. It all starts out with some special soup I wasn't able to get a good look at.



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/40 sec, f/3.2, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Nakatani Family Yoinou Ceremony

They held the yuinou in a room at a hotel specifically made for ceremonies like this. They also have tatami rooms (bamboo mat rooms), but they opted for a room like this. This is the sign they had outside the room to let the people who are participating in the ceremony know which room to go to. They had a few other ceremonies in progress when we first arrived in the morning.



Canon EOS Kiss F, EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/25 sec, f/3.5, ISO 800 -- EXIF
A list of the Things Being Offered

After drinking the special soup they brought out, the man's mother and father bring a list of the things being offered and present it to the woman's family. From what was explained to me, the list is a list of the things on display at the front of the room. The different things on display represent different things that are supposed to bring good luck, long life and things of that sort. I'm not exactly sure what those "things" are, so sorry. In the old days, the man had to go out and pay for these things but now days, they just rent them from the hotel or wherever.


Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Going Over the List



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 500 -- EXIF
Mom Looks Over the List Too

Daigo's fiance's name is Hisami. Her mother runs a sort of hostess club. I wouldn't really call it a hostess club but it falls in that category. Her club is rather large and my wife's relatives go there for special occasions as a second place to go drinking after the first place. I've been to her club maybe twice and she is very good at getting a large group to have fun.



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 500 -- EXIF
The Engagement Ring



Canon EOS Kiss F, EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/25 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800 -- EXIF
Showing Off the Ring to the Family



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 640 -- EXIF
The Family Sake

The next part of the ceremony involved the 2 families drinking the other family's sake. Hisami is drinking the sake of Daigo's family.



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1100 -- EXIF
Daigo Drinking Hisami's Family Sake



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 500 -- EXIF
Waiting for Mom to Finish



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 640 -- EXIF
All Finished With the Sake

One thing that I really find fascinating is how the women in Japan can be so formal. From the flowery formal speech to the petite movements that make everything seem of the up most importance. I'm not trying to put Daigo's father down but I got a laugh when the next part of the ceremony was the "kanpai" (cheers speech), and after they drank he says, in a kind of a loud voice, "Umai!" which means "delicious!" It just reminded me of a old western where a cowboy would yell out "whiskey!", down the shot and slam the glass on the bar and say, "That hit the spot!"



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 800 -- EXIF
Another Special Kind of Soup

The next part of the ceremony consisted of a light meal. The special soup they brought out is called "suimono", which they also drink during New Years.



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 560 -- EXIF
Sashimi

After the "suimono", they brought out sashimi. They had tuna and kanpachi which I think is yellowtail, I'm not sure.



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1000 -- EXIF
Family Photo



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1250 -- EXIF
Unmarried Woman's Obi

I'm unsure of the terminology of the obi. I know that an unmarried woman is able to wear a beautiful sophisticated tied obi while a married woman wears an obi that is tied to look almost flat as seen here worn by Hisami's mother.



Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1400 -- EXIF

Hisami told me that this obi was worn by her mother on her mother's Coming of Age Day when her mother was 20 years old.

I used 2 cameras to take these photos and took over 600 photos in the space of an hour and a half. I borrowed a Canon EOS Kiss F with a 18-55 f/3.5-5.6mm lens. It was my first time using a Canon and it wasn't a bad experience even though I was unfamiliar with how to adjust the different settings. The only thing I can say bad about the Canon was it had a pretty noisy shutter. I was kind of embarrassed to continually snap away with it. I can't say it was a bad camera or a good camera, but I can say that I still prefer my Nikon because I know how to use it, kind of...

There were plenty of other photos that I wanted to share but I had to cut them down as best I could and not lose too much of the story. It took me some time to go through all of them an pick out the keepers. I was pretty frustrated with myself. Most of the photos were out of focus or had motion blur. The lighting was poor even though they had this hideous floodlight type light shining from one of the corners of the room. I wanted to lower the aperture or up the ISO to get faster shutter speeds but I still don't have a feel for that kind of thing yet and was afraid of getting a too thin depth of field or a too grainy photo for some of the shots. Although I didn't take very many good photos, it was a learning experience. Just one thing that I realized, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 isn't good for taking group shots. The center of the photo is in focus, but the people on the outsides are a bit out of focus.

Solar Eclipse in Amami 2009

Posted by Amami Superman

Yesterday was the day of the big solar eclipse. Everyone was excited and anticipated it for months. Unfortunately, it was cloudy. We had really nice weather for the past few weeks, but turned cloudy the night before and actually rained a bit after the eclipse.

We probably have well over 12,000 people visiting the island to watch the eclipse. Just from the news and what friends have heard, a few people were bitten by habu, lots of people arrested for driving while intoxicated and general rowdiness. I even heard some people were hospitalized for eating some plants that were poisonous. It was amazing to see over 50 people waiting at a bus stop when 50 people wouldn't fit on a regular bus here. I heard they had to borrow some extra police from Kagoshima to help out with all that was happening here the past few days.

Since it was cloudy, whenever you looked up to see the sun with your special glasses, all you would see is a blob of light in the sky. For the first 2/3 before totality, you would get some breaks in the clouds and they would be just thin enough to see the actual shape of the sun. After that, the clouds came in pretty think and it was difficult to see any shape at all.

I did my best to take some photos of the eclipse. Just looking up at the sky, all you would see is a blog of light coming through the clouds. I thought that if I closed the aperture all the way and set the shutter speed to something very fast, I would be able to get rid of some of the glare. It seemed to work for the most part and I was able to get a few shots that you can see the shape of the sun in.


Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/4000 sec, f/29, ISO 100 -- EXIF
What We Mostly Saw

The above photos is taken with the smallest aperture and fast shutter speed so the dark areas really weren't that dark. If fact, things just looked like a large bright blob in the sky. The low clouds made it difficult to take any photos. I had to time my shots when the lower clouds broke.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/4000 sec, f/29, ISO 100 -- EXIF
No Low Clouds

Here is a shot just seconds before the eclipse is about to begin. I got a nice break in the lower clouds and this is what I got.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 190mm, 1/4000 sec, f/29, ISO 100 -- EXIF
40 Minutes In

The whole eclipse lasts about 3 hours. You get an hour and a half or so before totality and another hour and a half after. This shot was taken almost half way through the first half of the eclipse. You can see the upper portion of the sun is being covered. I imagine if there was less glare from the clouds, we would see that it was probably covered about half way.

I think it sprinkled rain just a bit without me noticing. After checking out the photos after I got home, I notices spots on most of the photos after a certain point.

One other cool thing I thought to mention, as we got closer to totality, the temperature went down a few degrees. It was almost chili even.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 190mm, 1/3200 sec, f/11, ISO 100 -- EXIF
8 Minutes Before Totality

I was lucky to get this shot. Just a sliver of the sun and the clouds were really coming in thick by this time. You could actually look right up at the sun without the special glasses with all the cloud cover we had. It would have really been neat to see this on a cloudless day.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/2500 sec, f/11, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Seconds Before Totality

The remaining sun was just a pinprick in the sky. It probably looked a lot bigger than it actually was when seeing it through the clouds. And then just like that, the light completely disappeared and it was all dark. The horizon looked like it would at dusk after the sun has dipped down past the horizon.

When our three minutes were up, the sun came poking back through the clouds. One thing we found kind of funny is, it seemed the sun came back a lot quicker than it disappeared. After that the clouds were so think we couldn't see anything. We had work in the afternoon so we decided to pack things up early and head out before the traffic got too bad.

All in all, it was a fun experience. As I said before, I'm thinking of going to see the one in 2012 up in Kagoshima. Hopefully that will be good weather and we'll be able to actually see the corona.
Jul 10, 2009

And Everything Else

Posted by Amami Superman

These are the other photos I took when we went to Ohama Beach the day before yesterday.


Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 110 -- EXIF
Palm Trees and Blue Skies



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 29mm, 1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Tracks



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Yadokari
(hermit crab)

I'm not sure if "yadokari" is an Amami dialect or if they use this everywhere in Japan.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 -- EXIF
On the Move

I wasn't too close when I took these photos because this hermit crab was a bit frightened of me. It wouldn't come out if its shell if I was too close so these photos are cropped a bit.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Making Tracks



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

In a previous post I mention and a famous artist named Tanaka Isson. I've seen a few of his paintings of adan. They have a museum here in Amami and his paintings are there on display. I also came across a site that had a few of his painting posted here.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/500 sec, f/11, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Cliche Adan Sunset

Many people have taken sunset photos with a silhouette of adan in them. I feel it's a bit a cliche and I've never tried to take one until now.



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



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 34mm, 1/100 sec, f/5.0, ISO 200 -- EXIF



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/500 sec, f/11, ISO 100 -- EXIF



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/80 sec, f/22, ISO 100 -- EXIF



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 100 -- EXIF

So these are some of the other photos I took the day before yesterday at Ohama Beach.
Jul 9, 2009

Afterschool Fun at Ohama Beach

Posted by Amami Superman

Yesterday it was pretty hot so we decided to go to the beach after Jade got home from school. I'm not sure what the temperature was yesterday but it was about the same as today. Today is about 90℉ with around 80% humidity. I can't wait until mid August!


Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 22mm, 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Adjusting Her Goggles

We recently enrolled Jade in a swimming school. She goes every Saturday in the afternoon. Her class starts at 4:00pm and my English classes end at 4:00pm so by the time I actually get out to see her, she's just finishing up and I don't get the chance to take any photos, unless I go into the women's shower room which wouldn't go over too well...



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 70mm, 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Our Missy Mutt



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Hmmm?!



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 125mm, 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 160 -- EXIF
Looking for Shells



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Gotcha!



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/1250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Failed Escape

I was trying to take some close up shots with a thin depth of field of something else when I took these shots and I had the camera set on aperture priority with aperture wide open. I'll post the photos I was actually trying to take when I took these in another post.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Just Close Your Eyes
(it will all be over soon...)



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Heart Shaped Coral

While visiting my wife before we were married, we were at the beach and I came across a heart shaped piece of coral and gave it to her. Ever since then she collects heart shaped coral.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Dirty Dirty Dog

Missy likes to get wet and then goes crazy trying to dry herself off. We tried to clean her off as best as we could before we left but she still had sand in her eyes, nose and everywhere else.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/60 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Cartwheels



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Sand Angels
(as close as you can get to snow angels in Amami)



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 32mm, 1/80 sec, f/5.0, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Happy Girl



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/2500 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100 -- EXIF

I was having a difficult time with my 18-55mm lens today. I was getting some weird lens flare that I never had before. I cleaned the lens but it didn't go away. I've taken plenty of sunset photos before but today was the first time I've had it happen. Here is a photo with the lens flare in the right portion of it. Here is one more with the flare in the upper half. I don't know, maybe I just never noticed it before in my other photos...
Jul 7, 2009

Setouchi

Posted by Amami Superman

I had some time off this afternoon and I haven't had some alone time with my wife recently so we went for a drive today listening to some good music and enjoying the scenery. It was a blazer today so we decided to head down south to a small city called Konia where they have a gelato shop. This shop has some pretty delicious flavors but my favorite is the watermelon smoothie they have. Kind of like coo coo for cocoa puffs...



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Mangrove
(Is there a womangrove you think?)

OK, so this first photo isn't in Setouchi. It was taken on the way to Setouchi in Sumio. I wanted to take this photo because of how much green you can see. I heard some one say once that when God was making Amami, the only color He had left was green. This photo reminded me of that.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 45mm, 1/250 sec, f/5.3, ISO 800 -- EXIF
Antica Smoothies
(watermelon and passion)

So our whole little excursion for today was to buy these, smoothies. The one on the left is watermelon and the one on the right is passion fruit. It's kind of a long way to drive just for some smoothies, but they're really good.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/80 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800 -- EXIF
Not Exactly Sure What Flavor

The name of this flavor was in Japanese katakana and I couldn't figure it out. I think it's "flambeaux", which it kind of resembles. If it is "flambeaux", I find that kind of funny because isn't gelato Italian? I'm not really sure what kind of fruit was used though. I'm pretty sure that it's some kind of berry flavor.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Looking at Kakeroma

Kakeroma is the island just south of Amami. It's a pretty small island but it has plenty of secluded beaches you can go to to hang out for a day and snorkel. Usually to get to these beaches, you need to take a water taxi since most of them don't have road access.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Clouds

In my last post, I posted a few photos of the clouds in the sky. I really liked them but they didn't turn out the way I expected them to. Today, I tried to take some more photos with the the sky as the subject. I think these turned a out a bit better but they're still not quite what I'm looking for. I think I'm going to have to get some gradient neutral density filters to get the desired effect I want. Today I only used a polarized filter. I'm still studying so I'm not sure what I need.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/2oo sec, f/7.1, ISO 100 -- EXIF

I think I would like to get a wide angle lens next. I'm not very fond of fisheye lenses but I would like to mess around with one if I had the chance. I don't know if it's just the above picture's clouds or what, but I like the very slight fisheye effect it has. Is that just an effect that occurs because this lens is slightly wide angle(76°)?



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Sotetsu Mountain Side

The palm looking plants on the side of this mountain are called "sotetsu" in Japanese. I don't know what they're called in English. Pretty much wherever you go in Amami, you can find these plants.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Sotetsu on a Cliff

This photo was taken from the same vantage point as the previous but to the right side. Sotetsu are pretty robust plants as you can see in the above photo where they are growing on the side of a cliff.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 160 -- EXIF
Some Small Flower

My wife pointed out to me these flowers. I didn't see any others besides these. I haven't a clue what they're called.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Nishikomi

Nishikomi is the most western village in Amami. I like to come out here sometimes just to see the people here. They are quick with a smile and are also quick to befriend you. This is one of the things I love about Amami. We didn't have much time to get out and spend some time here. There weren't very many people outside, probably because it was midday and it was pretty hot. If you were here around the evening time, there would be plenty of locals out shooting the breeze. That's the time to be here to mingle.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Coral Wall

Most villages that are close to the beach have coral walls like this. I can imagine they built these well before I was born. This is another reason why I like to visit the outlying villages. It gives me a sense of a time when brick and concrete weren't ready and available. It makes me wonder how long it took to gather coral from the beach to build walls this big.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Another Coral Wall



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 29mm, 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Islands South of Kakeroma

If you look at the right portion of this photo, in the distance you can see the islands just south of Kakeroma (the island just south of Amami). About the same direction, but further south, is Tokuno Island. I'm pretty sure you can't see it in this photo. Earlier this year I took some photos of the sunrise in the northern part of Amami and you can see in the distance Kikai Island. Tokuno Island is about twice as far as that so I doubt any of the islands you see in this photo is Tokuno Island.