Amami Superman Photography

A Place to Share My Photos

Aug 18, 2009

2009 Amami Parade 3

Posted by Amami Superman


Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 26mm, 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Sazanami Band

The Sazanami Band is a band from Itsubu Elementary School here in Amami. I'm not sure if they only play the traditional taiko and shamisen, but they did for the parade. I was pretty impressed with this group. They were enthusiastic about what they were doing and it sounded neat.

The above photo is a shot of the big flatbed crane truck they had at the beginning. I like how they decorated it.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Truck Bed Band



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400 -- EXIF
The Marching Part




Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 40mm, 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Shamisen



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 26mm, 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Taiko



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 40mm, 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Conch Shells



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/320 sec, f/4.0, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Going to Town



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/320 sec, f/4.0, ISO 400 -- EXIF
The Ending Jump
(so I thought)



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, 1/320 sec, f/4.2, ISO 400 -- EXIF
The Leader

After their big jump and they all went quiet, this girl came running out and starting yelling. Then all at once they starting playing and singing again but with even more enthusiasm this time.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 26mm, 1/320 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Really Going to Town

The tempo of the song was much faster than before and they seemed to be hopping and dancing around even more than before. The girl without a drum in the above photo seems to really be enjoying herself.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/320 sec, f/4.0, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Getting Down

They had some climactic drumming in the end. They started kind of soft and low then grew louder and higher as they screamed a big, "HEY!!" at the end.

I thought this was the best part of the parade. Watching these kids play made me smile.
Aug 16, 2009

Skateboarding in Nagahama

Posted by Amami Superman


Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/200 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Pointers From the Experienced

My daughter Jade's got a skateboard for her birthday from my wife's younger brother last May. Several times a week she goes out and practices but we haven't really taken her somewhere where other skateboarders are riding. Every month on the 3rd Sunday, the local skateboarders get together and have a sort of skateboarding school. Anyone can come so we thought it would be fun for Jade to go and see some real skateboarders.



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

In my youth, I was into skateboarding a bit. Although I was never any good, my younger brother Dan always stuck with it and is a pretty talented skateboarder. I try to give my daughter some tips, but I haven't touched a board in well over 15 years so I let the more experienced riders give her some tips. Most of the guys riding here are friends of mine and they were more than happy to oblige.



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

She just started so the most she can do is just make herself go forward. I was pretty surprised at how well she can push and pick up speed. I can say with confidence, she has more talent skateboarding than I had at her age.



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

An Ollie is the bread-and-butter of a street boarders arsenal. A basic ollie is slapping the tail of your skateboard down while pushing the nose of the skateboard forward causing it to "jump". An ollie kickflip is the same, but the skateboard flips 360 degrees along its axis.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/200 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Not Sure What Trick This Is



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



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/200 sec, f/3.5, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Board Coming at Me

This was a failed trick and the board is flying at me. I was able to roll out of the way and no harm was done.

I had a bad experience this last weekend. It wasn't so much damaging my camera in the line of duty, but my camera getting damaged in the hands of someone else. I was with a group of youth this last weekend taking them camping. I wanted to take photos of the entire camping trip, but ended up putting my camera away in the morning of the first day. We had looked at a few areas to camp and one was a bit further down the road from where we initially planned. I thought that would be a better place to camp, so the other adult that was with me hopped in the car and we drove to the next spot. I had my camera out so when we got in the car, I asked him to hold it. When we got to the next spot, he completely forgot he was holding it and jumped out of the car dropping it to the ground. I was still putting the parking brake on when he jumped out, but I knew in an instance that he dropped my camera. I let out a sort of howl as he picked it up and gave it to me. Luckily, I had on a PL filter which saved the lens, but the filter itself was pretty bent. To my surprise, the filter still rotated smoothly despite the bent area. I made a promise to myself never to let that happen again.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 22mm, 1/200 sec, f/4.0, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Another Tail Grind



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 32mm, 1/200 sec, f/4.8, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Nice Execution



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 44mm, 1/200 sec, f/5.3, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Backside Tail Grind



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/60 sec, f/3.8, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Ollie Kickflip

I have to say that I was pretty pleased with the photos I took today. Action photos are still something new to me and I pretty much suck at them. Earlier this year I took some photos of a cycling race called the Yakeuchi Classic and completely messed them up. From that experience, I learned of a useful feature on my camera called Auto Focus Continuous. A very handy feature for action shots. I thought I had just the right amount of motion blur to give these photos a sense of action. I am really happy with these photos. I think I'm going to try and take some more skateboarding photos for practice in the near future.
Aug 11, 2009

2009 Ayamaru Festival

Posted by Amami Superman

They have several festivals that the different towns in Amami hold. This one is the Ayamaru Festival. Ayamaru is in the northern part of Amami just past the airport.


Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 22mm, 1/250 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Family Friends

This is the family of a good friend of mine, Shelley Gehret Nishi, who lives in Kasari in the northern part of Amami. I'm terrible with names and I can't remember her husband's name, so I apologize. Their oldest, on the left, is Tyler and the girl on the right is Isabel. Their family is apart of a famous taiko group here in Amami. I've only seen a few of their performances so I was happy to see them here today. Tyler is still only in elementary school and he performed with the group today. I was impressed and I can only imagine how proud they are of him.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/200 sec, f/4.0, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Rhythmic Sounds of Thunder

Shelley's husband is on the large taiko in the back. You can't see Tyler in the photo but he's in the back on the left. It was loud where I was taking photos from so I can only imagine what it would be like right in the middle of it all.



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

It must take quite a bit of stamina to beat drums like this. How many hours of practice and how many blisters? I imagine their hands are callous from all the practice. I play around on the guitar and my finger tips have calluses, but to continually beat a drum with something the size of a shovel handle or bigger must tax the hands.

This performance was pretty impressive and I enjoyed it a bunch.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 86mm, 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Ball Tsukui
(saving the balls)

During festivals they have big tubs of gold fish that children can try to catch with rice paper paddles. It takes quite a bit of talent to catch gold fish with a paddle made of rice paper. The gold fish swim around and rice paper rips incredible easy when wet. They have a simpler version of this where the children don't go for gold fish but super balls. Jade decided to go for the super balls instead of gold fish. She was only able to get two balls before her rice paper paddle ripped completely. Some of the more talented people can catch several gold fish with one paddle. I've seen someone catch twelve gold fish with one paddle. I've heard they actually have competitions for this.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 150mm, f/5.3, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Cooling Off

I've been trying to take more photos like this where the subject is in focus and the background is out of focus. A good friend of mine who lives in Kyoto, Jeffrey Friedl, is a master at this. I absolutely love his photos. Also, I used the vignettes effects in Lightroom on this photo. I think it's the first time I've posted a photo using these effects. I thought it turned out OK.

One other thing I'd like to mention is Jeffrey Friedl produces many useful plugins for Lightroom. If you use Lightroom, and are so inclined, I suggest you check out his plugins here. They've made my photography blogging experience much easier and more pleasurable.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/40-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800 -- EXIF
Minami Kizuki

Minami Kizuki is an upcoming artist here in Amami. She will soon release a CD of her work. I enjoyed her performance, but I have to say, they had a bit too much artificial smoke during some of her songs.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Shelley's Husband

Minami Kizuki brought out a shamisen and Shelley's husband came out to accompany her on the taiko. I thought that was really cool.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/30 sec, f/4.0, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
Hachigatsu Odori

In a previous post called 2006 Hachigatsu Odori, I posted a bunch of photos of the different villages around Amami getting together in downtown Amami. This particular group is from Sani. Sani is the most northern village in Amami.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 55mm, 6 sec, f/22, ISO 100 -- EXIF
6 Second Shutter

I thought it would be cool to take a slow shutter shot of everyone dancing. I don't know if you will like it but I thought it turned out kind of nice.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/20 sec, f/4.0, ISO 1600 -- EXIF
FIRE!

After the hachigatsu odori, they had a group come out that did a fire dance. It was the first time seeing anything like this in Amami so I chose a few photos of this. I didn't know how I should photograph this, but I chose to use a slow shutter speed.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 55mm, 5 sec, f/22, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Circles



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 55mm, 2 sec, f/22, ISO 100 -- EXIF



Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 55mm, 2 sec, f/22, ISO 200 -- EXIF



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, 8.5 sec, f/10, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Fireworks Procession

I posted the photos I took of the Amami Festival fireworks but I thought I would post a few more of these. The reason I chose to post these was I didn't have very much human element in the Amami Festival fireworks procession. Just prior to this, there were loads of people watching the stage, but as soon as the fireworks started, they all moved to the port just on the other side of the tents you seen in the background.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, 16 sec, f/10, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Not So Many People

By the time I changed my lens, most of the people had moved out and it was kind of a lonely site. I'll have to plan better next year.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, 13 sec, f/10, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Aug 9, 2009

2009 Amami Parade 2

Posted by Amami Superman

This is part 2 of the Amami Parade. I took over 1200 photos in 3 hours of everyone and everything. Trying to chose photos to post is proving to be pretty difficult. I want to share a little bit about the island I live on and I can't post all the photos I want to.

Amami is a pretty small island and there are probably more people in the parade than there are watching, or pretty close to.


Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 27mm, 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Marching Band

I really like the groups of kids that participate in the parade. It must take a bit of courage to get out and perform in front of everyone like this. They had some other groups of kids that I'll post in a different post that really impressed me. I'm trying to keep most of these groups in order as they appeared to me.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Hostess Clubs

A bunch of the hostess clubs they have here get together to do their thing in the parade. It's not just hostess clubs but regular shot bars and sports bars also. They also had a few gay bars participating but I didn't get very many good shots of them. It was kind of interesting seeing a man in a woman's kimono with make up wearing huge fake eyelashes. Not that they looked gaudy, but it wasn't something you see everyday.



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

The older gentleman on the left is Makoto Koshima. He is a very famous camera man here in Amami. I was a bit intimidated by him but he was nice enough to talk to me as we shot photos. In my previous post, I mention the annoying photographers that would just walk up and stand in front of you mid shot. Mr. Koshima was a very courteous photographer and I felt honored that he hung around me and talked with me.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 28mm, 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Mobile Takahata
(weaving machine)

This is the kind of machine they use to make the special kind of silk kimono fabric called tsumugi. Tsumugi is famous in Japan for the special designs and colors used to make kimonos. You can find out more about tsumugi here.

Most of the groups you see next are apart of the groups supporting Oshima Tsumugi.


Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Mobile Silk Dyeing

Again, here is Mr. Koshima. I really enjoyed talking with him while shooting.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 34mm, 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400 -- EXIF



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/250 sec, f/3.5, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Jazz Dancers

They have a couple of dance schools here in Amami. I'm not sure which one this is, but they're here supporting Oshima Tsumugi.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 22mm, 1/250 sec, f/4.0, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Youth Carrying a Takahata



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Amami Oshima Shokokaigishou
(Amami Chamber of Commerce)

The sign on the truck basically says to do your shopping in your home town or where your from. I'm not sure of the reason for this but I would have to say it has to do with keeping the economy here on the island stable throughout the smaller outlying villages.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 50mm, 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Tokyodo

My wife's mother's side of the family owns a office supply shop called Tokyodo. They also own a Sanrio shop called Gaba Gaba. The first 3 people in this photo are from Tokyodo. On the right is Ami who works the register. The lady in the middle is Hiroko. She is my wife's mother's older brother's wife. Is that too much? I guess it's easy enough to say she's my wife's uncle's wife? The lady to the right of her is her daughter, Masae.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 26mm, 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400 -- EXIF

So there is a few more photos of some of the different groups that participated in the parade. I'll post more of the parade again soon.
Aug 7, 2009

2009 Amami Parade 1

Posted by Amami Superman

I'm starting out this series of posts of the Amami parade with this big habu. The parade is held on Sunday and is the last event of the Amami Summer Festival. This big habu is apart of the parade every year. It's always fun to watch.


Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 28mm, 1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Coiling Up

The parade stops at regular intervals and each group does their thing for the crowd watching. The habu is performed by the workers of the Amami City Hall.



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



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

They throw buckets of water to cool off the performers. It's fairly warm and humid and it's pretty easy to get overheated running around like this.

In other parts of Japan, they have festivals called "Hadaka Matsuri", which basically means "naked festival". Probably the most famous of these naked festivals is the one held at the Konomiya Shrine in Inazawa. Over 9000 men come out dressed in nothing more than a fundoshi tightly tied around their loins. Every year they select one man to move down the middle of this huge crowd of men. The objective of the entire crowd is to touch this one man and give their misfortunes for the year to him. This man has 4 others with him to help protect him so he isn't killed under the crushing weight of the crowd. So much heat is generated from all the bodies pressing together, they throw buckets of ice and ice water out over the crowd. Although it's not as crowded as that here in Amami during the parade, it's still hot and it feels good to have the cool water poured on you.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Very Annoying Camera Man

So there I was, down on one knee trying to take my shots and up strolls this camera man and stands right in front of me. I was a bit peeved but didn't do anything about it except move over a bit to get a clear shot. Then he moved and came and stood right in front of me again. I moved again and he moved again and stood right in front of me! I usually don't get too angry with people, but man! I wanted to throttle this guy! It was just after I shot this photo that I actaully growled at him and he turned around and realized he was standing in front of me. After that he tried to move away from me.



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55m 3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/80 sec, f/5.0, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Still Dumping Water



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Uncoiling



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



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 -- EXIF



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



Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18mm, 1/100 sec, f/5.0, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Another Annoying Camera Man!

I couldn't believe how some of these camera men didn't care who's view they were blocking. They would just come up and stand in front of you without saying anything even when I was down on one knee right in front trying to take a shot. It was everything I could do to keep from standing up and shoving them out of my way. BUT! I kept my cool and bit my lip.

So that is the first of a few posts to come of the parade this year. I've been trying my best to use the manual settings. I didn't use the zoom that much during these photos so the focal length is almost always 18mm. This let me get a bit of practice adjusting just the shutter speed and aperture. It was a bit cloudy but the sun would break through and it would get bright at times so it was pretty good practice.