Patterns, textures and colors ! Underwater Macro Photography by Shawn Miller

Okinawa offers some of the best Scuba-Diving in the world. I really enjoy the Art of Underwater Macro Photography.  Macro subjects can always be found, it just takes some imagination and good framing to create beautiful underwater abstracts.  Pattern’s, textures and vibrant colors generally stand out in underwater photography.

Equipment used 

  • Camera: Canon 70d with Canon 100mm&60mm
  • Housing: Ikelite underwater housing
  • Stobes: Ikelite DS160 & DS 200
  • Modeling lights: Light&Motion Gobe 800, Sola 3800 and Sola 1200
  • Specialized lights: Light&Motion Sola Nightsea

All images were taken in the beautiful waters of the Ryukyu Islands. Underwater Photography by Shawn Miller.

Cushion starfish (Culcita novaeguineae) 100mm

Cushion starfish (Culcita novaeguineae) © Shawn Miller

Coral (Favia sp)

Coral (Favia sp) © Shawn Miller

Deep water coral (Tubastrea micrantha)

Deep water coral (Tubastrea micrantha) © Shawn Miller

Pedum spondyloidum- coral scallop

Pedum spondyloidum- coral scallop © Shawn Miller

Feather star

Feather star © Shawn Miller

Stichopus variegatus sea cucumber- 100mm

(Stichopus variegatus) sea cucumber © Shawn Miller

Sea fan (Annella mollis )

Sea fan (Annella mollis ) © Shawn Miller

Favia sp coral closeup

Favia sp coral closeup © Shawn Miller

Feather duster worm (Sabellastarte sanctijosephi)

Feather duster worm (Sabellastarte sanctijosephi) © Shawn Miller

granulated sea star (Choriaster granulatus)

granulated sea star (Choriaster granulatus) © Shawn Miller

Crocea clam (Tridacna Crocea)

Crocea clam (Tridacna Crocea) © Shawn Miller

(Pachyseris speciosa) Ringed plate coral

(Pachyseris speciosa) Ringed plate coral © Shawn Miller

Razor coral

Razor coral © Shawn Miller

striped triplefin (Helcogramma striata) on coral

Striped triplefin (Helcogramma striata) on coral © Shawn Miller

coral of okinawa

coral of okinawa © Shawn Miller

bubble coral (Plerogyra sinuosa

Bubble coral (Plerogyra sinuosa) © Shawn Miller

Dive safe and have a great day!


Ornate narrow mouth frog – Amphibians of Okinawa by Shawn Miller

The Ornate narrow-mouth frog (Microhyla ornata) is found throughout the Ryukyu Islands. It is one of the smallest frogs found on Okinawa. It can be extremely hard to find due to its small size.

  • Scientific name: Microhyla ornata
  • Common name: Ornate narrow mouth frog, ant frog and ornate pygmy frog
  • Distribution: Ryukyu Islands
  • Habitat: Forests, mountain slopes, drainage ditches and farm fields.
  • Diet: Ants, termites and small insects
  • Average size: 15mm-25mm
  • Color: brown
Ornate narrow mouth frog -Okinawa

Ornate narrow mouth frog -Okinawa

I have found this beautiful frog in the Yanbaru forest, local parks, drainage ditches and even common walking trails in central Okinawa.

Yanbaru forest  -Northern Okinawa

Yanbaru forest -Tokina magic

This small frog is a master of camouflage. I often find it on rocks, plants and leaves during my night walks.

Ornate rice frog -Ryukyu Islands

Ornate rice frog -Ryukyu Islands



Ornate rice frog -Onna village

Photographed on a white portable studio for the Meet your neighbours project                 - dedicated to connecting people worldwide with the wildlife in their community -


Meet your neighbours project by Shawn Miller

Have a great day!

Ryukyu flying fox – Bats of Okinawa

The Ryukyu flying fox is the largest bat found throughout the Ryukyu Islands. This large bat often startles people on night walks. No need to worry, it is not a threat to humans. This large fruit bat feeds on fruit, seeds and nectar. It is currently listed as vulnerable on the IUCN list of Threatened species.

  • Scientific name: Pteropus dasymallus
  • Common name: Ryukyu flying fox and fruit bat
  • Distribution: Ryukyu Islands
  • Habitat: Dense forests and neighborhood parks 
  • Diet: Fruit, seeds and nectar
  • Average size: 300-350mm
  • Color: Brown and orange

These large fruit bats are nocturnal and feed during the night.

Ryukyu flying fox

Ryukyu flying fox

They can also be found during the day hiding high up in trees.

Ryukyu flying fox

Ryukyu flying fox

Fruit bat in Ryukyu pine tree

Fruit bat in Ryukyu pine tree

On rare occasions they can be found feeding on the cherry blossoms in daylight.


Ryukyu flying fox


Ryukyu flying fox feeding on cherry blossoms

A mother and young found in a secluded part of the Yanbaru forest.

Ryukyu flying fox with young

Ryukyu flying fox feeding

Have a great day!


The Good, the Bad or the Evil – The Crow’s of Okinawa

The Jungle Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos) is found throughout the Ryukyu Islands. They are abundant here and can be found all over Okinawa. Populations have increased due to the readily available food, left on the side of the road and in dumpsters. It’s important to keep your trash enclosed in cages to prevent the crows from getting to it.

  • Scientific name: Corvus macrorhynchos
  • Local name: Jungle crow
  • Distribution:  Ryukyu Islands
  • Habitat:  Farms, cities, forests and grasslands.
  • Diet:  Eats almost everything
  • Average size:  50cm  body length 
  • Color:  Black
Jungle crow and plastic

Jungle crow and plastic © Shawn Miller


Jungle crow -Okinawa Japan

Jungle crow in flight © Shawn Miller

The farmers in Onna village put up this deterrent to keep the crows from coming back.

Crow cross -Onna village

Crow cross -Onna village © Shawn Miller

Crows can be vicious predators. They often harass other birds, showing off their strength.


Aggressive behavior © Shawn Miller

These intelligent birds work as a team to get what they want. I have personally seen them raid baby birds from the nest. I have seen them fly away with juvenile woodpeckers, rails and swallows.

Crow taking the okinawa woodpecker from the nest

Crow taking the Okinawa woodpecker from the nest © Shawn Miller

To control the population of jungle crows in northern Okinawa, they use large traps to catch them in. One way in and no way out!

Crow trap - Northern Okinawa

Crow trap – Northern Okinawa © Shawn Miller

Possibly a strange growth that occurred from an injury (broken beak). Could this be one of the few crows that made a successful escape from a trap?

A crow with a hook beak

A crow with an extended hook beak © Shawn Miller

As much as we dislike the crow, they do have a purpose in the ecosystem. They clean the dead animals (road kill) off the road, keeping our environment clean from rotting carcasses. I often see them feeding on cats, snakes, lizards, birds and rats dead in the road.

Mongoose -roadkill

Mongoose -roadkill © Shawn Miller

Crow feeding on a cat

Crow feeding on a cat by Shawn Miller © Shawn Miller


Crows eating roadkill -Okinawa © Shawn Miller

They also feed on the large green caterpillars that destroy the farmer’s taro (Taanmu) crops in Kin village

Crows of Okinawa

Crows of Okinawa -© Shawn Miller

Mutualism of Commensalism?

I believe this is Mutualism. Both animals possibly benefit from each other.  The crow cleans the parasites on the boar’s skin and also acts as a warning system when a threats are in the area.  The wild boar uproots the ground,  which gives access to insects, grubs and worms for the crow. This was my first time observing this behaviour in the wild.

Jungle crow and the Boar

Jungle crow and the Boar – © Shawn Miller

As soon as the boar spotted me it fled the scene. The crow attempted to stay mounted but could not keep up with the boar.

Jungle crow and the Wild Boar

Jungle crow and the Wild Boar © Shawn Miller

Have a great day!