Okinawa green tree frog – Ryukyu Islands

The Okinawa green tree frog ( Rhacophorus viridis viridis ) is found on Okinawa, Iheya and Kume Island.

  • Scientific name: Rhacophorus viridis viridis
  • Common name: Okinawa Green tree frog
  • Distribution: Okinawa, Kume, and Iheya.
  • Habitat: Forests, mountain slopes and farm fields near water.
  • Diet: Insects
  • Average size: 45mm-75mm
  • Color: Olive green, Bright green and dark brown
Okinawa Green tree frog

Okinawa Green tree frog

This beautiful frog is a master of camouflage.  I often find it resting on tree branches, blending in with the surrounding green leaves.

Natural habitat

Natural habitat

Green tree frog

Green tree frog

Breading season stretches from February to April on Okinawa.

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Green tree frog mating

On Kume Island the tree frogs transform to a golden brown when mating.

Kume Island tree frog

Kume Island tree frog

They construct a foam nest on a tree branch above a still water source. Eventually the foam liquefies when the eggs are ready to hatch.

Frog foam nest

Frog foam nest

Not all frogs survive to make the nest. The Akamata is the most common snake on the Okinawan Islands.  It feeds on venomous habu snakes, baby sea turtles, lizards and frogs.

Akamata feeding

Akamata feeding

 

Photographed on white for the Meet your Neighbours global biodiversity project.

MYN Technique

MYN Technique

MYN Technique

MYN Technique

Green tree frog

Green tree frog

I often find this frog searching for insects on the road.

Roadside green tree frog

Roadside green tree frog

Let’s protect the wildlife of Okinawa.

 

 

Light-painting with the nightsea

Light painting is the artistic technique of moving a hand held-light source while taking a long exposure. The purpose is to illuminate the subject with constant lighting to create a powerful image.  It takes a steady hand, patience, trial and error and imagination. Using a specialized blue light (nightsea) will allow you to capture fluorescence. The images will be enhanced with beautiful bright vibrant colors.

Most plants and animals fluoresce under blue light. Below are some of my favorite long-exposures photographed using the Nightsea and a Canon 70d.  I also included some comparison photos under white light.

Beautiful cherry blossoms under blue light, Okinawa-Japan

Cherry blossum under blue light

Cherry blossom under blue light

Cherry blossum under blue light

Cherry blossom under blue light

Cherry blossum under white light (MYN)

Cherry blossom under white light (MYN)

 

Sunflowers show some fluorescence under blue light, Okinawa-Japan

Sundflower under blue light

Sundflower under blue light

Sunflower under white light -zoom panning

Sunflower under white light -zoom panning

 

The animal must not move in order to get a sharp image during a long-exposure.

Rhinoceros coconut  beetle under blue light

Rhinoceros coconut beetle under blue light

Rhinoceros coconut  beetle under white light

Rhinoceros coconut beetle under white light

The Rosy gypsy moth (Lymantria mathura) Under blue light

The Rosy gypsy moth (Lymantria mathura) Under blue light

The Rosy gypsy moth (Lymantria mathura) Under white light -

The Rosy gypsy moth (Lymantria mathura) Under white light -

 

More flowers painted with the Nightsea

Flowers under blue light

Flowers under blue light

IMG_6386

Flowers under blue light

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Cactus under blue light

Mochi leaf flower under blue light

Mochi leaf flower under blue light

Flower under blue light

Flower under blue light

Light-painting with the Nightsea and Sola 600 red light

Light-painting Okinawa

Light-painting Okinawa

Blue light comparison (450nm) with UV (385)

Blue 450 vrs uv385

Blue comparison – 450nm vrs uv 385nm

 

Equipment used

  • Light&Motion Nightsea or Gobe blue light
  • Modeling light Gobe 700 wide (white light) to lock in focus
  • Camera with Manual capabilities and macro lens (Canon 70d *60macro)
  • Manfrotto Tripod and remote
  • Barrier filter (block the reflected blue light )

 

Sola NightSea underwater blue light

Sola NightSea underwater blue light

My underwater setup for photographing fluorescence.

fluorescence-004

Learn more-

http://www.lightandmotion.com/sola-nightsea

Protecting Okinawa’s endangered beetles – Yanbaru forest

Poaching has been a big problem in northern Okinawa. The endemic animals of the Yanbaru forest are highly valued in the exotic pet trade market.  The Okinawan Ministry of the Environment and the wildlife protection center are working hard this year to prevent the poaching of these endangered species. The Okinawan’s are spreading the word in the news, local papers, flyers and even monitoring the forest roads at night.

Poaching flyer - Yanbaru

Poaching flyer -Yanbaru

August through September is when people search the forest for the rare Yanbaru long-armed scarab beetle (Cheirotonus jambar). If you see anyone taking this protected species please contact the authorities.  I have yet to photograph a live animal. It is one of the rarest beetles in the world.

Rarest beetle in Japan -Yanbaru long-armed scarab beetle

Rarest beetle in Japan -Yanbaru long armed scarab beetle, wildlife center

The giant Okinawan stag beetle (Dorcus titanus okinawanus) is also a high prized specimen in the pet trade.

Giant okinawan stag beetles

Giant okinawan stag beetles

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Giant okinawan stag beetle 

Beetle collectors use fruit filled net traps to lure in the beetles.

Yanbaru beetle trap

Yanbaru beetle trap    (Dorcus titanus okinawanus)

The beetles hooked shaped arms get caught in the netting.

Giant stag beetle ( Dorcus titanus okinawanus )

Giant stag beetle (Dorcus titanus okinawanus)

Over the years, I have found a few traps with dead beetles attached.

dead beetle

Female okinawan stag beetle

Beetle collecting is popular in Okinawa. Its important to be familiar with the specific beetles that are protected species. Let’s protect the wildlife of the Yanbaru forest for future generations.

 

 

 

The King of the Yanbaru forest – Holst’s frog

The Holst’s frog ( Babina holsti ) is a rare species found  in northern Okinawa. It is currently listed endangered on the IUCN red list. It is designated as a natural monument by the Okinawa Prefecture.  This large amphibian is decreasing in numbers due to habitat loss.

  • Scientific name: Babina holsti (Boulenger, 1892)
  • Distribution:  Northern Okinawa-Japan
  • Habitat:  Forest streams 
  • Diet:  Insects, worms, snails and small reptiles
  • Average Size:  100mm -125mm
King of the Jungle

King of the Jungle

The Holst’s frog is the largest frog found on Okinawa. It hides in holes, crevices and small caves in the day.

Searching for food

Searching for food

This is a size comparison photograph taken with the Iphone 6s. This is a good size  frog but they do get larger than this.

Comparison - Iphone6s

Comparison – Iphone6s

Photographed on white for the Meet Your Neighbours global biodiversity project. All images are used for conservation awareness and educational purposes.

MYN technique -Holst's frog

MYN technique -Holst’s frog

The juvenile’s have a dark brown  patch on the top section of the body. They bland in very well with their habitat.

Juvenile Holst's frog

Juvenile Holst’s frog

Juvenile holst's frog

Juvenile holst’s frog

They are sometimes found searching for food on the back roads of Northern Okinawa.

Juvenile Holst's frog - Yanbaru

Juvenile Holst’s frog – Yanbaru

Be careful and pay close attention to crossing wildlife! 

Crossing wildlife

Crossing wildlife

Lets protect the wildlife of Okinawa!

Capturing fluorescence – Fluorescence enhancement photography by Shawn Miller

All photographers experience a time when their work becomes redundant and lose vision. The Light & Motion Sola Nightsea has opened up a new style of photography for me. Recently I have been blending the Light&Motion Nightsea blue light with ambient light and getting beautiful vibrant results.

Here are some of my favorite images using this fluorescence enhancement technique.

Green fire- coral polyps

Green fire- coral polyps

nightsea and sola 600 blended

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended,  -  fluorescence

Coral  art

Coral art

Coral Okinawa

Coral Okinawa

Tube anemone -

Tube anemone -

Patterns and texture-

Patterns and texture-

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

blue light ambient light no ylfilter.jpg 4

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

nighsea and sola 600 blended no yl filter 1

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- Luminescence a fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- Luminescence a fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

Coral with Acoel flatworms

Coral with Acoel flatworms

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- Luminescence a fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Razor coral-

Razor coral-

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- Luminescence a fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

Learn more about Light and Motion lights - http://www.lightandmotion.com/the-perfect-light

Have a great day-

Light and Motion macro field setup – Constant lighting by Shawn Miller

Light and Motion lights produce constant lighting with studio quality output. This light configuration is convenient while shooting macro photography at night. The camera, tray, arms and lights are combined into one lightweight unit. The light output can be easily adjusted with a touch of a switch. Having the lights on loc-line arms allow simple light angle adjustments.  

The custom Light and Motion macro field setup consists of

  • Sola Tray kit with extention tray and arms
  • Third custom loc-line arm mounted
  • GoBe 700 wide light
  • Sola 600 light
  • Sola 1200 light
  • Canon 70D with 60 mm macro lens and strap
Light and Motion macro field setup

Light and Motion macro field setup by Shawn M Miller.

I was fortunate to have beautiful weather both nights testing the constant lighting setup in northern Okinawa. Six of the animals below are endangered species listed as threatened on the IUCN red list. All of these night dwellers are decreasing in numbers due to deforestation.

Kuroiwa's ground gecko -Red list

Kuroiwa’s ground gecko -Red list

Namie's frog (Limnonectes namiyei)

Namie’s frog (Limnonectes namiyei) – Red list

Okinawa tree frog (Rhacphhorus viridis)

Okinawa tree frog (Rhacphhorus viridis)

Ryukyu Tip-nosed frog -Red list

Ryukyu Tip-nosed frog -Red list

Anderson's crocodile newt- Red list

Anderson’s crocodile newt- Red list

Kuroiwa's ground gecko -Red list

Kuroiwa’s ground gecko -Red list

Ryukyu brown frog -Red list

Ryukyu brown frog -Red list

Holst's frog ( Rana holsteri ) - Red list

Holst’s frog ( Rana holsteri ) – Red list

Ryukyu Kajika frog

Ryukyu Kajika frog

If you would like to learn more about these lights, check out the site!

http://www.lightandmotion.com/the-perfect-light

Have a great day!

 

Fluoro fingerprinting by Shawn Miller

On February 16th 2015, I went out reef walking at night during low tide. I brought my Light and Motion Nightsea blue light in search of marine life fluorescence. I stumbled upon an interesting find in the world of science. I call it Fluoro fingerprinting.

I flipped over a rock, a small sea cucumber fell off and began to fluoresce under blue light. I found another sea cucumber and photographed it using the blue light and yellow excitation filter but it did not fluoresce.

Holothuria (Platyperona) difficilis under blue light

Holothuria (Platyperona) difficilis under blue light

I gently touched it with my finger and it fluoresced bright green, leaving the print of my finger on the surface of the sea cucumber.

Fluoro fingerprinting. Okinawa-Japan

Fluoro fingerprinting. Okinawa-Japan

I checked my finger and noticed it fluoresced light green under blue light.

fluoro fingerprinting

Fluoro fingerprinting

I was excited about this find and posted it Flickr for some Identification help and explanation. Curt Fieldler emailed the photograph to Dr Alexander Kerr from the University Of Guam Marine lab and he was kind enough to assist.

 Dr Kerr stated that the species is known to have green pigment that I have seen in other Sea cucumbers. As far as the fingerprint, It seems to indicate that touching the surface of the Sea cucumber exposes the underlying carotenoid, perhaps by mobilizing the the melanin pigments. So I think you have made an interesting find. 

The next step was to photograph Holothuria (Platyperona) difficilis in a studio aquarium using the Meet your neighbours isolation technique.  I wanted to show the animal stretched out displaying  the tube feet and feathery feeding tentacles.  

Holothuria (Platyperona) difficilis  -MYN

Holothuria (Platyperona) difficilis -MYN

The last step was to photograph Holothuria (Platyperona) difficilis in its natural environment during the daytime.

Holothuria (Platyperona) difficilis

Holothuria (Platyperona) difficilis in natural environment

Learn more about capturing fluorescence http://www.nightsea.com/

Learn more about the lights used http://www.lightandmotion.com/

Learn more about Meet your Neighbours Project http://meetyourneighbours.net/

Have a great day!

 

Namie’s frog (limnonectes namiyei) – Okinawa

The Namie’s frog ( Limnonectes namiyei ) is an endangered species found only in northern Okinawa. It is currently listed threatened on the IUCN red list of endangered species. This amphibian is decreasing in numbers due to deforestation and the use of pesticides.

  • Scientific name: Limnonectes namiyei
  • Distribution:  Northern Okinawa-Japan
  • Habitat:  Forest streams 
  • Diet:  Insects 
  • Average Size:  70mm -115mm
Namies frog- Stella 2000

Namie’s frog- Photographed using the Stella 2000

Photographed on white for the Meet your neighbours global biodiversity project. All images are used for conservation awareness and educational purposes.

limnonectes namiyei

Limnonectes namiyei – MYN Project

Massive legs allow them and capture prey with lightning speed.

Namie's frog ( limnonectes namiyei )

Namie’s frog ( limnonectes namiyei )

Webbed feet allow them to quickly escape predators in the water.

Namie's frog - Top view

Namie’s frog – Top view

Wide angle perspective – showing the environment it lives in.

Namie's frog - Wide angle macro

Namie’s frog – Wide angle macro

Be careful and pay close attention to crossing wildlife.

Road dweller- Namie's frog- Stella 2000

Road dweller- Namie’s frog with leeches

Lets Protect the wildlife of Okinawa!

The Art of Wide-Angle Macro Photography by Shawn Miller

Wide-angle macro photography is popular with wildlife photographers. The technique allows the photographer to document the animal in its natural habitat and show the full scene it lives in. The photographs have great impact and deliver a bug eye perspective using a wide angle lens.

I generally use off camera flash with a custom soft box to make these photographs. Lately I have been testing a variety of on camera flashes to achieve a different perspective. One of the biggest challenges is lighting the subject evenly with soft diffused lighting.

The most popular lenses used for wide angle macro photography ( WAM )  

  • Tokina fisheye 10-17mm f3.5-4.5
  • Nikon fisheye 10.5mm f2.8
  • Sigma fisheye 15mm f2.8 E
  • Venus Laowa 15mm f4 –    (Manual focus only)

Here are some of my favorite wide-angle macro images photographed in Okinawa-Japan.

Fighting pose - Preying mantis, IPhone 6s

Fighting pose – Preying mantis, IPhone 6s

Geograpsus grayi with eggs

Geograpsus grayi with eggs

Ishikawa's Frog

Ishikawa’s Frog – The most beautiful frog in Japan

Horn-eyed ghost crab at sunset

Horn-eyed ghost crab at sunset -Nikon 10.5mm

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Herping in the yanbaru forest

Crabs with trash homes - Sesoko

Crabs with trash homes – Sesoko

I own this fence -Golden habu

I own this fence – Golden habu

Ghost crab - Nagahama beach

Ghost crab – Nagahama beach

Pryer's keelback feeding on a white jawed frog

Pryer’s keelback feeding on a white jawed frog

Baby loggerhead leaving the nest

Baby loggerhead leaving the nest

coconut rhinoceros beetle

Invasive – Coconut rhinoceros beetle

Blue rock-thrush with wings spread

Blue rock-thrush with wings spread

Princess habu -Yanbaru

Princess habu -Yanbaru

Kuroiwa's ground gecko crossing the road

Kuroiwa’s ground gecko crossing the road

Okinawan green tree frog

Okinawan green tree frog

Giant stag Beetle (Dorcus titanus)

Giant stag Beetle (Dorcus titanus) -Ie Island

Okinawa tip-nosed frog ( Rana narina )

Okinawa tip-nosed frog ( Rana narina )

Hermit crab at sunset

Hermit crab at sunset

Land crab crossing the road  at night

Land crab crossing the road at night

Hermit crabs with beach trash homes

Hermit crabs with beach trash homes

on the move- Black-breasted leaf turtle

On the move- Black-breasted leaf turtle

Asian long horned beetle

Asian long horned beetle

Crabs with trash homes-Yomitan

Crabs with trash homes-Yomitan

Road dweller- Namie's frog- Stella 2000

Road dweller- Namie’s frog- Stella 2000

Praying mantis

Praying mantis -with kenko 1.4 T

If you would like to learn more about this technique I recommend                                          Wide-Angle Macro: The Essential Guide by Clay Bolt and Paul Harcourt Davies

  http://www.e-junkie.com/shop/product/482943.php

 

 

 

 

 

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle, Yanbaru forest

The Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica) is an endangered species found in Northern Okinawa. This turtle is decreasing in numbers due to poaching, deforestation and road kill. The turtle is high valued in the pet trade market and needs to protected. It has been designated as a National Natural Monument of Japan and is currently on the IUCN red species list as endangered.

  • Scientific name:  Geoemyda japonica (Fan, 1931)
  • Distribution:  Okinawajima
  • Habitat:  Leaf littered wetland forests 
  • Diet:  Worms, snails, insects, crustaceans and fruit
  • Average Size:  140mm- 160mm

The Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle in its natural habitat.

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

Black breasted leaf turtle - up close

Black breasted leaf turtle – up close

You can see why they named it the Black-breasted leaf turtle. We helped this turtle get off of the road and placed it safely back into the forest.

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

Photographed on white for the Meet your neighbours global biodiversity project. All images are used for conservation awareness and educational purposes.

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle – MYN Project

I usually find the Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle crossing the road at night or early in the morning.

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

All the roads in northern Okinawa have specialized wildlife steps for the the animals that get trapped in the drainage ditch. These steps allow the turtles and other animals to crawl out safely using the steps.

Wildlife steps

Wildlife steps

Watch your speed and pay close attention to crossing wildlife.

Wildlife crossing warning signs

Wildlife crossing warning signs

watch out for crossing turtles -Kunigami village

watch out for crossing turtles -Kunigami village

IMG_3538

The truth is I have seen more of these turtles dead than alive. Watch your speed!

Road kill

Road kill

Lets protect the wildlife of Okinawa.

Have a great day!