Thousands of Blue button jellyfish washed ashore Okinawa

Thousands of Blue button jellyfish ( Porpita porpita ) washed ashore on a local beach today.  These beautiful animals have stinging cells called nematocysts.  They can cause skin irritation but generally are not a threat.

Blue button  jellyfish

Blue button jellyfish

Blue button  jellyfish

Blue button jellyfish 

Washed ashore

Washed ashore

Button Jellyfish

Button Jellyfish -Gobe 700

Button Jellyfish

Button Jellyfish – Gobe 700

I collected a few specimens to photograph in the studio. I was curious to see if this animal would fluoresce under blue light. I used my underwater setup as my lighting studio.  I took a few photos using the Light & Motion Nightsea Blue light.

Studio setup

DTM -Studio setup

The round disc fluoresced bright orange under blue light.

fluorescence

fluorescence

Have a great day!

 

 

Invasive species of Okinawa

Invasive species are introduced animals, plants and fungus that cause damage to the natural environment. Non-native species have a tendency of dominating the habitat and eventually wiping out native wildlife.  They have been deliberately or accidentally introduced and generally do more harm than good.

The mongoose was introduced to Okinawa in 1910 in attempt to control the population of venomous snakes. The problem is the habu snake is nocturnal and the mongoose is diurnal, so they rarely meet.

Mongoose ( Hepestes javanicus )

Mongoose ( Hepestes javanicus ) -Nagahama, Okinawa

The pheasant was introduced in the 1900′s as a food source. The bird is also know to feed on small snakes and insects that feed on local crops.

Common Pheasant

Common Pheasant – Yomitan, Okinawa

The Red eared turtle was Introduced in the the 1960′s.  Pet owners generally release these turtles when they get too big.

Red-eared slider

Red-eared slider -Nagahama, Okinawa

The White jawed frog was introduced in the the 1960′s. It was brought in by the pet trade or hitchhiking on shipping supplies.

White lipped tree frog

White lipped tree frog – Ie Island

The Taiwanese habu was introduced in the 1970s for zoo exibitions and medicine.  They are fairly common in Onna village.

Taiwanes habu- Onna village

Taiwanes habu- Onna village

The Apple snail was introduced as a food source in the 1980s.  They are commonly found in rice fields. It’s not recommended to handle or eat these snails raw. They sometimes carry parasites that cause disease.

Apple snail

Apple snail -Kunigami, Okinawa

Feral cats are master hunters. They are responsible for killing native species such as birds, lizards and mice.  Some countries have implemented programs to reduce the killing of wildlife. If you own a cat that spends it time outdoors, it is recommended to place a brightly colored collar with a bell on it.  This warns the native wildlife and gives them a chance to escape.

Feral cats

Feral cats – Kin, Okinawa

The american bullfrog was introduced in 1918 as a food source. Bullfrogs eat anything they can fit into their mouth. They are larger and overpower the native frogs of the Ryukyu Islands.

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American bullfrog – Izena Island

The Giant African snail was Introduced as a food source in the 1930′s . It’s not recommended to handle or eat these snails raw. They sometimes  carry parasites that cause disease.

Giant African snail

Giant African snail -Kin, Okinawa

The Coconut rhinoceros was introduced with the importation of palm trees.

Coconut rhinoceros beetle

Coconut rhinoceros beetle

The Snapping turtle was introduced by pet owners. They buy them when they are very small and fail to realize they can live for over forty years.

Snapping turtle

Snapping turtle – introduced to okinawa

The Taiwanese beauty snake was introduced in the 1970s for zoo exhibitions.

Taiwanese beauty snake

Taiwanese beauty snake – Yomitan, Okinawa

The Brown rat was possibly introduced by lumber transportation ships.

Brown rat (Rattus norvegicus)

Brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) -Yomitan, Okinawa

Talapia were brought to the Ryukyu islands in the 1960s as a food source. They eat the eggs of amphibians and compete with native fish.

Tiliapia introduced food source

Tiliapia introduced food source – Itoman, Okinawa

Let’s protect the wildlife of Okinawa!

Nature Therapy – Photo Exhibition by Shawn Miller

The Exhibition will be held at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST)  January 14th through February 29th.  The free photo exhibition is open from 9:00 to 17:00 every day. The exhibition will feature forty inspiring images of underwater animals, crabs with beach trash homes and the endangered species of Okinawa.  Photography By Shawn Miller. The wonderful people at OIST were kind enough to make this exhibition  take place and produce beautiful advertisement posters.

Nature Therapy poster 2016

Nature Therapy Poster 2016 – Shawn Miller

Some of my favorite images are featured below.  I photographed the gallery with a fish eye lens to give it a unique perspective.

Blueberry hermit crab

Blueberry hermit crab – Meet your neighbours project

Surgeon on the move

Surgeon fish on the move – Motion

Crabs with trash homes

Crabs with trash homes – Meet your neighbours project

Kuroiwas ground gecko -Endangered

Kuroiwas ground gecko -Endangered

a Blenny playing Peek a Boo

A Blenny playing Peek a Boo

Typhoon swirl -

Typhoon swirl – The art of motion

Ryukyu black breasted leaf turtle  -endangered

Ryukyu black breasted leaf turtle -endangered

Boxer crab

Boxer crab – Marine life of Okinawa

Okinawa rail

Okinawa rail- endemic to northern Okinawa

Video by Gary Hughes. FrontPageOkinawa – Hughes Media Technologies

http://

More information about Shawn Miller and Nature Therapy - http://www.japanupdate.com/2016/01/oist-hosts-nature-photo-exhibition/

Testing the Venus Laowa 60mm F2.8 macro lens underwater

Laowa 60mmn f2.8 macro lens

Dive Team Miller Underwater set-up with Canon 70d Laowa 60mmn f2.8 macro lens-  Ikelite housing with 8inch dome port, 1 ikelite 160 strobe , 1 ikelite 200 strobe, 1 sola 600 and 1 gobe 700 focus light.

The Venus Laowa 60mm macro lens is a technical lens with great optics. The specialized lens is manual focus and manual aperture selection.  I had to use my wide angle dome port since this was the only port I had the lens would fit into. I preset the lens to a 1:2 ratio and used an aperture setting of F8. I went with the aperture setting of F8 since it was an overcast day and I wanted to see my subject through the viewfinder in the low light.  I used two modeling lights to add artificial light, which allowed me to see through the viewfinder at a depth of 100 feet. The focusing distance was already preset on the surface, so all I had to do was to move the camera until I saw the subject was in focus and take the shot.  It was very difficult to use with subjects that were moving. This was my first dive using this lens underwater and have more testing to do. Here are some of my images using the Venus Laowa 60mm macro lens underwater at Maeda point, Okinawa-Japan.

Tomato anemonefish -Laowa 60mm macro F8

Tomato anemonefish -Laowa 60mm macro F8

Cushion starfish underside abstract

Cushion starfish underside abstract – Laowa 60mm macro F8

Clark's Anemonefish -

Clark’s Anemonefish – Laowa 60mm macro F8

Coral abstract - Laowa 60mm macro F8

Coral abstract – Laowa 60mm macro F8

Canthigaster coronata

Canthigaster coronata -Laowa 60mm macr0 F8

Bubble coral -Laowa 60mm macro F8

Bubble coral -Laowa 60mm macro F8

Coral abstract

Coral abstract – Laowa 60mm macro F8

Test dive two, I set the aperture to F11 with a focus distance between 1:1-1:2. It was  challenging working with all moving subjects. The dome port was to close for comfort for moving subjects such as fish.  Stay tuned for more images later this week!

Coral abstracts -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Coral abstracts -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Sea anemone -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Sea anemone -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Coral -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Coral -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Cushion star -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Cushion star -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Coral abstract -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Coral abstract -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Check out Thomas Shahan’s review of the Venus 60mm macro lens – The best of the best!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSpE_JE7Uyo

Check out Nicky Bay’s review review of the Venus 15mm Wide angle macro lens -The best of the best!   http://sgmacro.blogspot.jp/2015/06/review-of-venus-optics-laowa-15mm-f4-11.html

Check out Paul Harcourt Davies review on the Venus 15mm Wide angle macro lens- The best of the best!  http://learnmacro.com/closer-still-first-forays-with-the-venus-optics-laowa15mm-f4-wide-angle-11-macro-lens/

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!

 

Anderson’s Crocodile Newt- Endangered species

Anderson’s crocodile newt is an endangered species found throughout the Ryukyu islands. It is designated as a living natural monument in Okinawa and is currently listed endangered on the IUCN red list of threatened species. This amphibian is decreasing in numbers due to poaching and deforestation. The newt is high valued in the illegal pet trade market and needs to protected. This is my favorite amphibian to photograph on my night adventures in Okinawa.

  • Scientific name: Echinotriton andersoni
  • Distribution:  Ryukyu Islands
  • Habitat:  Forests and wetlands
  • Diet:  Worms and snails
  • Average Size:  120mm -160mm

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

Anderson's crocodile newt

Anderson’s crocodile newt -MYN

Anderson’s crocodile newt in its natural habitat feeding on a earthworm.

Feeding ,Yanbaru forest

Feeding ,Yanbaru forest

Late in the evening the newts meet up and search for a mate.

Finding a mate

Finding a mate, Onna Village

The aquatic stage of the newt has external gills. It slowly prepares itself for the transition into the terrestrial juvenile stage. They can be found in mud puddles in the months of May and June.

Aquatic stage

Aquatic stage -external gills

Watch your speed and pay close attention to crossing wildlife.

Watch out for crossing newts

Watch out for crossing newts

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 newts and other animals to crawl out safely.

Wildlife steps

Wildlife steps

Let’s protect the animals of Okinawa!

Have a great day!

 

Kuroiwa’s Ground Gecko, Threatened species!

Kuroiwa’s Ground Gecko is an endangered species found throughout Okinawa. This lizard is decreasing in numbers due to poaching, deforestation, and the threat of feral cats. The lizard is high valued in the illegal pet trade market and needs to protected. This is my favorite reptile to photograph on my night adventures in Okinawa.

  • Scientific name: Goniurosaurus kuroiwae
  • Distribution:  Okinawajima
  • Habitat:  Leaf littered forests 
  • Diet:  Worms and insects
  • Average Size:  110mm -130mm
Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko

Kuroiwa’s Ground Gecko

This is the first ground gecko I photographed in 2010. I found it under a piece of carpet in Onna Village. Illegal dumping is a huge problem in Okinawa.

1st Ground Gecko

1st Ground Gecko

In the daytime they live in caves, crevices and holes in the ground

Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko

Kuroiwa’s Ground Gecko

They come out to feed at night.  

Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko

Kuroiwa’s Ground Gecko

When they feel threatened they will stand up on all fours and try to intimate you with a stare down.

Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko

Kuroiwa’s Ground Gecko

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

Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko -MYN

Goniurosaurus kuroiwae orientalis – Ie Island

We found this juvenile ground gecko in the Yanbaru forest in Northern Okinawa.

Juvenile Ground gecko

Juvenile Ground gecko

A wide angle macro perspective .

Ground gecko -WAM

Ground gecko -Wide angle macro

Pay attention to crossing wildlife!

Kuroiwa's ground gecko -endangered

Kuroiwa’s ground gecko -endangered

Let’s protect the beautiful animals of Okinawa!

Have a great day!

 

5 Day Black & White Photo Challenge – Okinawa

I was nominated by Martin Bailey to participate in the 5 Day Black & White Challenge. I had to post one black & white Image each day while challenging another photographer to do the same. It was difficult to find subjects that really popped out in B&W. Below are the five images I posted during this challenge. All images were taken underwater on Scuba in the beautiful waters of Okinawa.

Tomato Anemonefish (Amphiprion frenatus)

Tomato Anemonefish (Amphiprion frenatus)

Ringed plate coral (Pachysersis speciosa)

Ringed plate coral (Pachysersis speciosa)

Ocellaris clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)

Ocellaris clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)

Razor coral with polyps out

Razor coral with polyps out

Leopard sea cucumber (Bohadschia argus)

Leopard sea cucumber (Bohadschia argus)

All images were photographed with the Canon 70d in an Ikelite underwater housing.

Have a great day!

Crabs With Beach Trash Homes – Okinawa, Japan

Featured

Crabs with beach trash homes is a series I am currently working on. I photograph Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus) that have begun to use beach trash as their home. The crabs are photographed in their nature environment and also on white for the Meet Your Neighbours global biodiversity project. The images are used for environmental awareness and educational purposes.
Hermit crabs with beach trash homes

Hermit crabs with beach trash homes

 Blueberry hermit crabs are commonly found on local beaches in Okinawa. Most crabs are blue but occasionally have color variations of purple, pink, orange and or gray. They prefer to have a seashell as a protective home but when no shell is available they adapt.

Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

Blueberry hermit crab (Coenobita purpureus) with a seashell

Before plastic caps filled our shorelines, hermit crabs adapted using tree nuts if no shells were available.

Hermit crab and tree nut

Hermit crab and tree nut

It’s becoming more common to find crabs with beach trash homes.  I have friends combing local beaches in search of more crabs for my series. While these are cute images, our trash is becoming a serious problem to the ocean and the animals that call the shoreline home. I often find hermit crabs using a variety of plastic caps from twist top pet bottles, laundry detergent containers, small propane tanks, sports water bottles and beauty supplies.

Possible reason why Blueberry crabs adapt with beach trash
  • Limited number of available shells causing them to make due with the best homes they can find. This is a good example of adaptive behavior.

Hermit crabs are very social animals and often fight over shells. Having a protective lightweight shell that covers the abdomen (soft parts of the animal) is crucial for survival.

Hermit crabs fighting

Hermit crabs fighting over prime real estate

 

The battle -

The battle -

A close-up of the sensitive abdomen (photographed using the MYN technique)

Naked hermit crab

Naked hermit crab

Below are some of my favorite images photographed on a portable field studio board (MYN Technique). The crabs are safely placed on a white studio board, photographed and released back into the natural environment (MYN Technique).

 Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

Blueberry hermit crab (Coenobita purpureus) with cap

 Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

Blueberry hermit crab (Coenobita purpureus) in plastic tube

 Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

Blueberry hermit crab (Coenobita purpureus) in plastic top cap

 Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

Blueberry hermit crab (Coenobita purpureus) in plastic

 Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus) in plastic cap

 Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)
Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus) in plastic top cap
Blueberry hermit crab- Ryukyu Islands.

Blueberry hermit crab- Ryukyu Islands

Blueberry hermit crab

Blueberry hermit crab – Okuma, Okinawa

It’s important to photograph the hermit crabs in their natural habitat.  I prefer to photograph them using a wide angle lens to achieve a unique perspective.

Meet zori -Wide angle macro

Meet zori -Wide angle macro

Hermit crab- Plastic pollution

Hermit crab- Plastic pollution

Blueberry hermit crab, Hedo-Okinawa

Blueberry hermit crab,  Wide angle macro

Meet scoop- Quaker

Meet scoop- Quaker

Meet shady

Meet shady – Worldwide trash problem

Hermit crab in a glass bottle

Hermit crab in a glass bottle- Yomitan, Okinawa.

Meet cassette -CWBTH

Meet cassette -CWBTH

Airplane -Senaga Island ,Okinawa

Airplane -Senaga Island ,Okinawa

Blueberry hermit crab, Onna-Okinawa

Land hermit crab, Onna-Okinawa

Meet sparky- using a plastic cap from a cassette gas tank

Meet sparky- using a plastic cap from a cassette gas tank

Energy drink home- Trash homes

Energy drink home- Trash homes

 

The rock climber -Okinawa

The rock climber -Northern Okinawa

Sunset - Yomitan ,Okinawa

Sunset Time – Yomitan ,Okinawa

Beach pollution- CWBTH

Beach pollution- CWBTH

Tree climber-

Tree climber-

Plastic pollution - beach trash

Plastic pollution – beach trash

Crabs and plastic

Crabs and plastic – WAM

Got Meds -Beach trash

Got Meds -Beach trash

Get off the road jack -

Get off the road jack -

Crabs and plastic -Onna Village

Crabs and plastic -Onna Village

I also photograph the hermit crabs using a dedicated macro lens. I mainly use the Canon 60 mm or 100 mm macro lens to concentrate on the subject. These crabs are fairly small and  it’s important to have a lens that will focus close and deliver high quality sharpness.

Meet Edison- Gobe700

Meet Edison- Gobe700

Meet hand -toy end cap

Meet hand -toy end cap

Beach trash -hermit crabs

Beach trash -hermit crabs

 

erry hermit crab, Okuma-Okinawa

Blueberry hermit crab, Okuma-Okinawa

Laundry detergent cap - Northern Okinawa

Laundry detergent cap – Northern Okinawa

Cassette gas tank cap - bbq beach party

Cassette gas tank cap – bbq beach party

White cap on drift wood

White cap on drift wood

Meet scoop-

Meet scoop-

Blueberry hermit crab, Hedo-Okinawa

Blueberry hermit crab, Hedo-Okinawa

 

Meet Edison -Gobe700

Meet Edison -Gobe700

Blueberry hermit crab, Onna-Okinawa

Blueberry hermit crab, Onna-Okinawa

erry hermit crab, Hedo-Okinawa

Blueberry hermit crab, Hedo-Okinawa

School project  ” Crabs with beach trash homes ”  My family and I collected trash on a  local beach in Onna village. This is just a small portion of our beach trash findings.  The kids did a great job creating a project with impact.

Kirana's school project

Kirana’s school project

Kyle's school project

Kyle’s school project

Behind the scenes photograph  ” Crabs with beach trash homes ” I have documented over sixty crabs with beach trash homes. If you would like to see more images check out my Flickr account.

Shawn Miller - Crabs with beach trash homes.  photographed by David Orr

Shawn Miller – Crabs with beach trash homes.    Photographed by David Orr

 

June 10th 2010 was my first experience seeing a hermit crab with a trash home.  
 Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

Land hermit crab  climbing a tree

My series ” Crabs with beach trash homes ” has been featured on Petapixel, Business Insider, National Geographic (Belgium), Atlas Obscura, Global citizen, Plethorist, Daily telegraph, Littlethings, 15minutenews, Roaring earth, Hyperdojo, News.com.au, Follownews, Neotorama, Boingboing, Insider, Additivist, Now100fm and varies Scientific websites.

Our trash is becoming a serous problem on our shorelines! Let’s keep our shorelines clean!

Have a great day!

 

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens – Birds Of Okinawa

The Canon Ef 400mm f/5.6 USM lens is a light weight high performance prime lens. The auto focus system is impressively fast without hesitation. It performs best when photographing birds in flight and animals on the move. This is a very sharp high quality lens and would recommend purchasing it if you are on a limited budget.

The Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) is one of my favorite birds to photograph with the the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens.

Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

The Black Faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor) is a common visitor in Southern Okinawa.
The Spoonbill is critically endangered and has an estimated population of less than 3000.

The Black Faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor).

The Black Faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor).

The Pryer’s woodpecker (Sapheopipo Noguchii) is the prefecture bird of Okinawa and designated as a natural treasure of Japan. It is a rare species only found in the northern part of Okinawa.

Pryer's woodpecker  (Sapheopipo Noguchii)  Yanbaru forest

Pryer’s woodpecker (Sapheopipo Noguchii) Yanbaru forest

 The Japanese white eye (Zosterops japonicus) is popular to photograph in January. The green and yellow feathers compliment the pink cherry tree blossoms.  

Mejiro - Japanese white eye, Okinawa

Mejiro – Japanese white eye

The Okinawa rail (Gallirallus okinawae) is a flightless bird only found in the northern part of Okinawa. It is a protected species and declared a living natural monument. It is currently listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an endangered species.  In 2012 populations of this endemic bird were estimated at 1500 by the Environment Ministry.

Okinawa Rail

Okinawa Rail ( Gallirallus okinawae)

The Glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) is a rare visitor in Okinawa. Nature Photographers travel from Mainland Japan to photograph this beautiful bird.

Glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)

Glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)

The male Japanese sparrowhawk ( Accipiter gularis ) has stunning bright red eyes. This bird can pluck the feathers off a sparrow within minutes.

Male Japanese sparrowhawk   ( Accipiter gularis )

Male Japanese sparrowhawk ( Accipiter gularis )

The Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) dive bombing a fish. This bird is a spectacular hunter.

Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) dive bombing a fish

Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) dive bombing a fish

Check out more Images of Birds of Okinawa-

All Images were photographed using the Canon 70d with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens.

Canon 70d with 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Canon 70d with 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Have a great day!