Nature therapy- Chasing waterfalls on Iriomote Island

This was my fist time exploring Iriomote Island and I have to say it was an outstanding experience.  We were fortunate to have great weather with sunny days. The waterfalls were flowing with clear pristine water.  The twelve hour hike with an experienced guide and four good friends (Pete Leong, Mark Thorpe, Vish Lazcano and Nayuta Hirana) paid off.

The mission was to get some nature therapy and photograph three Impressive waterfalls. I spent most of my time just enjoying the moment and taking documentation photographs with my GoPro Hero 4 Silver.

This was our first view of Maryudo falls in the distance.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3389.

Mariyudo falls, Iriomote

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3403.

Mariyudo falls, Iriomote Island

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3423.

Mariyudo no-taki, Iriomote Island

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3424.

Shooting Mariyudo falls, Iriomote Island

Mariyudo falls is a popular swimming area.  Watch out for leeches!

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3435.

Shooting Mariyudo falls, Iriomote Island

On to the next waterfall, Kanpire waterfall is only a ten minute walk from Mariyudo.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3461.

Kanpire waterfall -Iriomote

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3470.

Kanpire waterfall -Iriomote

The two hour hike begins! time to find the most amazing waterfall known as Mayagusuku falls.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3478.

Freshwater pools -Iriomote

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3480.

River trekking – Iriomote Island

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3497.

River trekking – almost there!

We finally made it to Mayagusuku falls! It was worth the hike!

DCIM100GOPROG0263561.

Mayagusuku falls -Iriomote Island

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3513.

Mayagusuku falls -Iriomote Island

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3519.

Mayagusuku falls -Iriomote Island

The climb to the top was the most impressive part of my trip ! The falls reminded me of a scene cut from Jurassic park.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3546.

Mayagusuku falls -Iriomote Island

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3534.

Mayagusuku falls -Iriomote Island

I really didn’t want to leave this waterfall but we had get back before nightfall.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3347.

The beauty of Iriomote Island

Twelve hours later…  we made it back safe!

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!

 

 

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!

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!

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!

 

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!

 

Marine Life Washed Ashore – Typhoon Vongfong

Super Typhoon Vongfong was considered to be to be the strongest storm of the year. We were very lucky the strength of the storm died down before it landed on the Island of Okinawa. The typhoon brought heavy winds and rough sea conditions. A fair amount of marine life could not cope with these harsh conditions.

Puffer fish and trash

A Common Puffer fish ( Diodon holocanthus) with beach trash.

Blue starfish ,Onna beach-Okinawa

Blue starfish (Linckia laevigata) washed ashore

fish washed up with styrofoam

Carinalfish washed ashore with styrofoam in its mouth

Sea snake , Okinawa-Japan

Venomous Sea snake  (Emydocephalus ijimae)

Starfish washed up

Horned sea star ( Protoreaster nodusus ) washed ashore

sea hare

Large sea slug (Dolabella auricularia ) with internal shell

Sea cucumber

Sea cucumber ( Holothuria scabra ) washed ashore

Soft coral -Nago ,Bay

Soft coral  ( Lobophytum sp ) washed ashore

All images were taken on the western portion of the Island using the Canon 70d.

Have a great day!

 

Using the Light & Motion Sola red light feature to document the marine life of Okinawa

I have been using the Light & Motion Sola series underwater lights for over two years now. They are the most reliable lights I have ever used underwater. The Sola photo series 800 and 1200 offer a red light feature. This feature enables the user to photograph the marine life without disturbing them. Most marine animals do not see or react to the red light.

I decided to put the Sola red light to the test on some marine subjects. I first setup a small studio saltwater aquarium to place the specimens in.

Aquarium setup - Documenting the Marine Life of Okinawa

Aquarium setup – Meet Your Neighbours Project

I wanted to photograph some marine gastropods with their shell and body showing. I first tried using white light, but they immediately retreated back into their shell.  As soon as I turned on the red light the marine snails crawled around as if it was nighttime. This red light feature allowed me to get the documentation photograph that I planned.

Cowrie shells are one of many beautiful marine animals found in Okinawa. Photographing the animals on white isolate the subject without any distractions.  

Chinese cowrie ( Ovatipsa chinensis )

Chinese cowrie ( Ovatipsa chinensis )

The animals are handled with care and then released back into the the environment without harm. The Images are used for conversation awareness and educational purposes.

 

Teres cowrie shell ( Blasicrura teres pellucens )

Teres cowrie shell ( Blasicrura teres pellucens )

I usually use the Sola Red light underwater. This is my underwater rig with the Light & Motion Sola 600 mounted on top of my Ikelite underwater housing. 

Underwater setup with sola 600

Underwater setup with sola 600

Learn more about the Light & Motion Sola series.   http://www.lightandmotion.com/choose-your-light/sola

Learn more about the Meet Your Neighbours Project.   http://meetyourneighbours.net/okinawa-neighbours/

Have a great day-