Ishigaki Island – 石垣島

"My Country" | RX1 | 1/80s f/2.8 ISO320 35mm

Though I've been fortunate enough to visit Okinawa numerous times, I've spent most of that time on the main island; Okinawa Honto. To see what else the prefecture has to offer, we decided to stay on nearby Ishigaki-jima,

A7R & FE55F18ZA | 1/125s f/8.0 ISO100 55mm

Though Ishigaki city itself is like many a small city in Japan (rather built up), we ventured north along the coastal roads, and were surprised at the fantastic landscape presented before our eyes.

A7R & FE55F18ZA | 1/1000s f/5.6 ISO500 55mm 

The sun is strong, and very bright. The sky is a deep blue, and the ocean shifts from blue to green with the gentle sea breeze. There are miniature "mountains" all across the island; proof of its volcanic origins.

A7R | 1/400s ISO160 80mm 

Rainy season is basically over in Okinawa, but there is still extremely low cloud, and the occasional shower. It's extremely humid, and care must be taken with all electronics, and of course, the lenses.

This humidity makes for a very lush climate. the numerous rivers are home to lush mangroves, meandering through the varied landscape to the sea shore. Crabs and mud-skippers are in abundance.

A7R & Tamron 90mm Macro | 1/640s ISO640 90mm 

Turning inland, one will see hundreds of species of butterfly, floating around with the sea breeze.

A7R | 1/100s ISO100 80mm 

There are butterflies almost everywhere. There's nothing like nature in action, to hone one's manual focussing skills.

A7R | 1/400s ISO100 80mm

In this photo, I removed the lens from the camera in order to focus closely. That's the reason for the strange colours, lack of contrast, and blow-out at the top of the frame.

A7R | 1/400s ISO250 80mm

I drove the excellent Toyota Aqua (hybrid) car around the island, and thoroughly enjoyed it to the point where I considered buying one in the future - but they are not yet released in the UK. Having a car on this island is basically essential. There are (expensive) taxis and an infrequent bus, but the freedom of the car is almost the only way to do it. We tend to avoid tourist spots where possible, for obvious reasons, but sometimes it's a necessary evil...

The benefit of course, is that one can eat more ice-cream in tourist spots, such as Kabira-bay in the shot above. We didn't fancy cramming into a glass-bottomed boat – we'll go snorkelling in peace elsewhere.