Japan Diary – Day 11

Japan Diary – Day 11

So… The last day of photography has arrived and we are spending it once again with the monkeys of Hell Valley. The weather forecast predicted some snow and we were definitely hoping that the meteorologists got it right this time. Snow and snow monkeys kind of go together… In the morning there was a tiny amount of fresh powder on the ground but nothing substantial. It was a bit colder today so we had great hopes. In the early afternoon the snowfall arrived! Short but very intense at times. This obviously gave us different opportunities than the day before which is always a pleasure. I managed a variety of different shots during the course of the day.

As the day before we left around 5 and made our way back to the hotel to pack our things for the long day of travelling tomorrow – A few hour of trains, 12 hours wait at the airport and then a 17 hour flight to Malta via Frankfurt.

The photographic adventure has once again come to an end. Thank you for reading :)


Japan Diary – Day 9 and 10

Day 9 on this trip with @wild nature fotoresor was purely a travel day. First, we flew from Kusshiro on Hokkaido to Tokyo. Once in Tokyo we grabbed a few trains to finally end up in Yudanaka, close to Nagano. A few minutes drive from Yudanaka and you arrive in Jigokudani or “Hell Valley”. It is called Hell Valley due to the thermal activity in the valley with steam and hot water forcing its way out from underneath, resulting in a “hellish” looking valley.

But I am not there for the thermal activity. Hell no! (pun intended…) The valley is also known for the wild Japanese macaques – also known as Snow monkeys. That! is why I am there :) The monkeys are fed by the locals and also like to take hot baths in the thermal pools in the area.

No visitors are let in until 9AM so a relaxed morning for once with proper breakfast at the hotel etc. The only way to reach the area where the monkeys like to hang around is through a 1.6km track through the forrest. Once there its more like heaven than hell for me :) Monkeys everywhere – In the pools, around your feet, in the slopes, in the narrow river and anywhere else you can imagine. Paradise…

As a photographer, at least for me, these situations can be a bit overwhelming and with the excitement it can be quite hard to concentrate on the job at hand. I find it hard to be creative. This has happened to me before and in some weird way I almost loose motivation to photograph. After a whole day shooting, I left the valley less than satisfied – photographically speaking. This is not due to anything else than my own way of dealing with these kind of situations. To myself I sometimes call this an orientation day. You get to know a new subject and a new area. Normally, the day after, you can put the excitement to the side and concentrate more on the photography and try to be more creative. I am really looking forward to tomorrow. The forecast is showing snow which would make me even more happy :)


Japan Diary – Day 8

Japan Diary – Day 8

Back in Kushiro and the Japanese cranes. Not the best of conditions with sunshine and not so many cranes. Sunshine and white birds doesn’t really go well together for photography. Sunshine in general is not the best for us to be honest. We want clouds!!! But you have to work with what you have and adapt to the conditions or go home. I decided to work with a type of photography that I personally love. Abstracts… For the technique I use the sunshine doesn’t really matter since i am not that interested in getting the fine details of the feathers etc etc. So day 8 was used to create wildlife art :)


Japan Diary – Day 7

Japan Diary – Day 7

Last morning with the eagles today. Yet another set of conditions… The pack-ice has moved too much eastwards, towards the Russian controlled Kuril Islands where the boats cannot go. This means that the eagles stay mostly around the harbour area. So totally different set of images again. The crew of the boats worked hard to get the eagles to dive for fish or to come close to the boat, but as always with nature you never know whats going to happen. Today the eagles seemed a bit laid back. Maybe not hungry enough after a few days of intense feeding in the pack-ice. Who knows… After some work we managed to get quite a few diving for the fish. Although, not as intense as previous mornings, in the end we walked away with quite a few images of the eagles after all.

After a lovely lunch with Japanese BBQ we packed all the gear in the cars again for the 3 hours drive back to Kushiro where we have another day with the lovely cranes before we head back to Tokyo and the Snow Monkeys.


Japan Diary – Day 6

Japan Diary – Day 6

So… An early wake-up again… 04:15. Eagles on the schedule once more. Yesterday we had “optimal” conditions with no clouds and a beautiful sunrise. The conditions this morning were different – cloudy and foggy. Some would claim the conditions were not good but i see them as different with new opportunities. Different conditions pose different challenges and opportunities which will result in different images. Useless having the same images as the morning before in my humble opinion.

The rest of the day we didn’t have any photography planned. We needed a few extra hours of rest and to go through the images of previous days. I find it useful to study the work from the days before to see what I can do differently in the coming sessions, study settings of successful shots to replicate them in similar situations etc etc.