We're back from Japan now and getting ready for eagles in Alaska next week. Our trip this year was a great success, most of all, thanks to our group, and a big thank you to them for making it all possible.
Snow is the most important factor in Japan and we had one day of falling snow for monkey photography and a big snow storm for the cranes.
As always, we started the tour at the snow monkey park, and even though, the snow level this year was way below normal, our visit was timed perfectly for one amazing day with falling snow. The snow monkeys, like all the other subjects we photograph in Japan, are completely habituated and comfortable around people. There were tons of opportunities for monkey grooming, playing, cuddling, and of course lots of stream jumping to keep everyone busy burning through cards.
Our next stop was Rausu on the Northern coast of Hokkaido, where the pack ice showed up very early this year, but south winds kept the ice away from shore and near the Kuril islands. In fact, we were so close to the Russian Kunashir island, that T-Mobile sent me text message welcoming me to Russia.
After an eagle shoot each morning we would spend the rest of the day scouting for the fox, and this year we were spotted more than 10 a day.
The Hokkaido fox are are out during the day in the mating season, and they are so habituated, they will often come close to investigate photographers, and seem to enjoy hanging around us to be photographed.
The last days of our tour were spent photographing the Japanese red-crowned cranes. The flight action this year was just awesome, some in our group managed to shoot hundreds of gigs in a single morning, thats Gigabytes not Megabytes.
This year we had a surprise visitor join our group from Asia, a Eurasian crane, this medium sized dark gray crane is a very rare to Hokkaido. This individual had very fresh feathers.
There are more and more tour operators starting to offer tours to Japan but none offer what our tour offers; exclusive ultra small group size, the most shoot per tour, 20 shoots over 14 days, 10 years of experience leading tours in Japan, single accommodations without an extra fee, and an exclusive high-end lens factory tour!
This year our tour group visited high-end lens manufacturer Cosina's headquarters and factory near Nagano. If you are not familiar with Cosina, they build Zeiss lenses (since 2006) and the famous Voigtländer lenses to name just two of the brands they manufacture.
If you would like to join us in 2019, let me know right away, as there is only one opening as of today. For more information visit our Japan tour page: http://www.robertotoole.com/japan-tour/
Hope you can join us in Japan in 2019!