Favourite Photos – Japan’s Winter Wildlife

 

Bushido

There is something very special about Japan. It’s hard to put your finger on what it is exactly but I think it has something to do with Bushido. Bushido is the Samurai code of conduct. To many it is the soul of Japan. It’s about personal values – honour, politeness, respect, benevolence and sincerity – characteristics that exude in the people and, seemingly, the wildlife.

And wildlife is abundant, especially on the northern-most Island, Hokkaido, and especially, it seems, in the harsh winter months. From the unique hot-tubbing macaques in Jigokudani to the graceful Whooper swans on Lake Kussharo, the dancing cranes in Kushiro and the critically endangered Steller’s sea eagles in the far north of Hokkaido, even in deepest mid-winter, there is always plenty to photograph.

 


The story is in the essence

Photographing in the discipline of Hand | Eye | Heart means looking beneath the surface, beyond literality to the story within – the essence of your subjects. The courtship rituals of red-crowned cranes is a lovers’ dance – sensual and erotic. The beauty of a whooper swan is more than feather deep. It’s found in the values of grace and serenity. And the real story of the hot-tubbing macaques is not the quirkiness of the situation but the plight of survival in extremis, seen so prominently in their soulful eyes. Sensuality, gracefulness, serenity, sorrow … these are our subjects, our stories. They are what turn a snapshot into art.


Equipment

Camera: Fujifilm X-T2
Lenses: Fujinon XF 100-400mm, XF 50-140mm and XF 16-55mm