Some photographers stay away from cold landscapes such as winter in Hokkaido and remain in warmer locations for birding photography or landscape photography, but not me. I feel that if you limit the amount of landscapes and birding photo ops by leaving out the picturesque, snowy winter scenery, you’re leaving too much out of the picture. Hokkaido birding tours and minimalists landscape photo tours are filled with beauty and spectacular wildlife photography and landscapes all year-round, but the winter makes the photo ops all the more spectacular! Steller’s Sea Eagles, Shima Enaga, Whooper Swans, Red-Crowned Cranes, and majestic Blakiston’s Fish Owls. The First Nation’s People of Japan, the Ainu, believe that spirit and energy reside in everything. And the Ainu believe that the Blakiston’s Fish Owl protects villages and keeps away malevolent spirits. The Blakiston's Fish Owl is an elusive and endangered species during a Hokkaido photo tour unless you know where to spot the fish owl, you will have extreme difficulty spotting one since they are predominantly nocturnal hunters. To successfully spot and photograph one, you will need on your travels to Hokkaido, Japan, either someone who is a local Hokkaido birder or someone who has spent many years in Hokkaido scouting and leading Hokkaido birding tours and knows the wildlife and landscapes. You’re in luck; I have both qualifications, and I am happy to help you find and photograph Blakiston’s Fish Owls among other birding photo ops while in Hokkaido. Joining one of my photo tours, you know you are going to have the very best opportunities to photograph all wildlife such as Ezo Red Foxes, Eurasian Red Squirrel, and the largest herd of Ezo Sika Deer on the planet, and perhaps even the whales and sea otters will even make an appearance.
The landscapes of Hokkaido that the wildlife call home also provide ample shutter chances. Due to subarctic temperatures on Japan's most northern island Hokkaido and the glistening snow, you have the opportunity to photograph what is commonly called ‘diamond dust,’ when the light catches the shimmer of the crystalline snow, you will have pictures that shine with the magic that only a Japanese winter can provide, but the natural phenomena do not end there. ‘Sun pillars’ and ‘light pillars' can also be seen when the ice crystals are drifting in the atmosphere above the frozen plains of Hokkaido. A final treat are the ‘snow rollers’ when chunks of snow are blown along the ground by the wind, etching a message into the pristine snow for you to commemorate with your camera. I am waiting for you to book your tour and join me for your trip of a lifetime!