When people imagine snow monkeys, they think of them on Winter Photo Tours more than Spring Photo Tours, but snow monkeys are active at the hot spring during the springtime, they are just not drawn to soak for a long time in the replenishing baths of the hot spring. The snow monkeys are by nature social animals, so they tend to take quick swims in the warm waters or play around the pools with other young snow monkeys.
At their core, the snow monkeys are wild animals, and when photographing them, they need to be treated as unpredictable subjects. As your Photography Workshop Leader, I have visited this location more times than I can count, and each time my experience has been different. Some parts of the snow monkey experience cannot be controlled, but another Blain Harasymiw Photography Guide or I make a point of thoroughly researching the weather and how it will affect issues such as lighting for the following day. I will also advise you about your camera gear and your camera settings. Over the years, I have found the perfect balance of camera gear to carry up to the snow monkies, and I am equally happy to make suggestions about which lenses and gear you should bring for your snow monkey experience.
On one occasion, while leading a Japan Photo Tour to Yaen-Koen Snow Monkey Park, I was advising a client on the zoom lens effect when a baby snow monkey slowly crept up to see what all the ruckus was about. I can’t say for sure how long the baby monkey was there before I noticed him, but before the mother could come and collect him, he was the subject of many of my photographs as well as the nearby client. These occasions are rare, but there’s always a little magic involved when visiting the snow monkeys.
For the upcoming year, there are only two spots left on the Cherry Blossom Photo Tour which also includes two days with the famous snow monkeys. If the first day doesn’t yield the images you were hoping for, then the second day will be sure to get your some once in a lifetime photos.