A quick postcard from Yamanouchi, near Nagano, Japan. We’re three days into a workshop with Martin Bailey, and have spent those three days photographing the Japanese Macaque, or Snow Monkeys. This is the only place in the world where the monkeys have taken to hot springs, and like the wildlife in the Antarctic, these monkeys are just completely indifferent to human presence. That indifference is a good thing because the monkeys are wildly popular and while I had a tremendous time photographing them, my experience was somewhat dampened by the aggressive behaviour of the some of the groups of photographers that show up here. It’s a lovely spot, though, and after a 30-minute walk through snowy forests, it’s a treat to spend time so close to such interesting animals.
We spent the last couple nights in traditional accommodations, eating delicious food, drinking abundant sake, and enjoying the beautiful natural hot springs baths. By the time I post this we’ll be back in Tokyo and readying for an inhumanely early flight to Hokkaido in the morning. For the next 9 days or so we’ll be photographing sea eagles, swans, cranes, and the beautiful landscapes of this northern Japanese island. And shivering our asses off: the mornings have been -30C lately in Hokkaido.