A Golden Eagle stares straight down the lens at the photographer photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

Sean reports in from our Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

Last month saw me heading off to the mountains of the Sierra Morena in Spain leading the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday.

I knew from the itinerary that had been planned that it was going to be an amazing week of photography with some great sightings & photo opportunities. After a very early flight, the group & I arrived in Spain meeting up with the local guides. After a couple of hours on the road we arrived in the local town of Adamuz, which would be our base & home for the duration of the trip. The town is situated in beautiful natural surroundings & is a very picturesque location. Due to the time we arrived, we decided we were going to explore a few wildlife locations that we would be working on over the coming days. It was a great afternoon exploring our surroundings & getting some ideas for the images to come.

The next day we split into two groups to keep noise etc to a minimum whilst working from the hides. A couple of us spent the day in the Golden Eagle hide.

A magnificent Golden Eagle photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday         A Golden Eagle peers around a log photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

We were greeted with some beautiful views across the Sierra Morena mountain ranges. Hide photography can sometimes be a game of patience, so having some great scenery to enjoy whilst waiting for your target species to appear was an added bonus. Our patience was rewarded when we got our first glimpse of a shadow in front of the hide. I knew a pair of Golden Eagles were above us circling around but I couldnʼt see them from where I was positioned. It didnʼt take long though before the female came in & landed just 10 metres from us! After 20 minutes or so of the female enjoying her rabbit feast, she called to the male to bring him down to eat as well. By this time it was sunset & we were rewarded with some really beautiful Mediterranean light. The rest of the week included spending various hours in numerous hides including, the Imperial Eagle, Kestrel & Hoopoe hide to name just a few.

The Hoopoe hide was fantastic & resulted in some great images of this fascinating bird.

One of Spain's beautiful hoopoes returns to the nest having captured a grub for it's nesting young photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

A hoopoe perches with a recently caught grub photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

The hide was situated metres from the bird’s nest where both the male & female were constantly bringing back food to the nest. It was amazing to see how hard these little birds work to find food to bring up their young.

The group was also rewarded with some shots of an Ocellated Lizard that just happened to end up climbing on the same tree as the Hoopoe nest. That’s what I love about wildlife photography, you just never know what is going to happen!

An Ocellated Lizard photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

The highlight of the week for me was when I witnessed the Golden Eagle & Red Fox fighting. I could almost feel the tension between the two animals through the lens. I knew I was about to witness something extraordinary. I scrambled for my camera. To my frustration, I was over-lensed with a 400mm attached. I knew there wouldn’t be time to switch lenses & just accepted that I would get to witness something spectacular without being able to document it. The ensuing battle between them was brutal. I felt so lucky to have witnessed it but couldnʼt help feeling the disappointment of not being able to photograph it! At the end of the week, the fight was still playing on in my mind. So some of the group decided to return to the same Golden Eagle hide to try our luck & see if we could witness something similar again & hopefully this time, photograph it.

A Golden Eagle comes in to land photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

Much to everyone’s delight, the eagle came in & within moments, the fox returned. I wasnʼt going to be caught short again & was prepared with a shorter lens. They fought once again, literally less than ten metres from the hide. Thankfully this time I was able to capture the crazy battle.

A Golden Eagle & Red Fox battling over food photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

The battle of the Red Fox & the Golden Eagle photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

A lot of wildlife photography requires being in the right place at the right time & sometimes a considerable amount of luck.

This Red Fox was a regular visitor to the Golden Eagle hides, always seeking out food photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

The Red Fox which was a regular visitor to the Golden Eagle hides photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

I had my fair share of luck that evening & I was delighted to have witnessed such an amazing scene. For me, it shows the boldness & bravery of the Red Fox & its determination to win the battle with the Eagle. I love the way you can clearly see the size difference between the eagle & the fox. The images for me portray the harsh reality of our wildlife & risk that each animal will take for food & territory.

A Golden Eagle stares straight down the lens at the photographer photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

A Golden Eagle perches whilst bathed in the golden light of the setting sun photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

I cannot wait for what the 2018 trips have to offer. If you would like to join me, I am leading both the Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday & immediately afterwards, the Spanish Birds of Calera Photography Holiday, meaning that you can join both & spend two weeks in Spain photographing some of the best bird species that I have ever seen!

A kestrel flies back to it's nest within a derelict Spanish farm building photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

JOIN THE NATURESLENS Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday IN 2018

For 2018, NaturesLens have already planned a duo of Spanish Bird Photography Holidays that can be joined together to form one seamless opportunity to add a plethora of photos of the birds of Spain to your portfolio – or you can attend the separate events individually – the two events are the Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday followed the next week by Spanish Birds of Calera Photography Holiday.

Starting with the Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday during mid-April – specifically starting on April 13 & ending on April 20, 2018 – to be led by Sean Weekly for NaturesLens, then the amazing Spanish Birds of Calera Photography Holiday starts on April 21 & ends on April 29, 2018, this trip is being led by … Sean Weekly … so you’ll have his company, photographic tuition & guidance for the whole fortnight.

Dotty looks back, she is one of the new mothers of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve captured during the NaturesLens Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday

Jayne reports back from our Indian Wildlife Photography Holidays

My first visit to India was in April 2016, also with NaturesLens, & I absolutely fell in love with the place, we had some awesome tiger sightings in Tadoba, but let’s just say I came away with some ‘unfinished business’ so it didn’t take much persuading to book myself onto the Indian Wildlife Photography Holidays that NaturesLens had arranged for May 2017.

In the weeks prior to our trip there had been many posts on social media showing some amazing tiger sightings so the anticipation grew, & Bandhavgarh didn’t disappoint. It has to be said, however, that nothing is guaranteed – we heard of a few people who had seen very little but NaturesLens put everything in place to give their clients the absolute best opportunity, securing top class drivers & guides, who, over our time in Bandhavgarh, became part of our ‘Team Tiger’ group.

When I refer to ‘sightings’ I really mean ‘photographic opportunities’ not a shadow in the bush which is hardly distinguishable or a bum shot! When I say ‘photographic opportunity’, I mean time to capture an image of quality that meets my own personal standards & that I would be happy for others to see. In total, over the week the group encountered 17 different tigers, some shared moments with numerous other folk & some very special exclusive moments with no one else around other than one Gypsy vehicle – just you & the tiger – those really are moments to treasure.

This image is very much one shared with practically everyone else on safari. For several days Kankatti & her cubs visited the waterhole at pretty much the same time each day so naturally, everybody gathered to witness this special event. We sat & we waited for over an hour in the blazing heat – about 45˚ – & then suddenly the sound of camera shutters. I couldn’t see anything to start with thanks to a beautiful growth of bamboo but then the family appeared, walking around the waterhole & bathing in just the perfect spot.

Kankatti and cubs a regular sight in Bandhvagarh in May 2017 captured during the NaturesLens Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday

What an absolute treat!

A somewhat quieter moment – just two Gypsy vehicles, both part of our NaturesLens group & the beautiful Banbehi chilling on a cool rock. It was a fabulous photographic setting but with two main challenges. Firstly, she was laying on the rock facing the wrong direction & additionally, that one great big long piece of grass right across her head – oh, the joys of wildlife photography! A waiting game commenced but sitting watching a tiger just a few feet away from you is such a delight it really didn’t matter how long we had to wait. Eventually, she rewarded us & turned her head & with the grass swaying in the breeze I was able to capture a clear shot.

 

Banbehi one of the new mothers of Bandhavgarh captured during the NaturesLens Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday

And so to one of those precious moments when it’s just you & the tiger … As you drive around Bandhavgarh you see many vehicles with three, four or even six photographers jostling for position. With NaturesLens there are never more than two clients in each Gypsy, along with the driver & naturalist. On this occasion, I was with Pui Hang, one of the founders of NaturesLens. It was early morning, the sun was just rising, the light was beautiful & as we turned a corner we suddenly saw a tiger ‘disappear’ into a side track. As we pulled up alongside the ‘no access’ track she was walking away from us. Cameras at the ready we both sat repeating the mantra ‘turn around, turn around, please turn around’ & she did, several times as she slowly meandered down the track. This was my first meeting with Dotty & it was truly perfect.

Dotty looks back, she is one of the new mothers of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve captured during the NaturesLens Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday

Dotty turned out to be pretty special for me as she once again provided one of those ‘precious moments’ – this time fellow traveller, Peter … we’d been spending some time photographing the langur monkeys & were somewhat behind the rest of the group. Our driver decided to stop at a waterhole to give us the opportunity to photograph some of the birds in the area & as he stood to look around he spotted, at the bottom of the steep bank, the head of a tiger right in the very corner & hardly visible. What a spot … it was Dotty again. We watched as she walked around the waterhole & took a leisurely mud bath. She wandered through the meadow – our driver knew exactly where she would be heading & drove around to a different point of the track. Sure enough Dotty came straight to where we had stopped, emerging through the long grass, this time in the late afternoon sun. Another perfect moment!

Dotty cools herself in one of the waterholes of Bandhavgarh captured during the NaturesLens Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday

Dotty walks out of the grassland of one of Bandhavgarh's meadows captured during the NaturesLens Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday

Our time at Bandhavgarh was pretty special. A great group of people who are now dear friends, super accommodation, excellent food & superb driversall down to NaturesLens & the detailed planning that goes into each & every of their photography holidays.

And finally … back to the beginning … anyone who has been to India, particularly Bandhavgarh, will no doubt tell you with extremely fond memories where they saw their first tiger … the Rajbehra cubs at the waterhole were mine … I watched them from a distance playing on a small island on the other side of the waterhole. We were close to the end of the session & the number of vehicles was starting to thin out. One of the cubs started to walk around the edge of the waterhole, took a quick dip & then came across the ‘manmade’ dam walking within a few feet of us … what an amazing start to the trip!

One of the Rajbehra male cubs captured during the NaturesLens Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday

And so onto Gir, the only natural habitat of the Asiatic Lion & the second of the two Indian Wildlife Photography Holidays that NaturesLens designed that could be joined into one seamless whole … it has to be said, spotting & subsequently capturing images of these magnificent lions is a very different experience to spotting tigers but when you do wow, & double wow. But you need to bide your time, Gir is a slower pace than Bandhavgarh, but the rewards are just as good, if not better in a different way than those sightings of the Tigers!

Our accommodation was basic but very spacious & extremely comfortable with three of the most important factors – hot shower, lots – & I really do mean lots – of absolutely delicious food & lovely, friendly & helpful staff.

We had been in the park a couple of days before our first encounter but boy was it worth the wait. Our guide told us to get our cameras ready …. quote ‘the lions are going to cross the road & you’ll get one chance’. Then shivers went down the spine as we heard a roar & four lions appeared through the bush … but they didn’t cross the road, instead, they lay down at the side & stayed there for a good 30 minutes in the glorious evening light. As I said wow, & double wow!!!!

One of Gir's magnificent Asiatic Lions captured during the NaturesLens Asiatic Lions of Gir Photography Holiday

Totally relaxed in our presence, one of Gir's magnificent Asiatic Lions captured during the NaturesLens Asiatic Lions of Gir Photography Holiday

Unlike the tiger parks in India where all the tigers are named, or at least numbered, the lions have no name or identification. Their territory is somewhat larger than that of tigers but, with the help of local trackers, the guides & drivers get a good feel for where the lions might be.

As always NaturesLens ensured we had the best drivers & guides & thanks to them we were privileged to have a number of amazing sightings. With pretty large daily camera fees – yes, here you have to pay to take a camera into the park – I chose only to take the 1DX2 with the 500mm lens expecting to see the lions from a distance … but it was not to be so! The majority of sightings were pretty close & as a result, I got some pretty awesome portrait shots.

A beautiful portrait of one of Gir's Asiatic Lions captured during the NaturesLens Asiatic Lions of Gir Photography Holiday

The lions would always appear in groups, generally of about four to six but rarely lay together. It was pretty special therefore to see these two enjoying a bit of time together with the tail echoing the shape of the trees behind!!

A pair of Gir's magnificent Asiatic Lions relax by the forest edge captured during the NaturesLens Asiatic Lions of Gir Photography Holiday

Totally relaxed in our presence, another of Gir's magnificent Asiatic Lions captured during the NaturesLens Asiatic Lions of Gir Photography Holiday

In addition to the Tigers of Bandhavgarh & the Lions of Gir, there is a lot of other amazing wildlife in India.

The Langur Monkeys are a real favourite – so many images to choose from but I love this one chilling amongst the green foliage & the gorgeous spotted owlet playing peek-a-boo!!

One of Bandhavgarh's Langur Monkeys captured during the NaturesLens Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday

A Spotted Owlet peeks at us from one of the trees in Gir Tiger Reserve captured during the NaturesLens Asiatic Lions of Gir Photography Holiday

Some of the birdlife is simply stunning. Here we have the Indian roller, a long tail shrike, Oriental white eye & Tickell’s blue flycatcher, & the stunning peacock, so lovely to see in its natural habitat.

The splendour of India's peacocks captured during the NaturesLens Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday

A long tail shrike photographed in one of Bandhavgarh;s meadows captured during the NaturesLens Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday

An Indian Roller found within Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve captured during the NaturesLens Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday

Gir too has a wide variety of birdlife captured during the NaturesLens Asiatic Lions of Gir Photography Holiday

Gir too has plenty of birdlife captured during the NaturesLens Asiatic Lions of Gir Photography Holiday

What a privilege to see the stunning leopard, an adorable Jackal family & the elusive Jungle Cat

A Jackal family photographed within the Asiatic Lion reserve captured during the NaturesLens Asiatic Lions of Gir Photography Holiday

Gir supports a moderately sized population of leopards that many safari drive eventually rewarded us with captured during the NaturesLens Asiatic Lions of Gir Photography Holiday

From the largets cat to one of the smallest, Bandhavgarh has them all, the jungle cat captured during the NaturesLens Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday

I started off by saying I had ‘unfinished business’ following India 2016. Is it now finished? Never! I achieved more than I ever hoped for & got shots I could only ever dream of before … but that just spurs the desire for more. Bring on India 2018 – I can’t wait!

Join the NaturesLens Indian Wildlife Photography Holidays in 2018

For 2018, we have already planned a trio of Photography Holidays that can be joined together to form one seamless journey through India, that will be amazing – or you can attend the separate events individually or perhaps join the Lions of Gir & the Tigers of Bandhavgarh into a two week trip that echoes the trips held in 2017 with Jayne.

Starting with the Tigers & Leopards of Kabini at the end of March – specifically March 30th – April 7th – to be led by John Rowell for NaturesLens, then the amazing Lions of Gir follows on the dates of April 7th – 13th, this trip is being led by myself & then the trio of trips ends with the Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday between the dates of April 13th – April 22nd.

One Of The Grizzly Bears Emerges From The Fishing Branch River Covered In Ice Typical Of The Kind Of Image That May Be Captured On The Ice Bears Of The Yukon Photographic Holiday

New dates for the Grizzlies of Bear Cave Mountain

We have been able to get some dates for a return to the Ice Bears of the Yukon, this is the photography holiday for the Grizzlies of Bear Cave Mountain – our original trip takes place during 2018, & sold out instantly; demand for places at Grizzly Bear Photography at Bear Cave Mountain is very high as only around 24 people get to spend time at the location each year!

An Atmospheric Image Of A Bear In The Landscape Of Fishing Branch River Typical Of The Kind Of Image That May Be Captured On The NaturesLens Ice Grizzlies of Bear Cave Mountain Photographic Holiday

We have secured dates for the October 15 – 26 sessions of Ice Grizzly Photography of the 2020 season, this is late in the season & should be very cold, therefore presenting opportunities to capture images of the Grizzly Bears clad in ice when they emerge from the waters of the Fishing Branch river. The dates for this very special wildlife photography holiday are October 15 – 26, 2020.

Our time spent in the area of Bear Cave Mountain is a rare privilege, as the region is sacred to the Vuntut Gwitchin community who reside in the area; these First Nation peoples place a great ancestral & cultural value on the land & the environment within the park. The vast area was set aside by the government & local communities as an area for preservation, & the opportunity to capture its rarely disturbed wildlife population on camera is not one to miss out on. A guide with in-depth knowledge of the wildlife & culture of Fishing Branch river will assist our group throughout the experience to aid you in obtaining fantastic images that truly convey the magic of this exceptional location & the wildlife that calls it home.

An Ice Covered Grizzly Bear Of The Yukon Typical Of The Kind Of Image That May Be Captured On The NaturesLens Ice Grizzlies of Bear Cave Mountain Photographic Holiday

We only have 3 places for 2020; if you would like to attend, then we require a deposit of £1899 to hold your place – the total cost of the trip is £9499 per person, with an itinerary as indicated below.

ICE GRIZZLIES OF BEAR CAVE MOUNTAIN PROPOSED ITINERARY

  • 15-Oct-20 – Travel to Whitehorse – overnight Whitehorse
  • 16-Oct-20 – Travel to Dawson City – overnight Dawson City
  • 17-Oct-20 – Travel to Fishing Branch River – Ice Grizzly Photography
  • 18-Oct-20 – Ice Grizzly Photography
  • 19-Oct-20 – Ice Grizzly Photography
  • 20-Oct-20 – Ice Grizzly Photography
  • 21-Oct-20 – Ice Grizzly Photography
  • 22-Oct-20 – Ice Grizzly Photography
  • 23-Oct-20 – Ice Grizzly Photography
  • 24-Oct-20 – Travel to Dawson City
  • 25-Oct-20 – Travel to Whitehorse
  • 26-Oct-20 – Travel to UK

All accommodation & meals at the camp are all included to make things as straightforward & enjoyable for you as possible. Also included are the internal transfers by helicopter to & from our river-side base, to ensure that the whole experience is truly enjoyable & you are able to focus on capturing stunning photographs to add to your wildlife portfolio. Group numbers are strictly limited, so book your place now to avoid missing out!

One Of The Grizzly Bears Emerges From The Fishing Branch River Covered In Ice Typical Of The Kind Of Image That May Be Captured On The Ice Grizzlies of Bear Cave Mountain Photographic Holiday

A truly beautiful scene of the dalmatian pelicans with the mist rising behind them off the lake photographed during the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Holiday

A different angle on Kerkini’s Dalmatian Pelicans

Derek has been on several photography tours & trips now with NaturesLens – you can see his images of Florida’s Blue Cypress Lake Ospreys elsewhere on our blog – & right now, he is in Calera, photographing some of the best birds that the Spanish Plains have to offer; however, in January, he joined Dan’s group & flew out to Thessaloniki, the intent of the trip, to capture some images to add to his portfolio of Kerkini’s Dalmatian Pelicans.

Like the first group, the second group found Kerkini wrapped in the cold embrace of winter conditions that had not been experienced for years; parts of the lake remained frozen whilst they were there, gradually thawing towards the end of their trip, although the normal boat trip could not head out onto the lake, our local guides took the various group members out on small fishermen’s boats instead.

A truly beautiful scene of the dalmatian pelicans with the mist rising behind them off the lake photographed during the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Holiday

So what did Derek think about Kerkini & it’s pelicans? … ‘Well, what can I say – amazing! I have looked several times over the years & thought the pelicans are not for me. How wrong can you be? They are probably one of the most amazing birds I have photographed – character, attitude & style are just a few of the adjectives I would use to describe these birds.’

On the ice of a frozen Lake Kerkini, the pelicans waited to be fed by the fishermen photographed during the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography HolidayA dalmatian pelican demonstrably ready for a close encounter photographed during the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Holiday One of the Kerkini Pelicans takes time to preen that impressive plummage photographed during the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography HolidayWith the ice gone melting, the pelicans resumed their normal cycle of behaviour, wanting to be fed at the shoreline photographed during the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography HolidayWaiting for the shoreline feed, the pelicans are as expectant of action as the photographers photographed during the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Holiday

I particularly like the close-up images of the Dalmatian Pelicans that Derek captured, as he noted, the birds each have their own personality, capable of looking stern, amusing or quizzical, the one guarantee is that an eye contact image with the pelican filling the frame from Kerkini is compelling.

One of the dalmatian pelicans shows the others how to grab the fish photographed during the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography HolidayCatching fish as the others apparently watch the demonstration by one of the pelicans of Kerkini photographed during the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography HolidayA group of pelicans move as one to attempt to catch a fish photographed during the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography HolidayCatching fish is truly a competitive sport amongst the pelicans of Lake Kerkini photographed during the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography HolidayAnother set of those special conditions that you hope for at Lake Kerkini, Pelicans & mist make for dreamy sequences photographed during the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Holiday
During one morning, the group experienced the most wonderful conditions, with a delicate mist rising off the lake, & the pelicans, you can see that image at the head of this blog posting; on another with the ice still close to the shoreline, the pelicans stood expectantly waiting for fish from the fishermen of the area, with whom they have formed a relationship going back over many years. The fishermen feeding the pelicans during wintertime has led to a healthier ecosystem; the presence of the pelicans throughout the year, without them migrating, helps to keep the cormorant population at a reasonable level, which in turn balances and maintains the lake’s delicate ecosystem.

You can see a few more of Derek’s Kerkini Pelican images on his personal website.

DO YOU WANT TO CAPTURE YOUR OWN IMAGES OF KERKINI’S DALMATIAN PELICANS?

We have a single space remaining on the first trip of 2018, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of the Dalmatian Pelicans on Lake Kerkini for yourself; the photography holiday costs £1049, this price excludes air travel to Thessaloniki itself – all ground transportation from Thessaloniki & back, & to & from shoot locations, accommodation & guidance/tuition is included, the dates for the Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini Photography Holiday are January 11 – 15, 2018.

To hold a place on the trip, we only require a 20% deposit from you, with the balance due 12 weeks prior to the trip taking place.

A White Tailed Sea Eagle stood on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Winter Wildlife in Japan – Stellers & White Tailed Sea Eagles

Stellers & White Tailed Sea Eagles – more aspects of Winter Wildlife in Japan

The fourth & last instalment of Nicola’s images are dedicated to the magnificent Steller’s & White Tailed Sea Eagles. Our winter wildlife in Japan tour includes 6 boat trips to photograph these fantastic raptors. Each day, the group faced different weather conditions which presented them with different photographic opportunities. Sometimes, the eagles came so close that the group were almost over-lensed with intermediate zoom lenses!

A visit to one of several frozen lake in the area is always included in our tour, & this year yielded some great images of the eagles ‘striding’ across the ice.

A Stellers Sea Eagle sweeps it's wings forward on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayOne of Hokkaido's White Tailed Sea Eagles photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayOne of Hokkaido's Steller Sea Eagles swoops for a fish photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

One of the White Tailed Sea Eagles swoops for a fish photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA White Tailed Sea Eagle lands on the Rausu pack ice photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

A White Tailed Sea Eagle stood on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA White Tailed Sea Eagle soars through the air above one of the feeding sites photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Nothing can prepare you for that incredible moment when you are amongst the ice floes with eagles all around. It is pretty common for our guests to finish each of the sessions feeling as though they have been in the gym, with arms that ache from non-stop shooting.

Many of our group came on the trip to fulfil a long awaited plan to see the Snow Monkeys; however, they left saying that the highlight of the trip was actually the boat trips to photograph the eagles. In Nicola’s own words “this was an amazing trip – lots of wildlife on hand, with lots of opportunities to take stunning images.”

A Stellers Sea Eagle strides across the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A juvenile White Tailed Sea Eagle having just landed on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A juvenile Stellers Sea Eagle eats fish whilst being pestered by a pair of crows photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH THE WINTER WILDLIFE IN JAPAN FOR YOURSELF?

With the 2018 trip full, we have opened up bookings for the 2019 trip, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of blakistons fish owl, red crowned crane, snow monkey, stellers sea eagle, ural owl, white tailed sea eagle, whooper swan & more in the wintery landscapes of Japan for yourself; the cost for a single traveller is £5749, with single occupancy accommodation throughout, no sharing & no single supplement!

To secure your place on this photographic tour, we require a 20% deposit – the balance will fall due on 16th November 2018 – we include all ground transportation within Japan, transport to & from shoot locations, dinners & breakfasts, accommodation, entrance fees, boat fees for six boat trips & guidance/tuition; the dates for the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Tour are February 9 – 22, 2018.

 

 

A solitary whooper swan swims in a thawed area of one of the Caldera Lakes of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Winter Wildlife in Japan – Whooper Swans & Foxes

Whooper Swans – the graceful aspect of Winter Wildlife in Japan

The Whooper Swans of Lake Kussharo are always a revelation to our guests. When one thinks of winter wildlife in Japan, the first thought is inevitably, Snow Monkeys, followed closely by Stellers’ Sea Eagles & Red Crowned Cranes. But people rarely think “I want to go there to photograph whooper swans” & who would blame them?

Take a look at Nicola’s images below. Such beautiful, elegant birds with plenty of opportunities to photograph them in flight, walking in the snow & sat on the lake with a backdrop of snow capped mountains. The possibilities are endless.

A Whooper Swan comes in to land on the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A bevy of whooper swans wander across the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA pair of whooper swans wander across the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA solitary whooper swan isolated within the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA bevy of whooper swans swimming in one of the thermal lakes found on Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A solitary whooper swan walks on the edge of one of the Caldera Lakes of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A duo of whooper swans clean themselves in the thawed area of one of the Caldera Lakes of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A solitary whooper swan swims in a thawed area of one of the Caldera Lakes of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A solitary whooper swan on the edge of one of the Caldera Lakes of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Red Fox – a frequently seen predator on Hokkaido

The stunning Red Fox is another highlight of our Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour. Looking magnificent in their winter coats, foxes are very common in Japan. They are not persecuted & therefore less nervous of humans which allows for some great encounters & photographic opportunities. They are also the subject of many Japanese folklore, the most common being that they are very intelligent, have long lives & magical powers.

One of the red foxes of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH WINTER WILDLIFE IN JAPAN FOR YOURSELF?

We have a couple of spaces remaining on our 2018 trip, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of blakistons fish owl, red crowned crane, snow monkey, stellers sea eagle, ural owl, white tailed sea eagle, whooper swan & more in the wintery landscapes of Japan for yourself; the cost for a single traveller is £5499, with single occupancy accommodation throughout, no sharing & no single supplement!

If you are a pair of travelling companions or a couple then you can share accommodation & book these two places for £5199 each instead of £5499! Quote JAPANPAIR in the referral code text box to have the discount applied to your booking – book now & hold your places with 20% deposit only!

To secure your place on this photographic tour, we require a 20% deposit – the balance will fall due on 17th November 2017 – we include all ground transportation within Japan, transport to & from shoot locations, dinners & breakfasts, accommodation, entrance fees, boat fees for six boat trips & guidance/tuition; the dates for the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Tour are February 10 – 23, 2018.

2018 Wildlife Photography Holiday Availability

Some of the NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays for 2018 are now running close to being full or have limited capacity remaining, if you would like to join any of the photography tours & trips noted below, then it may be wise to get a booking in sooner rather than later.

Greece’s Dalmatian Pelicans – the 2nd trip is full, & just two places remain available on the 1st wildlife photography holiday to join Sean in January 2018 to capture images of the awesome Dalmatian Pelicans on Lake Kerkiniwe now only have one place remaining on this trip.

A Dalmatian Pelican lands with little drama on the ice of a frozen Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday

Yellowstone’s Winter Wildlife – 2 places only remain available to join both Pui Hang & myself in January & February 2018 for some wonderful winter wildlife photography in Utah & Yellowstone.

Japan’s Winter Wildlife – there’s just 1 place available to join me during February 2018 in Tokyo & from there to travel around this most-enchanting of countries to photograph the awesome Winter Wildlife of Japan – this photography tour has now had all places reserved with a deposit, however, we have opened a page for bookings for a 2019 tour which will follow the same format.

A young snow monkey of the Jigokudani Valley photographed on the NaturesLens Japan in Winter Photography Holiday

British Columbian Bears2 places only remain available to join both Pui Hang & myself in the heart of British Columbia & to photograph the bears & other wildlife of the Taku river, during July 2018.
we now only have one place remaining on this trip.

Camargue’s Horses – 2 places available to join Pui Hang in Montpellier during September 2018 & to spend 5 days capturing images of the wild white horses of the Camargue.

Image typical of those that may be captured on the NaturesLens White Horses of the Camargue Photography Holiday (3 of 13)
Washington’s Bald Eagles – 2 places only remain available to join me in December 2018 for some winter wildlife photography of the Bald Eagles that make the rivers of Washington State their home during the colder months.