Japan in Winter with Art Wolfe

Japan in winter is one of the most majestic locations you could ever imagine. A slight dusting of snow turns the regularly bustling streets into a proverbial winter wonderland. The colder temperatures also tend to cut down on the amount of crowds, which makes photographing the iconic sites much more appealing.

We will embark on an eleven-day intensive photography workshop covering the most photographic sites, from buzzing cities to the calm atmospheric landscapes, stretching the length of Japan. First we’ll visit the snow macaques that live in the mountains about two hours west of Tokyo. Here in an isolated steep cut valley with an amazing mountain lodge are three extended families of macaques, numbering around 50. Because they are the most northern primate on earth, they have the longest, luxuriant fur of any primates, particularly in the winter months. They come down from the pine and oak forests and for a couple of hours a day they hang around a natural hot spring. They have been habituated to people visiting them there, so you can photograph from within inches without interrupting their behavior, which is very animated and fun. It is a photographic bonanza.

After visiting the macaques, we will travel to the northern island of Hokkaido. Hokkaido reminds me a bit of Alaska, full of forests of birch, pine and fir with a back drop of beautiful volcanic mountains. There are also large lakes and wild running rivers, and hosts three species of bird wildlife that are extraordinary to photograph. The Japanese Crane has been symbolized in Japanese culture for thousands of years due to its grace and beauty. Giant whooper swans come in the winter months from nesting in Siberia. They have been fed by locals for years, helping them sustain thru the winter, as well as creating an easy and wonderful photographic opportunity for us! And often Steller’s sea eagles will swoop around the same area. They are massive black and white raptors that winter over on the icy shores of Hokkaido.

Whooping Cranes with Jeff Parker

This boat-based Whooping Crane Photo Tour offers great ops to get great shots of endangered Whooping Cranes at the Texas Gulf. This photo tour sells out early every time so, if you’re interested, I suggest that you sign up now!

I have room for just five (5) photographers to join me as we watch and photograph the endangered cranes at their most active, feasting upon the Gulf-Coast bounty. These particular birds are descended from nature’s last wild flock.

The Whooping Crane Photo Tour includes two extensive boat-based photo shoots during which we’ll create images of the Whooping Cranes of Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

The fun continues after our boat-based shoots with afternoon photo excursions in and around Rockport and Port Aransas where we’ll focus our lenses on colorful shrimp boats, the marina, Brown and White Pelicans, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Ibis, Forster’s Tern, Black Skimmers, Roseate Spoonbills, American Oystercatchers, other shorebirds, raptors, and more.

Watch the behavior of North America’s tallest birds in their wintering habitat along Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Observe juveniles interacting with their parents. Wonder at the birds’ size and elegant gawkiness. Enjoy listening to the unique sound of their trumpeting calls. Photograph them pulling blue crabs up from estuary mud.

We will have multiple opportunities to take a variety of photographs of this fascinating species. Our boat captain does an amazing job of getting us up-close and personal with the birds (without disturbing them).

More info: http://exploreinfocus.com/joinme/whooping-crane-photo-tour/
Or call Jeff at (512) 378-3355
Limited to five (5) photographers

Bosque del Apache and White Sands with Daniel J. Cox

It’s time for a winter break—join Daniel to photograph in Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico, one of the top birding hotspots in North America! Winter is the best time to photograph the thousands of sandhill cranes, snow geese, and various ducks that migrate through the area. Endless photo opportunities in this world-famous wildlife refuge make it the perfect destination to enhance your photography skills.

We will sneak away to White Sands National Monument for an evening and morning shoot of these beautiful white dunes. Relax… Transfers, touring, meals, hotel, and one-on-one time with Dan in the field are all included. A perfect long weekend getaway!

Cranes of the World by Mike Endres

Greater Sandhill landing to roost at Bosque del Apache NWR, NM. This image took over 160 tries to get using manual focus & exposure and a Nikon D3 shooting 11 fps once the birds became visible in moon. Image © Mike Endres

Greater Sandhill landing to roost at Bosque del Apache NWR, NM. This image took over 160 tries to get using manual focus & exposure and a Nikon D3 shooting 11 fps once the birds became visible in moon. Image © Mike Endres

Images and Story by Mike Endres

Aldo Leopold once said, “When we hear his call we hear no mere bird. We hear the trumpet in the orchestra of evolution.”

Cranes are among the most graceful and symbolic birds known to man. That they’ve been around for some 10 million years is a testament to their hardiness in the face of numerous geological events that have challenged or even lead to the demise of other, perhaps lesser, genera. Found on every continent in the world, with the exception of Antarctica and South America, the 15 species are frequently incorporated into local culture and mythology as they help humans better understand their connectedness to the natural world around them. Continue reading