A Very Special Trip & A very Special Image!

I have a huge thing about any animal.. I don't trust them and they invariably don't like me!!

So, faced with these two native species of wild animals I was taking it very seriously crossing over into their territory! I was with a local guide who had obtained specific permission from the regional authority for us to go into this protected area in North East Hokkaido to visit the dead forest.

Hokkaido, as you are probably aware in the most northerly of Japan's islands and it faces the coastline of eastern Russia and is, at this time of year that I went in January, very very cold. The wind comes out of Siberia and temperatures can get as low as -25 degrees. The day I went it was quite balmy at -10 degrees!

Leaving the car by the side of the road, we had to walk for about 30 mins through a normal dense wood before coming out at the side of a frozen lake. It was here that we first came across the deer as they ran across the ice in front of us. At this point we had to put on our crampons as we would need these as we walked across this frozen lake. It did seem very strange walking out into the middle of the lake with my guide but I had every confidence we would be safe!

On the other side of this lake was another wooded area and as we approached it we could see the huge shapes of the sea eagles fling around from their nests high up in the trees. They looked so powerful and large that we had to be very careful that we didn't disturb them otherwise we might get their attention!

Finally we reached this wood and within a short time we were on the other side with a huge expanse of frozen water in front of us. Right there at the edge were this smaller collection of dead trees that we had come over to photograph. What a sight and what an experience!

It was about an hour before sunset and as we wanted to take our images in the hour after sunset (blue hour) we used this time to scout out the best compositions. This lonely tree attracted my attention immediately, so I set up and waited for the light to be perfect before taking this image. I managed to take a variety of other compositions of trees alongside before we had to call it a day.

The issue now was retracing our steps very quickly before the light went totally. I didn't really want to be out in this wilderness in the dark!