Japan Winter Safari: Exclusivity at Jigokudani Monkey Park

Wim’s Update from the Japan Winter Safari:

We really wanted to spend the day perfecting the different lighting skills that we started yesterday – and today absolutely everything was in our favour.

When we arrived at the hot pools, the macaques were already there, warming up, and as there were very few people around we could set up wherever we liked to capture those magical backlit and side-lit shots. The Snow-monkeys played together, squabbled, huddled, groomed, and provided ongoing photo opportunities.

It seemed like just moments before lunchtime arrived.

Could the afternoon match the wonderful conditions we had in the morning? Absolutely! And the afternoon provided the best photographic conditions and situations that we have had at Jigokudani.

First, there were even fewer people around!

Then, we found a group of young monkeys having the greatest fun … they clambered up a tree from where they leapt onto a slope covered in deep snow, and with the impetus, they launched themselves into the air to land in the soft, powdery snow below. Again and again and again they ran back to climb the tree and start the leaping sequence again.

8 1a Ben leaping Macaque
(Image from BACK of Ben Cranke’s Camera)
And being the only people at this site, we made the most of it. And of course the macaques could not resist putting on a real show for us when they saw cameras capturing each airborne jump.

When the youngsters finally tired of the game we turned our attention to the pools. Again we had the whole place exclusively to ourselves … apart from a rare photographer that we spotted from time to time. What a pleasure! And what an amazing way to end our fabulous time here!

Tomorrow we leave for Kussharo, hoping to have enough time to photograph the Tundra Swans on the way …