Japanese Winter Tour: Whooper Swans Swoop in magical surroundings

By February 23, 2013 Uncategorized No Comments

From Ben:

I cannot believe how each day of this trip is turning into spectacular photographic wonderland with memories and images to match!

Yesterday we traveled to Hokkaido via Tokyo again and then north to Lake Kussharo.

Imagine a lake – now imagine that lake all frozen over with a beautiful reflecting surface from the ice ..

Now imagine that ice cold lake being fed by hot thermal springs around the perimeter, keeping the edges free of ice. Then as the warm and cold waters meet this creates an ethereal steam that billows around.

Finally, picture thousands of Whooper Swans swooping in and out of the misty swirls. At times the mist is so thick that the swans appear as if by magic about two meters in front of you, and then disappear a meter away again. At other times the mist recedes a bit opening up the beautiful backdrop, and creating beautiful ghostlike surroundings for the birds.

Behind this spectacular scenery is a range of towering mountains … snow covered and glinting in the beautiful sunshine – literally breathtaking!

We were so busy taking magnificent shots using a variety of lenses from wide angle to telephoto that we lost track of time and were amazed when we had to return to our hotel for lunch.

After lunch we headed straight back to the lake for even more amazing photographic opportunities. Bird after bird after bird, flying, swooping, landing on the water, running as they landed on the water, running as they took off from the lake again. 

When the misty conditions lifted at one stage we saw that the lake is surrounded by trees covered in thick white frost – creating yet another beautiful backdrop for us.

It was with a satisfied sigh that we headed back to our hotel this evening …
and as has become our custom, we headed straight for the warm pools to relax and warm up in the onsen.

We will post photographs again when we can …