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Treeline Hokkaido by Paul Gallagher aspect2i

Hokkaido - Winter Landscapes of Japan

19th - 27th January, 2024 - with Paul Gallagher and Michael Pilkington - £5,750.00 (£862.00 Deposit) - 3 Places Left

The photography adventure begins in the Biei area, which in the summer months is flourishing with farming activity but during the winter it is transformed with snowfall and the landscape is punctuated with lone trees and farm outbuildings. A real minimalists dreamland. We also explore Shirogane with its famous Blue Pond and woodland.

Trees in Snowstorm Hokkaido by Paul Gallagher aspect2i

There is so much to see in the Biei and Shi­rogane areas and the win­ter land­scape con­sists of field edges sur­round­ed by gen­tly rolling hills and vast open white spaces. In the after­noon we dri­ve towards the coast and to Shosan­bet­su and the famous Torii Gate and the sea ice.

Torii Gate Hokkaido by Paul Gallagher aspect2i

After Biei, Shi­rogane and Shosan­bet­su areas, we then move on to explore the coastal areas of Oumu with its fish­ing har­bours and fish­ing huts. We then head inland into the snowy white can­vas to explore the Teshio area with its black riv­er that cuts through open white farm­land often dot­ted with green­house frames from the sum­mers grow­ing activity.

Setting Sun and Copse Hokkaido by Paul Gallagher aspect2i

Leav­ing Teshio we head for Abashiri dis­trict. Our local guide will ush­er you to the first loca­tion to shoot the infa­mous Kuro­sawa trees dot­ting the rolling and hilly land­scape pro­vid­ing a graph­ic con­trast against the white snowy can­vas. We head back to Cape Notoro, the loca­tion of the light­house and the fence that Michael Ken­na fre­quent­ly cap­tures. We trav­el towards Futat­sui­wa dis­trict to cap­ture the pic­turesque land­scape with Mt Shari in the background.

Hokkaido Triptic by Paul Gallagher aspect2i

Con­tin­u­ing our adven­ture to Abashiri then on to Futat­su Iwa, to shoot the spiky twin out­crop ris­ing above the waters called Futat­sui Rocks. We pro­ceed south­ward along the coast­line to view drift ice with the ice-capped Mount Shari in the back­ground. From the coastal road, we head to the near­by Oshinkoshin Falls, one of Japan’s best 100 water­falls. Here we will pho­to­graph the frozen shafts of water amidst the stark trees with spindly branch­es. We head towards Utoro at sun­set for din­ner and a night’s stay.

After sun­rise, we head back to the coast of Abashiri to expe­ri­ence the breath­tak­ing drift ice break­ing and float­ing across the Sea of Okhot­sk. If you are lucky you can catch Steller’s sea eagles and spot­ted seals. We then trav­el east to Hamakoshimizu to cap­ture the stark win­ter tree line con­trast­ing against the white snow. We head south to the Lake Kussharo in Teshik­a­ga Dis­trict. We return to Kawayu Spa.

Two Trees and Fence Hokkaido by Paul Gallagher aspect2i

We rise ear­ly to catch the morn­ing mist cre­at­ing ghost­ly images around the win­try trees at the near­by Kawayu For­est. We con­tin­ue our explo­ration at Lake Kussharo to find whoop­er swans that return to the Lake every win­ter. In addi­tion, you may be able to catch a glimpse of oth­er wildlife like the Sika deer, Siber­ian chip­munks and white-tailed eagles. Locat­ed near­by is Mount Io, famous for its hot springs and sul­phur filled moun­tain. In win­ter, the white steam cuts the moun­tain to cre­ate a breath­tak­ing pho­to oppor­tu­ni­ty. We head south to anoth­er of Michael Ken­na’s icon­ic spot — the hill­side fence that guards the snowy hills of Teshikaga.

Trees in Snow Hokkaido by Paul Gallagher aspect2i

We ven­ture to Lake Mashu a caldera lake in Akan Nation­al Park. It has the rep­u­ta­tion to be the clear­est lake in the world and the most beau­ti­ful in Japan. You can enjoy unob­struct­ed views from two obser­va­tion decks. Pho­tog­ra­phers will have to look out for the vol­canic peak on the west­ern side of the lake and the infa­mous fog that blan­kets the lake. For more angles of the view you can enjoy the hik­ing trail that rims the lake. We trav­el west to Lake Akan resort for the night.

Woodland Hokkaido Japan Michael Pilkington aspect2i

We spend a day at Lake Akan to absorb and cap­ture the scenic hill­top trees around the lake. In win­ter, the lake freezes over and the mist adds a bit of mys­tery to the place. We vis­it two more loca­tions made famous by Michael Ken­na, the min­i­mal­is­tic Inclined Posts’ and the Wind­blown Flags’, both of which are in the vicin­i­ty of Lake Akan. Avid wildlife shoot­ers can head south­wards to Akan Tan­cho Crane Nation­al Park to catch the red-crest­ed cranes that are the offi­cial birds of Hokkaido.

Hokkaido Triptic by Michael Pilkington aspect2i

For many pho­tog­ra­phers, this expe­ri­ence will be like no oth­er and work­ing in a land­scape with such beau­ti­ful sim­plic­i­ty will be a new. Paul Gal­lagher and Michael Pilk­ing­ton will be encour­ag­ing you to enjoy your cre­ative free­dom and explore the many dif­fer­ent ways in which you can express your­self as a pho­tog­ra­ph­er in these win­ter con­di­tions. Feel free to break the rules and take pho­tos that mean some­thing to you as an indi­vid­ual. After break­fast, we will pro­ceed to our depar­ture air­port. Please note that the depar­ture air­port is Kushi­ro and not Asahikawa Airport.

Three Trees in Snow Hokaido by Paul Gallagher aspect2i

9 Days

2 leaders with a maximum of 8 participants

Easy - snow and ice would require the use of grippers or ice spikes.

Various Hotels

The price includes extensive one to one photography tuition during the workshop, local guide and driver, accommodation (including breakfast and dinner). No single occupancy supplement. Travel during the workshop.

Travel to and from the location and personal bills such as bar bills, meals not listed. Travel and camera Insurance.

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Hokkaido - Winter Landscapes of Japan