Japan Winter Wildlife Photo Expedition Workshop 2019

Date:

January 17, 2019 – January 28, 2019

Price:

Workshop Price-all inclusive
US $10,300 per person based on double room occupancy
Single supplement: US $1,000
Small Group no more than 12 Participants

Instructors:

Kevin Raber and Blain Harasymiw
Kevin Raber and Blain Harasymiw

Blain Harasymiw

Who better to write about Blain, then his sister. Blain grew up in a wilderness town in northern Canada. Summers were short, yet filled with fun and excitement. His first trip to polar bear country was at age four, and he can still recount that experience. Also, our family went on month-long canoe trips that were only accessible by canoe or air and is still the same to this very day. Wilderness is a way of life for us, and everyone did their part as survival depended on it. At eight, Blain went on his first canoe trip, and even at that young age, he knew to respect and appreciate true wilderness. Our luxury was watching the bright evening sky filled with stars and the Borealis dancing around us.  Our camera gear was light and compact, and our mother custom made watertight cases to ensure our memories were kept safe. Film was even more safeguarded.  I can still envision the 70′ (21 meters) escarpment that we climbed with our supplies and three canoes to bypass the cascading waterfalls mere feet away.  On another trip, we came across a beaver dam like none we had ever seen.  The river disappeared, and we were in a boundless lake of entwined forest. Blain was so eager to investigate, yet at age ten we took caution, and he stayed in the canoe. Years later, where is Blain? He’s on the front page of a national newspaper for canoeing.  This was no ordinary canoeing; this was early spring canoeing.  Bystanders on shore thought he was stuck in an ice jam. I know my brother well, and the reporter’s pictures confirmed that he simply walked off the ice pulling the canoe.
Blain is one of the few that I would trust in a canoe or on a wilderness adventure. In Blain’s late teens we spent many summers together adventuring waterways that few maps could tell us what lies ahead.  A few years later he took those adventures to new heights and with a camera in one hand and ambition in the other he set off to the Canadian Rockies to make his mark. This is where he met his wife, Manami.  His stories of the outback and mountain climbing came to life when he sent me the first of many photos.  As time passed Blain’s passion turned towards becoming a professional photographer, and to no surprise a few years later he was offered a position in an acclaimed Japanese photography company.
For more than 20 years, Blain has called Japan home.   His photography assignments have taken him to remarkable places throughout the world, and many of his photos were published in magazines, books and displayed on billboards. Now as a freelance photographer and with a busy schedule, Blain and Manami always find the time to take me on non stop adventures when in Japan.  Imagine hiking through thick brush and forest, no trails, no markings, what incredible fun! Then it appears in all its glory; Mt Fuji.  With me, Blain takes no beaten path.  Blain’s wild spirit can find adventure anywhere; just around the corner of his home or up to the highest accessible regions of Japan. To experience the true beauty of a country, as a photographer or simply wanting to take in the sites, a professional photographer is the way to do it and my brother Blain will truly deliver to you a new perspective of Japan like no other.

Kevin Raber

I see the world through the lens and a frame. Photography for me is an extension of who I am. I have gone through many stages in my career. At one time I was a portrait photographer with many prestigious clients. Over time I grew restless for something else in the field. I truly enjoy my current work as a fine art landscape photographer. There is something special about examining and photographing everything from grand scenes in nature that are there for a moment and then gone to industrial landscapes and focusing on the incredibly minute details of peeling paint and rust. I am most fortunate to be able to travel to many wonderful places.

I have fond memories of nights and weekends spent in the darkroom creating prints. The stereo blasting. It could be fun and it could be tedious. You didn’t always know what you were going to get and, at times, it required extensive hands-on darkroom manipulation. I can still smell the chemicals. I was taught by masters of the darkroom.

Today, that has all changed thanks to the advent of computers, digital cameras and Photoshop. The darkroom is the computer. Some things are still unpredictable, but the tools to achieve the final result allow you to see them immediately on the screen in real time and right in front of you. Digital allows you to capture a range of tonalities and exposures that were impossible with film. Variables such as emulsion, temperature, chemistry and exposure are taken out of the equation. What you see on your computer monitor is what you will get when printed.  One thing that hasn’t changed is the music. It goes along with creating and working on images. Thank God for iTunes.

I embraced digital early on. It continues to evolve and provide flexibility to all who embrace it. The digital age is still young and has completely transformed our industry. Never before has a switch from analog to digital been so prevalent as in photography. I’m looking forward to seeing where the next ten years takes us.

My career in photography has evolved since 1972 when I first began making a living with photography. Today I am also CEO of the Luminous-Landscape.com, one of the most visited and prestigious websites for the photographers on the internet, with over 1.5 million visitors a month.  I lead photography workshops to edge of the planet locations as well provide instructional videos to photographers on how to improve their craft.

There doesn’t seem to be anything that can dampen my passion and enthusiasm for photography. It has opened doors to the world for me and I am most grateful I can share my experiences with others.

Join Kevin Raber and Blain Harasymiw
For An Unforgettable Journey Through Japan
January 17, 2019 – January 28, 2019

High Alpine Terraces
High Alpine Terraces

Japan is 3000 kilometers long with 6,852 Islands however surprisingly enough only 30% of that is populated.  There are two regions of  Japan the southern tropics is called the Watase line, to the north where winter occurs we call that the Blakiston line.  Japans wildlife is incredibly diverse and has flourished for millenniums. Thousands of animal species thrive in Japan, and over 600 bird species have been recorded to date.  Winter in Japan is the wildlife photographers paradise, let’s not forget the breathtaking landscapes and samurai architecture.  Japan truly is the Exotic Winter photography adventure of a lifetime.

Snow Hokkaido
Snow Hokkaido

All our workshops are highly customized, from the golden hours and between you will be mesmerized by the never-ending beautiful, breathtaking photo opportunities.   All locations in this itinerary we are extremely familiar with, knowing the terrain and the very best times to photograph.

Enjoy your photography in comfort and style with us, our mode of transportation through Japan comfortable, new SUVs driven by our experienced staff drivers, on and off-road.  Your instructors Kevin and Blain will always be close by to help with those little tips that turn good compositions into gallery hanging quality prints.

The Adventure

Our first nature adventure starts at the snow-capped Mt. Fuji; we will photograph this iconic symbol of Japan during the golden hours.

Mt. Fuji Seen From Nagano, Japan
Mt. Fuji Seen From Nagano, Japan

Then off to Matsumoto Castle, the world of the samurai, built in 1504, also known as Kurasu-Jo due to its grandeur poised black exterior.

Then we venture into a zen territory Jigokudani Joshinetsu-Kogen National Park which is home to the Snow Monkeys. You will have up-close and personal encounters with wild Japanese macaques.  They are the most northern-living nonhuman primate; they survive the snowy, frigid winter climate by soaking in the warmth of the healing hot springs, plus volcanic steam vents in Jigokudani Joshinetsu-Kogen.

Mother And Child Snow Monkeys. Japan
Mother And Child Snow Monkeys. Japan

After visiting with the snow monkeys, we travel by plane to Japans most northern island Hokkaido.  Wow, get ready Look Up! Red-Crowned Cranes, often described as the snow ballerinas, as they perform their graceful courtship dance, they bow to one another, then raise their heads towards the sky and call in unison as they begin their dance.

Red-Crowned Cranes. Akan International Crane Center. Kushiro, Japan
Red-Crowned Cranes. Akan International Crane Center. Kushiro, Japan
Red-Crowned Cranes, Singing. Akan, Japan
Red-Crowned Cranes, Singing. Akan, Japan

After the dance with the cranes in the low-lying marshlands, we make our way inland to the high alpine lakes of Hokkaido’s northwest.  Comprising of Akanko, Kushiroko, and Mashuko Lakes, which are among the clearest and cleanest on our planet, along with breathtaking landscapes and home to first nations people of the Japan the Ainu.  The Ainu are world-class wood carvers and storytellers; we will visit with them photographing their museum-quality arts and crafts. The theater Ikor, the Ainu performance of spiritual, cultural awakening, during the performance you may take photos.

Hotel Lobby Hokkaido, Japan
Hotel Lobby Hokkaido, Japan
Art In Hotel. Hokkaido, Japan
Art In Hotel. Hokkaido, Japan
Art In Hotel. Hokkaido, Japan
Art In Hotel. Hokkaido, Japan

The next day we will be with Giant Whopping Swans at Lake Kushiroko, where natural hot springs water mixes with the lakes cool water creating steam and mist, this is especially beautiful during the golden hours to photograph, with the swans swimming, playing, taking off or landing.  There are also spectacular snow-capped mountains in the backdrop.

Hokkaido. Swans At Sunset
Hokkaido. Swans At Sunset
Japanese Whopper Swans-In Flight During Snow Storm
Japanese Whopper Swans-In Flight During Snow Storm

After our visit with giant cranes and the Ainu, we travel to the Pacific coast, to spend time with the  Steller’s sea eagles on pack ice which is their natural winter feeding ground. We also have over 100miles of pristine coastline and wilderness to explore with the largest herds of sika deer in Japan, along with the red-tailed fox, white-tailed eagle, golden eagle, black kite and other the subarctic species.  Sunrises and sunsets are especially beautiful and breathtaking on this stretch of coastline.

White Tailed Eagle. Hokkaido, Japan
White-Tailed Eagle. Hokkaido, Japan
Sika Deer. Hokkaido, Japan
Sika Deer. Hokkaido, Japan
Fox Hunting. Shibetsu, Japan
Fox Hunting. Shibetsu, Japan

Itinerary

Day 1, Arrival and pick up Tokyo, Haneda Airport.  After meeting Travel to Mt. Fuji.  Golden Hour photography at Lake Yamanakako of Mt. Fuji.  Overnight at Hotel La Vista (1night) – Our Lodgings have private and communal hot springs/male and female bath separately.

Mt. Fuji From Yamanakako
Mt. Fuji From Yamanakako

Rooms have bath shower and western toiletries.

Day 2, AM golden hour op of Mt. Fuji, travel to Matsumoto Castle, then to Jigokudani Joshinetsu-Kogen National park.  Overnight at  Sibu Onsen Ichionuy Katei (3nights, day 2-4) – Our Lodgings have private and communal hot spring/male and female bath separately.  Rooms have western style toiletries.

Day 3, 4, Visit and photograph the wild Japanese snow monkeys in and around their home. There are 3 monkey troops in the area, roughly 160 monkeys, they are territorial, and only the strongest troop lay claim/ownership to use the hot springs.  In the Spring of 2017, we saw a hostile Japanese troop macaque change at the hot springs; this occurs every few years.

Snow Monkey Maternity
Snow Monkey Maternity

Day 5, Transfer to Tokyo, Haneda Airport (HND) and fly to Kushiro, Hokkaido Airport  (KUH)  Overnight at La Vista Kushirogawa (2nights, day 5-6) – Our Lodgings have communal hot springs/male and female bath separately.  Rooms have shower and western style toiletries.

Day 6, Travel to Kushiro Shitsugen National Park winter home to the Red-crowned crane.

Day 7, 8, AM Red-crowned crane.  Travel to Lake Akan.  Winter alpine Landscape photography, Giant Whooping Swans Lake Kushiro.  Ainu first nations Japanese.  Overnight at Tsuruga Wings (2nights) – Our Lodgings have communal hot springs/male and female bath separately.  Rooms have showers and western style toiletries.

Day 9, 10,  Travel to the Pacific coastline.  Wildlife, and landscape photography at Lake Furenko Steller’s Sea Eagle, White-Tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Sika Deer, Red Tailed Fox, plus other sub-arctic species.  Rausu (chartered boat) through pack ice, to the Steller’s Sea Eagle feeding ground.  Sunset Notsuke-Hanto Peninsula.

White Tail. Rausu. Japan
White Tail. Rausu. Japan
Sika Deer. Hokkaido, Japan
Sika Deer. Hokkaido, Japan
Pair Of Red Foxes. Shibetsu, Japan
Pair Of Red Foxes. Shibetsu, Japan

Overnight at Hotel Kawabata (3 nights, day 9-12) –  Our Lodgings have communal hot springs/male and female bathe separately.  Rooms have shower and western style toiletries.

Day 11, AM  Rausu Steller’s Sea Eagles Sunrise photo op.  Transfer to Kushiro, prepare our gear for our flight to Tokyo.  Farewell dinner and toast, we will take a moment to reflect on our adventures together.

Huddling Together For Warmth. Hokkaido, Japan
Huddling Together For Warmth. Hokkaido, Japan

Day 12,  AM Flight to Tokyo, Thank you, and we look forward to our next adventure together.

Included

• All Group Transport, Sports Utility Vehicles With Business Class Seating
• Domestic Flights in Japan
• All Accommodations
• All Meals
• All Entrance Fees

Not Included

•Flights to Japan & from Japan, Alcohol Beverages, Travel Insurance, Hotel Amenities

Registering For The Workshop

This promises to be an incredible adventure.  If you have any questions please contact Kevin Raber by email or call at +1 317-379-7482. This is an all-inclusive workshop.  We will pick you up at the airport and return you to the airport.  Everything from the time we pick you up and drop you off is included except as noted above. To reserve your spot on this workshop a deposit of $1000 USD is required on registration.  The balance is due 90 days prior to the workshop date.  For cancellation and refunds please see Terms & Conditions.

Download Workshop Registration Form

Workshop Price-all inclusive
January 17, 2019 – January 28, 2019
US $10,300 per person based on double room occupancy
Single supplement: US $1,000
Small Group no more than 12 Participants