Photographing eagles in Japan

Japan known for its traditional art, its tea ceremonies, sumo wrestling, its food, advancements in technology to name a few, but I could never have imagined the wildlife Japan had to offer. Japan is home to bears, snow monkeys and some of the most majestic eagles on the planet. As it turns out, Japan is a heaven for wildlife photography

I flew into Kushiro (Hokkaido) from Tokyo and then headed to a northern coastal town called Rausu. As one can imagine, it was a small quaint little town with not more than a few bed & breakfast style hotels and a couple of restaurants serving authentic Japanese cuisine. It was a fishing community so most people living there were directly or indirectly involved with fishing for their livelihood.

It was February at the time and there was snow everywhere, it was cold irrespective what time of the day it was.

Hokkaido is home to two species of eagles, the White-tailed eagle and the Steller’s sea eagle and i was there to photograph both. Every morning i would head out into the sea, before the break of dawn feeling a mix of excitement and fearing frostbites. As my boat would carefully navigate floating ice, the sky illuminated in shades of blue that i dont even think they have names for. Eventually, i caught sight of the eagles. Too dark to photograph, i just sat back to watch this spectacular creation of god, no rush to photograph these birds. Eventually the sun rose and everything appeared painted gold, the light was stunning. As the morning progressed I made images of these beautiful birds pausing briefly from time to time to warm my fingers. This went on for three days and as one can imagine I made some images that I was very happy with. 

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