Snow Monkeys & Hokkaido

I recently returned from a wonderful Winter Wildlife Wonderland photography tour in Japan. For two weeks I explored Hokkaido with photographers Chris Marquardt and Martin Bailey.

I had never attended a photo workshop before, which I like to randomly refer to as "photoshop" for some reason, that actually does kind of make sense. Anyway, it was a wonderful way to see the animals and scenery Japan had to offer. I honestly went to see the adorable Snow Monkeys, and let me tell you, they were even more adorable than anticipated! In fact, I had the hardest time slowing down to compose my pictures properly because I just thought everything they did was cute. Unfortunately, this carried over to my picture rating and sorting as well, such that in my finals, I have a disproportionate number of snow monkeys.

Case in point, this little bugger who thought that Martin's GoPro was a tit. By the way, I do not recommend purchasing the GoPro Hero 3, at least until they work out the bugs as Martin had many problems with batteries, charging and the device simply turning itself off. Despite the problems, Martin obtained some amazing videos.  

Monkey baby enjoying the "tit" of the GoPro.

My photography gear, on the other hand, held up magnificently. I brought a standard Nikon gear set including the D700, 24-70mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4D, 70-200mm f/2.8, 300mm f/4 and TC-14E II 1.4x Teleconverter. Rather unconventionally, I chose the Olympus OM-D E-M5 as my alternate body, because it provided me an additional 1.5 apparent zoom at a tenth of the price of Nikon's 600mm f/4, which I needed for the birding section of the adventure. The only equipment that didn't work out was my much used Zeikos ZE-NBG300 Battery Grip, an alternative to the MB-D210 Battery Grip; it just couldn't hold up in the freezing temperatures of Hokkaido. It failed so spectacularly that I thought my camera was breaking. Everything, including my Macbook Air, fit neatly into the large Tenba Messenger bag. 

Enough of my gear, how about some of my pictures?