Hokkaido 2023

a creative wildlife photography experience
3 February – 12 February
registrations for this second tour will be open only after the availability
of the first tour has been exhausted 15-24 February

Dates: 3 February – 12 February 2023 from Kushiro (Hokkaido).

Genre: wildlife (landscape)

Tour leader: Marco Ronconi

Language: english and italian. This tour is open to people from all over the world

Fee: It will be announced shortly. Some hotels cannot accept reservations yet. While waiting to receive the final quotation, I will communicate to the interested persons an initial quotation which is subject to slight variations.

Single room supplement: on request.

 Deposit: 500,00 Euro. Due at the time of booking. Fully refundable within 90 days of tour departure or in case of cancellation due to the persistence of the pandemic. We all hope this will be one of the “post pandemic” tours, but I constantly monitor the situation and the news coming from Japan. Japanese borders are currently still closed to all tourists, but that is expected to change by the end of this summer.

Group size: minimum 3, maximum 5 participants.

Experience:  BASIC. This tour is open to all nature lovers who have a basic knowledge of photography.

Who is this tour for?

-Anyone who is passionate about photography and wants to improve technique and (especially) composition
-artists, drawing and sketching lovers who like to draw, paint or simply observe. This tour will provide you a lot of references.
-lovers of Japan and Japanese cuisine who wants to experience a bit of authentic Japan made of small villages and cities.
-it is not necessary to have expensive photographic equipment. In some situations, even a modern smartphone camera could be fine. If you have a camera but you don’t have a telephoto lens, I can lend it to you for the duration of the trip.

Description: An adventure that will take us through the magical winter wonderland of Hokkaido, the northernmost island of the Japanese archipelago. With a small group of participants, you will be inspired to create images capable of reflecting the poetic beauty of wildlife in a fairy atmosphere. My goal will be to stimulate your creativity and the look for original compositions, a “photographic vision” that goes beyond the simple act of shooting images.

You will benefit from my knowledge of those places that I have visited numerous times and have loved since my first trip. The choice of a small group and the itinerary designed to spend at least two full days in each location, will allow us to take our time and maximize every possibility. I will be able to teach you individually, helping you to think about the shot and to compose the image. Supporting you in the creative process and not only on the technical side. My priority will be your experience and helping you in catching moments to remember for a lifetime.

Likely subjects: red crowned crane, sika deer, whooper swan, red fox, Steller sea eagle, white tailed eagle, kite. (with a bit of luck, Ural owl and other subjects more rarely seen)

Last but not least, the winter landscape.

Depending on the situations you will be able to create different types of images, from full-frame portraits to “animalscape” or that’s kind of creation with wildlife portrayed in the environment. I will encourage you to think outside the box and to study different compositions, to “see” more than thinking about your camera settings. We will observe these subjects in different locations, some known and others way less, which I have discovered during my travels to Hokkaido. I will photograph by your side, but your images will have priority and I will assist you all the time. The goal of this experience is not simply taking pictures, but to stimulate your creativity and a more artistic approach to photography.

Climate: cold, sometimes intense, especially on windy days. Heavy snowfalls are possible. The weather always adds new possibilities and dimensions to Hokkaido. We will try to take advantage of these conditions, to create moody images. Despite the cold weather, we will always be very close to our comfy van where we can warm up and take shelter. The choice of the right clothing will be mandatory and I will provide all the appropriate advices and suggestions.

Accomodation: we will stay in comfortable hotels, a mixture of traditional ones with Japanese style rooms and Western ones. In some of the more traditional accommodations you will have access to the onsen, the characteristic hot water bath. After a full day spent outdoors in the cold, there is nothing better than a nice warm bath. The itinerary has been designed to allow us to spend at least two nights in each accommodation. This means you won’t have to pack every morning and more time to spend on photo sessions. The complete list of accommodation will be sent to the participants, in a detailed PDF program.

Meals: one of the highlights of any trip to Japan, definitely. Japanese cuisine is appreciated all over the World and you can have tasty meals in every corner. From my experience I understand that the participants prefer to choose what to eat according to their tastes and to follow the daily program with maximum flexibility it was decided to exclude breakfasts and lunches from the participation fee.

Breakfast: we will always leave our hotels before breakfast time to reach the different locations. Some hotels offer only traditional breakfasts which rarely meet our tastes. For these reasons we will stop along the road in one of the characteristic “convenience stores”, or small mini-markets with a coffee corner and a wide choice of meals to fill up with energy before starting the day or where everyone can buy snacks for the day.

Lunch: we will stop in one of the local restaurants and everyone will choose based on personal taste.

Dinner: all dinners will be included in the participation fee. The traditional hotels will prepare a rich dinner for us, I have already been in each one and you will be satisfied with them. In Kushiro we will have our dinner in one of the local restaurants.

Fitness level: The level of fatigue required is low. All locations are easily accessible with short walks on flat terrain. It is sufficient to be in good health conditions and able to withstand a bit of cold. The tour is open and suitable for people of all ages.

Included in the tour fee:
-tranfer from/to the airport
-local transportation
-all the dinners
-coaching with field instructions and tailored advices
-images review
-entrance fees and participation to scheduled activities, such as boat cruises in Shiretoko National Park

Not included in the tour fee:
-flights to and from Kushiro
-breakfasts and lunches
-travel insurance
-personal items

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