Japan Snow Monkeys and Hokkaido Tour & Workshops 2019

Jan 27 - Feb 8 and Feb 17 - Mar 1

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Table of Contents

Winter Wonderland Photography Tour & Workshop (Jan 27 – Feb 8 or Feb 17 – Mar 1, 2019)

Your Host

Cost & Reservation

Booking / Payment

Testimonials

Related Blog Posts and Podcasts


Winter Wonderland Photography Tour & Workshop

12 Photography days (Jan 27 – Feb 8 or Feb 17 – Mar 1, 2019)

This tour is now sold out. Please consider booking on either of our 2020 Tours here. If you’d like to be placed on the waitlist for 2019 please drop me a line via our Contact form.

Summary

This photography adventure takes us to the best Japanese winter wildlife locations in Japan, at exactly the right time to capture the images of a lifetime. We’ll visit the adorable Snow Monkeys in Nagano for the first three days of each tour. For the latter nine days, we travel to Hokkaido to photograph the majestic Red-Crowned Cranes, Whooper Swans, Seller’s Sea Eagles, White Tailed Eagles, Ezo Deer and possibly foxes. There are also some Landscape photography opportunities during the tour, but if you want to photograph the incredible landscape in Hokkaido, also consider our Hokkaido Photography Landscape Adventure.

 

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We stay in four of the six hotels for two or three nights running, meaning you don’t have to uproot every morning. This also gives us the opportunity for structured workshop session on digital photography workflow and color management, as well as group critique sessions as time allows.

 

Details of Your Photography Adventure

First Night

The majority of our guests travel in from overseas, so we include the Sunday night before the tour starts in your package to ensure we’re all in town ready to start bright and early on Monday morning. For those that arrive early enough, there is an optional meet-and-greet dinner on the Sunday evening.

Snow Monkeys (days 1, 2, 3)

On the Monday morning, we start the tour by heading out to Nagano, north-west of Tokyo, for three days photographing the adorable Japanese Macaque, affectionately known as the Snow Monkeys. These amazing primates are one of the Japanese mainland’s biggest attractions for the winter wildlife photographer. By the evening of day three, we make our way to Tokyo Haneda airport where we spend one night, and then fly to Hokkaido early on the morning of day four. This marks the start of nine days in eastern Hokkaido photographing some of the most breathtaking winter wildlife in the world.

Red-Crowned Cranes (days 4, 5)

In Hokkaido, we spend two full days photographing the Red-Crowned Cranes, in a number of locations around Kushiro and Akan. We’ll also visit the Otowa “Sound of Wings” Bridge at dawn on two mornings, with fingers crossed for low temperatures and no wind, in the hope that we’ll get river mist and frosty trees on at least one of the two days.

Whooper Swans (days 6, 7)

We spend two days photographing the Whooper Swans at Kussharo Lake, as they warm themselves in the hot spring waters that flow into the lake. We’ll also aim to capture the swans taking off and landing, working on panning techniques, as well as environmental shots of the swans in their beautiful setting.

Bihoro Pass, Mashuu Lake and Iouzan (Sulphur Mountain) (days 6, 7)

While at the location where we’ll shoot the Whooper Swans, possibly head out for a dawn shoot at Bihoro Pass, looking down over the Kussharo Lake, and go to see if we can catch the swans flying over the lake in the beautiful soft morning light. We also have a purposefully short shoot at Iouzan (Sulphur Mountain!) for some surreal landscape opportunities.

Sea Eagles (days 8, 9, 10)

We head over to the Shiretoko Peninsula and the port town of Rausu, where we spend three days going out on a boat at dawn to photograph the awesome Seller’s Sea Eagles and White Tailed Eagles on the sea ice.

Notsuke Peninsula & Shinto Shrine Visit (8, 9, 10)

While we are staying in Rausu for the Sea Eagles, we’ll make time at least once to drive out to the Notsuke Peninsula to photograph the Ezo Deer and Hokkaido Fox that we often find there. We also pay an optional visit to the local Shinto Shrine in Rausu, where we receive a traditional Shinto blessing, and have the chance to take photos and ask questions about the shrine and the Shinto religion.

Shiretoko National Park (days 11, 12)

Then on the way around to the Utoro side of the Shiretoko Peninsula, we will make stops along the way to photograph the landscape and birch tree groves. Just outside of Utoro we’ll make a stop at the Oshinkoshin Falls, and make our way into the Shiretoko National Park for a walk out through the woods in the hope of spotting some Ezo Deer and to capture the wonderful landscape there. After a steady morning of photography, we head over to Memanbetsu airport and fly back to Tokyo on the afternoon of Day 12.

Workshop and Critique Sessions

Depending on weather and the group’s energy levels, at a number of locations we set time aside for a workshop sessions as well as a critique session for those interested in participating.

NOTE: You will receive a detailed itinerary and information to help you prepare for your tour shortly after making your reservation.

Your Host – Martin Bailey

Your host and tour leader, Martin Bailey, is British born though now a Japanese citizen, having lived in Japan for over twenty five years. A professional wildlife and nature photographer, Martin is also fluent in Japanese both written and spoken, and his knowledge of the locations we visit and subjects we photograph is unrivaled, making us the perfect choice for your Japanese photography adventure.

Martin has been visiting Hokkaido every year since 2003, and the 2019 tours take us into our twelfth consecutive year. We continuously refine the Itinerary and locations visited based on previous experience and feedback. These tours just get better and better.

Additional Information

Accommodation & Meals

We stay in a mix of traditional Japanese hotels and western style hotels, with great food, sometimes buffet style, though often meals prepared specifically for our group. We’ll note if you have any food preferences (allergies, vegetarian etc.) and make changes as possible to suit your needs. Many of the hotels have relaxing hot springs baths to relax after a day out shooting.

Transport

For the entire tour, we use a large bus with a professional driver that stays with us the entire time. The large bus provides every participant with a double seat, which means you can put your camera bag right next to you on the seat, for easy access to your gear when a photo opportunity arises. On occasion, we shoot from the bus windows, and the bus size provides everyone with an open window on either side as well. 

Full-Time Tour Conductor

To ensure that all of the tour logistics run like clockwork we travel with a full-time conductor on hand throughout the tour. This means we never have to wait for our keys at hotels, and all meals are ready for us when we arrive. We are also able to negotiate much better meals for western tastes that most Japan tours are able to provide. This frees Martin to concentrate on working with the group and gives you more time to concentrate on your photography and enjoying your Japan experience.

Who is this Workshop for?

  • Anyone with a love for wildlife, nature and landscape photography, and that can handle a bit of cold weather
  • Anyone that wants to improve their photography while shooting the photographs of a lifetime
  • In general, tuition assumes at least a basic understanding of photography and your equipment, but Photographers of all skill levels are very welcome
  • You’ll need an SLR camera, and lenses up around 400mm (or 35mm equivalent) though ideally, you’ll have two SLR camera bodies, so that you don’t have to change lenses during fast-paced shooting, like when photographing birds in flight. You’ll receive advice on all gear necessary after signing up and Martin is always there to answer any other questions you might have

What is included in the Package?

  • Accommodation on Sunday night before we kick off the tour
  • All accommodation and meals during your tour
  • Flights from Tokyo Haneda airport to Hokkaido and back
  • A chartered bus with driver (and lots of luggage space) to transport us safely and comfortably around Japan for the entire trip
  • A representative from our Tour Operator partner travels with us throughout to ensure all the logistics run smoothly, which also frees up Martin to give full attention to the group
  • Admission fees to planned facilities and excursions, such as the crane center and chartered boat to photograph the Eagles

 

What is NOT included in the Package?

  • Your flight or travel costs to the meeting points in Tokyo or back home after the tours
  • Hotels while traveling prior to or following the tour/workshops (although we can help with booking your Tokyo hotels for one or two nights before and/or after the tour as necessary)
  • Evening meal on the Sunday evening before the tour starts
  • Beverages or additional items ordered during meals
  • The cost of the optional Shinto blessing in Rausu

A Word on Insurance

Our Tour Operator carries standard insurance necessary by Japanese law but you are strongly advised to arrange the following insurance:

  • Travel Insurance — If you fall sick or have an accident during the course of the trip, you will miss part of your tour, and possibly incur hospital fees and other expenses that can mount up. We strongly advise you to take out travel insurance for yourself for the entire length of the trip in advance of departure
  • Cancellation Insurance — This is often included in your Travel Insurance, but if for any reason you have to cancel your tour, cancellation insurance can help you recuperate your costs
  • Note that travel and cancellation insurance usually has to be bought within 10 days of booking the tour or less. Please check on this as soon as you book.
  • Camera Equipment Insurance — We also suggest that you insure your photography equipment and belongings if not included in your home or travel insurance. If you already have your gear insured, double check that you are covered for international travel too, if you are visiting Japan from another country

Influenza Vaccinations

You do not need any special vaccinations for Japan, but you are strongly advised to ensure that you’ve had an influenza shot for that season by no later than two weeks prior to coming to Japan. These tours coincide with the flu season here in Japan, and we would not like you to lose valuable photography days in bed or risk infecting the rest of the group, if we can help it. Vaccinations are not 100% though. It’s good practice to wash your hands and gargle with water when you get to your hotel, especially after traveling on public transport.

2018 Guidebook CoverGuidebook PDF

After you sign up, you will receive a PDF document to help you with your preparations. This will contain details on recommended camera gear, cold weather clothing, and advice on Japanese etiquette to help make your stay in Japan as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. There is also a detailed itinerary, maps and hotel phone numbers etc. to leave with your loved ones while you’re away.

Cost & Reservation

The tour costs vary depending on your room preference. The standard single room is ¥645,000 (approx. US$5,875) with the possibility of sharing for two to a maximum of four of our eleven nights. If you would like to guarantee a single room for the duration, there is a single supplement of ¥38,000 (approx. US$346) payable with your balance.

Double rooms, for couples or room-mates that will share a room for the duration of the tour, your tour fee will be discounted to ¥607,000 (approx. US$5,529) per person.

To book please pay a reservation fee / deposit of ¥115,000 (approx. US$1,047) by credit card, PayPal or bank transfer using the buttons below. The tour fee balance according to your room preference will payable 90 days before departure. The total tour fees are comprised of the deposit and balance payments.

(Current rate used: 1 USD = 109.7885 JPY)

Note that the US dollar amounts displayed here are updated dynamically every hour, for your reference, but may vary slightly from what you pay due to varying rates used by credit cards and paypal during the conversion from Japanese Yen to your local currency.

NOTES:

  • The dollar amounts stated on this page are for reference only – fees are payable in Japanese Yen (¥) which is handled by our shopping cart and automatically calculated to your local currency by your credit card company or bank
  • You can select to pay by bank transfer when you check out, and you will be sent our business account details
  • Please ensure that you send the balance in Japanese Yen for this tour. If sending in Yen is not possible, ask your bank to calculate the price based on their current rates before sending
  • If you want to book for more than one person you can change the number of participants in the shopping cart before checking out
  • Tours require a minimum of ten (10) participants to go ahead. We’ll let you know, but please ensure that the tour has reached the minimum number of participants before you purchase any flights that require large cancellations fees, or ensure that you purchase travel/cancellation insurance to protect your investment
  • There is a maximum of 12 to 14 people per tour depending on how many couples join us

 

Cancellation Policy/Fees

Reservation Fee / Deposit – If you cancel up to one year before the start date of your tour, your deposit will be refunded. If you decide to cancel less than one year before the start of the tour, your reservation fee will be refunded only if we are able to back-fill your place (see notes below)

Tour Fees / Balance – If you cancel your reservation the following charges will be payable (see notes below)

  • If you cancel more than 61 days before the start of your tour fee (balance) will be refunded in full
  • From 60 to 31 days before the start of the trip, cancellation fees are 25% of your tour fee (balance)
  • From 30 to 8 days before the start of the trip, cancellation fees are 50% of your tour fee (balance)
  • From 7 days to 72 hours before the start of the trip, cancellation fees are 75% of your tour fee (balance)
  • If you cancel less than 72 hours before the start of the trip, we cannot refund your tour fee (balance)

Notes on Cancellation Fees and Notification Timing

  • Any transfer charges and transaction fees incurred on accepting and/or refunding any payments will be deducted from any refund amounts due
  • The number of days to tour start are calculated from 9am Japan Standard Time (UTC + 9 hours). Email received after 6pm JST on the previous day will be calculated from 9am JST the following day.


Booking and Balance Payment

Payment can be made in US Dollars ($) or Japanese Yen (¥) but if possible, please switch to Japanese Yen with the pull-down below before proceeding, as all expenses for this tour are payable in Yen. Any credit card payments will automatically be converted to your local currency by your credit card company. If you have any questions or problems with payment, please let us know.

This tour is now sold out. Please consider booking on either of our 2020 Tours here. If you’d like to be placed on the waitlist for 2019 please drop me a line via our Contact form.

Currency Selector

Please note that this tour is payable in United States dollars. If prices below are not in dollars, please selected United States dollars in the pulldown below before proceeding.

 

Reservation/Deposit Payments

Tour #1

Jan 27 – Feb 8, 2019

Tour #2

Feb 17 – Mar 1, 2019

This tour is now full. Please contact us if you would like to be added to the cancellation list and/or consider joining the 2020 Tour.

This tour is now full. Please contact us if you would like to be added to the cancellation list and/or consider joining the 2020 Tour.

 

Balance payments are due 3 months prior to start date. The total tour costs are made up of the deposit and balance payments. For information please see the Cost & Reservation section above.

Balance Payments

Tour #1

Jan 27 – Feb 8, 2019

Tour #2

Feb 17 – Mar 1, 2019

 

Participant Testimonials

The Martin Bailey Hokkaido experience is a cornucopia of great photography locations, people, learning, and fellowship. It was as much a cultural experience as it was a photographic...

The Martin Bailey Hokkaido experience is a cornucopia of great photography locations, people, learning, and fellowship. It was as much a cultural experience as it was a photographic one. Martin's command of the language and familiarity with the locations ensured a hassle-free trip. It was an amazing experience to be surrounded by encouraging colleagues in a non-competitive environment with unrestricted access to such a competent and approachable teacher.

2011 Update: This was my third time on the tour and definitely not my last. That should speak bundles.

The Martin Bailey Hokkaido experience is a cornucopia of great photography locations, people, learning, and fellowship. It was as much a cultural experience as it was a photographic one. Martin's command of the language and familiarity with the locations ensured a hassle-free trip. It was an amazing experience to be surrounded by encouraging colleagues in a non-competitive environment with unrestricted access to such a competent and approachable teacher.

2011 Update: This was my third time on the tour and definitely not my last. That should speak bundles.

A cornucopia of great photography locations, people, learning and fellowship!

Unbelievable photographic opportunities, outstanding food and superb company made for a truly memorable experience. I shot some of my best images ever! Thank you Martin!...

Unbelievable photographic opportunities, outstanding food and superb company made for a truly memorable experience. I shot some of my best images ever! Thank you Martin!

Unbelievable photographic opportunities, outstanding food and superb company made for a truly memorable experience. I shot some of my best images ever! Thank you Martin!

Unbelievable photographic opportunities, outstanding food and superb company!

Martin's passion for photography is infectious. Whether you're standing in the dark, at minus 15 degrees, wearing nearly every item of clothing you brought, waiting for a sunrise, or...

Martin's passion for photography is infectious. Whether you're standing in the dark, at minus 15 degrees, wearing nearly every item of clothing you brought, waiting for a sunrise, or sitting on the floor in traditional Japanese attire over dinner (with beer), you are inspired by his enthusiasm, knowledge, and desire to help you master your craft. This trip was a magical blend of opportunity and expertise. If you're looking for a unique insight into the photographic opportunities of Japan wildlife and landscape, this is the perfect trip! Martin's trips will book quickly as word spreads - don't miss out.

Martin's passion for photography is infectious. Whether you're standing in the dark, at minus 15 degrees, wearing nearly every item of clothing you brought, waiting for a sunrise, or sitting on the floor in traditional Japanese attire over dinner (with beer), you are inspired by his enthusiasm, knowledge, and desire to help you master your craft. This trip was a magical blend of opportunity and expertise. If you're looking for a unique insight into the photographic opportunities of Japan wildlife and landscape, this is the perfect trip! Martin's trips will book quickly as word spreads - don't miss out.

Martin’s passion for photography is infectious!

The Snow Monkey and Hokkaido Photography Tour exceeded all expectations. Martin is very generous with his photographic knowledge and technical assistance - but never obtrusive. I was...

The Snow Monkey and Hokkaido Photography Tour exceeded all expectations. Martin is very generous with his photographic knowledge and technical assistance - but never obtrusive. I was already shooting in manual mode, but returned home with far greater camera skills and the ability to manually control the shots that I wanted. For the first time I had images of a high enough quality to enter in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. The tour was also excellent culturally with many memorable traditional Japanese meals....and baths!

The Snow Monkey and Hokkaido Photography Tour exceeded all expectations. Martin is very generous with his photographic knowledge and technical assistance - but never obtrusive. I was already shooting in manual mode, but returned home with far greater camera skills and the ability to manually control the shots that I wanted. For the first time I had images of a high enough quality to enter in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. The tour was also excellent culturally with many memorable traditional Japanese meals....and baths!

The tour exceeded all expectations!

Attending MBP Workshop 2011 was a unique experience and great introduction to Japanese culture and wildlife. The workshop was well organised and gives the photographer great freedom....

Attending MBP Workshop 2011 was a unique experience and great introduction to Japanese culture and wildlife. The workshop was well organised and gives the photographer great freedom. Highly recommended!!!

Attending MBP Workshop 2011 was a unique experience and great introduction to Japanese culture and wildlife. The workshop was well organised and gives the photographer great freedom. Highly recommended!!!

Highly recommended!!!

Martin's Hokkaido Tour and Workshop was a delightfully rich, rewarding and enjoyable experience both photographically and culturally. Martin's fluency in Japanese, in-depth knowledge...

Martin's Hokkaido Tour and Workshop was a delightfully rich, rewarding and enjoyable experience both photographically and culturally. Martin's fluency in Japanese, in-depth knowledge of the locations, friendly nature and extensive photographic knowledge and skills (which he willingly shared) make him a great guide, teacher and companion. Thanks to Martin's expert assistance and advice together with spectacular locations and vantage points, I came home with some of the best photos I've ever taken. And I'm now shooting confidently in manual - which, I discovered, is important with wildlife than can move rapidly!

Martin's Hokkaido Tour and Workshop was a delightfully rich, rewarding and enjoyable experience both photographically and culturally. Martin's fluency in Japanese, in-depth knowledge of the locations, friendly nature and extensive photographic knowledge and skills (which he willingly shared) make him a great guide, teacher and companion. Thanks to Martin's expert assistance and advice together with spectacular locations and vantage points, I came home with some of the best photos I've ever taken. And I'm now shooting confidently in manual - which, I discovered, is important with wildlife than can move rapidly!

A delightfully rich, rewarding and enjoyable experience!

Excellent tour which I would recommend for anyone interested in improving their photographic skills and the opportunity to see some wonderful wildlife. A real privilege. The flexibility...

Excellent tour which I would recommend for anyone interested in improving their photographic skills and the opportunity to see some wonderful wildlife. A real privilege. The flexibility of the tour enabled us to see cranes performing beautiful dancing whilst it was snowing which I shall never forget. Being at the various locations for a few days was great as not only did it give the opportunity to improve on taking photos but gave a small appreciation and understanding of the animal's behaviour and hence look out for more specific shots to take. The tour was well organised, ran smoothly to Martin and the Tour Operator's credit. The hotels were very good and it was great experiencing a bit of Japanese culture and food again. Thanks for a memorable tour.

Excellent tour which I would recommend for anyone interested in improving their photographic skills and the opportunity to see some wonderful wildlife. A real privilege. The flexibility of the tour enabled us to see cranes performing beautiful dancing whilst it was snowing which I shall never forget. Being at the various locations for a few days was great as not only did it give the opportunity to improve on taking photos but gave a small appreciation and understanding of the animal's behaviour and hence look out for more specific shots to take. The tour was well organised, ran smoothly to Martin and the Tour Operator's credit. The hotels were very good and it was great experiencing a bit of Japanese culture and food again. Thanks for a memorable tour.

The hotels were very good and it was great experiencing a bit of Japanese culture!

Great Tour from the first until the last moment. A great group with a high understanding of photography, and great organization. Martin gave us great teaching in Manual Mode, Lightroom...

Great Tour from the first until the last moment. A great group with a high understanding of photography, and great organization. Martin gave us great teaching in Manual Mode, Lightroom and Color Management etc. Even the experienced Photographer can learn something.

Great Tour from the first until the last moment. A great group with a high understanding of photography, and great organization. Martin gave us great teaching in Manual Mode, Lightroom and Color Management etc. Even the experienced Photographer can learn something.

Great Tour from the first until the last moment!

I participated in the MBP Tour and Workshop in Nagano and Hokkaido in Feb 2011. I had little Wildlife photography experience prior to the Tour. However, my understanding and appreciation...

I participated in the MBP Tour and Workshop in Nagano and Hokkaido in Feb 2011. I had little Wildlife photography experience prior to the Tour. However, my understanding and appreciation of this facet has grown considerably because of my participation. The itinerary, the organisation, the photography mentoring, the wildlife, the scenery, the accommodation, the food, the cameraderie within the group, all added to the fun of involvement. Martin's friendliness, approachability, knowledge of photography and Japan and the language, ensured a memorable and rewarding experience, that I would recommend to anyone interested.

I participated in the MBP Tour and Workshop in Nagano and Hokkaido in Feb 2011. I had little Wildlife photography experience prior to the Tour. However, my understanding and appreciation of this facet has grown considerably because of my participation. The itinerary, the organisation, the photography mentoring, the wildlife, the scenery, the accommodation, the food, the cameraderie within the group, all added to the fun of involvement. Martin's friendliness, approachability, knowledge of photography and Japan and the language, ensured a memorable and rewarding experience, that I would recommend to anyone interested.

A memorable and rewarding experience!

The helpful tour operator, Yukiko, is definitely the best guide one can have on this planet "fullstop". I am very happy to meet Martin in person, who gave me back my motivation about...

The helpful tour operator, Yukiko, is definitely the best guide one can have on this planet "fullstop". I am very happy to meet Martin in person, who gave me back my motivation about photography, even with being on the field again. Taking great shots of White-tailed eagles , Steller's Sea Eagels and Blakiston's Fish owl is good enough for making this trip a very successful one, however all the workshops and Martin's on the field instructions about photography in general, made this trip an unbeatable one , I'll go anywhere with you Martin. After 8 years of photographing wildlife, I just started to shoot "manual" and started to get wonderful results thanks to Martin's excellent lectures and tips. CU again Martin!

The helpful tour operator, Yukiko, is definitely the best guide one can have on this planet "fullstop". I am very happy to meet Martin in person, who gave me back my motivation about photography, even with being on the field again. Taking great shots of White-tailed eagles , Steller's Sea Eagels and Blakiston's Fish owl is good enough for making this trip a very successful one, however all the workshops and Martin's on the field instructions about photography in general, made this trip an unbeatable one , I'll go anywhere with you Martin. After 8 years of photographing wildlife, I just started to shoot "manual" and started to get wonderful results thanks to Martin's excellent lectures and tips. CU again Martin!

I’ll go anywhere with you Martin!

I have been on many photographic tours and workshops in recent years and would rank MBP Snow Monkeys and Hokkaido Tour and Workshop as one of the very best. The trip organization was...

I have been on many photographic tours and workshops in recent years and would rank MBP Snow Monkeys and Hokkaido Tour and Workshop as one of the very best. The trip organization was excellent with very good pre-trip information and help throughout the trip. Martin knows exactly where to be and when to be there to get the best shots. He was always available to answer photographic as well as cultural questions.

I think photographers of all levels would benefit from this tour/workshop. I particularly enjoyed the introduction to Japanese culture and cuisine, a wonderful bonus to an exceptional photographic experience. In comparing trips to photograph Japanese wildlife in winter I also found the Martin Bailey trip to be an excellent value for what was provided.

I have been on many photographic tours and workshops in recent years and would rank MBP Snow Monkeys and Hokkaido Tour and Workshop as one of the very best. The trip organization was excellent with very good pre-trip information and help throughout the trip. Martin knows exactly where to be and when to be there to get the best shots. He was always available to answer photographic as well as cultural questions.

I think photographers of all levels would benefit from this tour/workshop. I particularly enjoyed the introduction to Japanese culture and cuisine, a wonderful bonus to an exceptional photographic experience. In comparing trips to photograph Japanese wildlife in winter I also found the Martin Bailey trip to be an excellent value for what was provided.

Martin was always available to answer photographic and cultural questions

I want to thank you for a wonderful trip to Japan. You developed a terrific itinerary that included traditional lodging and food, fantastic opportunities to take pictures of snow monkeys,...

I want to thank you for a wonderful trip to Japan. You developed a terrific itinerary that included traditional lodging and food, fantastic opportunities to take pictures of snow monkeys, Japanese Red-crowned cranes, Sea Eagles and much more. I would also like to commend you on what I consider your natural ability to teach. I learned so much on this trip.

I want to thank you for a wonderful trip to Japan. You developed a terrific itinerary that included traditional lodging and food, fantastic opportunities to take pictures of snow monkeys, Japanese Red-crowned cranes, Sea Eagles and much more. I would also like to commend you on what I consider your natural ability to teach. I learned so much on this trip.

You developed a terrific itinerary!

My time at your snow monkey workshop in Jigokudani was so much fun! Thank you for all you taught me - exposure, composition, color management, Lightroom processing, workflow and more....

My time at your snow monkey workshop in Jigokudani was so much fun! Thank you for all you taught me - exposure, composition, color management, Lightroom processing, workflow and more. The teacher we know from the podcasts is even better in person!

My time at your snow monkey workshop in Jigokudani was so much fun! Thank you for all you taught me - exposure, composition, color management, Lightroom processing, workflow and more. The teacher we know from the podcasts is even better in person!

The teacher we know from the podcasts is even better in person!

I highly recommend Martin Bailey's Hokkaido tour, in particular, because Martin is not only a responsible, knowledgeable, forthcoming and nice guy, but also a superb photographer himself,...

I highly recommend Martin Bailey's Hokkaido tour, in particular, because Martin is not only a responsible, knowledgeable, forthcoming and nice guy, but also a superb photographer himself, who knows all the right places.

Martin's organization was meticulous and his Japanese language skills were key, from getting us from Tokyo to Hokkaido (and back) as well as to the different photo shoots and hotels (via bus), everything went smoothly and without a hitch. The hotels were very nice and the food plentiful and good to excellent.

Martin answers questions regarding choice and use of equipment, photography in general, and provides advice on the challenges of photographing the different locations etc. At the moment I can't think of anything else - besides the 2010 tour and the challenge of selecting my favorites from 2009. 🙂

I highly recommend Martin Bailey's Hokkaido tour, in particular, because Martin is not only a responsible, knowledgeable, forthcoming and nice guy, but also a superb photographer himself, who knows all the right places.

Martin's organization was meticulous and his Japanese language skills were key, from getting us from Tokyo to Hokkaido (and back) as well as to the different photo shoots and hotels (via bus), everything went smoothly and without a hitch. The hotels were very nice and the food plentiful and good to excellent.

Martin answers questions regarding choice and use of equipment, photography in general, and provides advice on the challenges of photographing the different locations etc. At the moment I can't think of anything else - besides the 2010 tour and the challenge of selecting my favorites from 2009. 🙂

Martin’s organization was meticulous and his Japanese language skills were key!

From the moment we all met at Haneda Airport, the trip was 'flawless". The organization and execution of the entire trip was meticulous and well thought out, the hotel accommodation...

From the moment we all met at Haneda Airport, the trip was 'flawless". The organization and execution of the entire trip was meticulous and well thought out, the hotel accommodation plush, and the local cuisine exquisite.

Martin's eloquent skill in the Japanese language, and having excellent mastery of the local environment meant he was able to deliver the very best of Hokkaido for both wildlife and landscape photo opportunities.

I had always struggled with the intricacy of exposure and I never shot in full manual mode, Martin's insight on these topics is ingenious, suffice to say, after the trip, I now only ever shoot in full manual mode. Martin's tutoring meant I came away from the Hokkaido tour with many 1st class photos of Japanese Red-Crowned Cranes, Eagles, Ezo Deer and a sound understanding of photography. This tour truly delivers a Hokkaido Winter Wonderland Workshop

From the moment we all met at Haneda Airport, the trip was 'flawless". The organization and execution of the entire trip was meticulous and well thought out, the hotel accommodation plush, and the local cuisine exquisite.

Martin's eloquent skill in the Japanese language, and having excellent mastery of the local environment meant he was able to deliver the very best of Hokkaido for both wildlife and landscape photo opportunities.

I had always struggled with the intricacy of exposure and I never shot in full manual mode, Martin's insight on these topics is ingenious, suffice to say, after the trip, I now only ever shoot in full manual mode. Martin's tutoring meant I came away from the Hokkaido tour with many 1st class photos of Japanese Red-Crowned Cranes, Eagles, Ezo Deer and a sound understanding of photography. This tour truly delivers a Hokkaido Winter Wonderland Workshop

This tour truly delivers a Hokkaido Winter Wonderland Workshop!

We particularly wanted to improve our ability to capture birds in flight during this trip, and we have certainly achieved that. Using back button focusing helped us to improve, as did...

We particularly wanted to improve our ability to capture birds in flight during this trip, and we have certainly achieved that. Using back button focusing helped us to improve, as did a clearer understanding of our cameras' auto focus features. Thank you Martin. Photographing the eagles taking fish from the water was an experience we will never forget, and just one of many highlights.

We particularly wanted to improve our ability to capture birds in flight during this trip, and we have certainly achieved that. Using back button focusing helped us to improve, as did a clearer understanding of our cameras' auto focus features. Thank you Martin. Photographing the eagles taking fish from the water was an experience we will never forget, and just one of many highlights.

We improved our ability to capture birds in flight!

Many thanks for organising and running such a good trip – I have now been on many wildlife photographic trips, and this rates as one of the very best. Martin's passion for the subject...

Many thanks for organising and running such a good trip – I have now been on many wildlife photographic trips, and this rates as one of the very best. Martin's passion for the subject and clear enthusiasm for running the trip was clear to everyone. And Martin's technical knowledge of photography is second to none. Many, many thanks.

Many thanks for organising and running such a good trip – I have now been on many wildlife photographic trips, and this rates as one of the very best. Martin's passion for the subject and clear enthusiasm for running the trip was clear to everyone. And Martin's technical knowledge of photography is second to none. Many, many thanks.

Martin’s passion and enthusiasm for running the trip was clear!

Your organisation and contact before the tour was unlike any other and very impressive, and continued throughout the tour. Everything ran so smoothly (even when things weren't going...

Your organisation and contact before the tour was unlike any other and very impressive, and continued throughout the tour. Everything ran so smoothly (even when things weren't going to plan!) The variety in wildlife and landscape was also brilliant and having the chance to go back to the same places over a couple of days and in different conditions really gave me the chance to improve on my skills. Your workshops were also really helpful and I have definitely noticed an improvement in my images over the two weeks - some of the images I've taken are unlike anything I thought I was capable of before the trip!

Your organisation and contact before the tour was unlike any other and very impressive, and continued throughout the tour. Everything ran so smoothly (even when things weren't going to plan!) The variety in wildlife and landscape was also brilliant and having the chance to go back to the same places over a couple of days and in different conditions really gave me the chance to improve on my skills. Your workshops were also really helpful and I have definitely noticed an improvement in my images over the two weeks - some of the images I've taken are unlike anything I thought I was capable of before the trip!

Everything ran so smoothly even when things weren’t going to plan!

Martin Bailey’s Winter Wonderland Photography Tour was an outstanding experience. We have participated in a significant number of photo tours and this one ranks among our very best....

Martin Bailey’s Winter Wonderland Photography Tour was an outstanding experience. We have participated in a significant number of photo tours and this one ranks among our very best. We returned with an amazing number and variety of quality images. Martin worked very hard to put us in the right place at the right time to get everything possible from the trip. An added dimension was the quality of the instruction and his concern with everyone getting the benefit of his experience with suggestions for camera settings and compositions. The food, accommodations and cultural experiences exceeded what we expected.

Martin Bailey’s Winter Wonderland Photography Tour was an outstanding experience. We have participated in a significant number of photo tours and this one ranks among our very best. We returned with an amazing number and variety of quality images. Martin worked very hard to put us in the right place at the right time to get everything possible from the trip. An added dimension was the quality of the instruction and his concern with everyone getting the benefit of his experience with suggestions for camera settings and compositions. The food, accommodations and cultural experiences exceeded what we expected.

This tour ranks among our very best!

Martin organizes and runs a great tour. I attended the 2016 Winter Wildlife Tour. I love going on tours that offer the chance to photograph a variety of subjects. This tour provided...

Martin organizes and runs a great tour. I attended the 2016 Winter Wildlife Tour. I love going on tours that offer the chance to photograph a variety of subjects. This tour provided non-stop photo opportunities. The highlight for me was watching and photographing the White-Tailed and Steller Sea Eagles. Martin also exposes his guests to Japanese culture which was a great experience.

Martin organizes and runs a great tour. I attended the 2016 Winter Wildlife Tour. I love going on tours that offer the chance to photograph a variety of subjects. This tour provided non-stop photo opportunities. The highlight for me was watching and photographing the White-Tailed and Steller Sea Eagles. Martin also exposes his guests to Japanese culture which was a great experience.

Martin organizes and runs a great tour!

The Snow Monkeys & Hokkaido Tour and Workshop exceeded my expectations on all levels. The wildlife was amazing, the Japanese winter wonderland was beautiful and on top of that we got...

The Snow Monkeys & Hokkaido Tour and Workshop exceeded my expectations on all levels. The wildlife was amazing, the Japanese winter wonderland was beautiful and on top of that we got a glimpse into japanese culture. The whole tour was perfectly organized by Martin and his wonderful crew which relieved us from all the tedious bits and pieces that come along with such a journey. The icing on the cake is Martin's way to share knowledge and to give lessons on how to photograph in snow and the existing weather conditions. The tour is quite demanding and certainly no vacation but it is worth every effort.

The Snow Monkeys & Hokkaido Tour and Workshop exceeded my expectations on all levels. The wildlife was amazing, the Japanese winter wonderland was beautiful and on top of that we got a glimpse into japanese culture. The whole tour was perfectly organized by Martin and his wonderful crew which relieved us from all the tedious bits and pieces that come along with such a journey. The icing on the cake is Martin's way to share knowledge and to give lessons on how to photograph in snow and the existing weather conditions. The tour is quite demanding and certainly no vacation but it is worth every effort.

Exceeded my expectations on all levels!

Truly, Martin, I have been participating in workshops for many years with some of the world's best, but your commitment to helping your clients realize their full potential as artists...

Truly, Martin, I have been participating in workshops for many years with some of the world's best, but your commitment to helping your clients realize their full potential as artists — in preparation, image capture, and post-capture interpretation — is without equal.

Truly, Martin, I have been participating in workshops for many years with some of the world's best, but your commitment to helping your clients realize their full potential as artists — in preparation, image capture, and post-capture interpretation — is without equal.

Your commitment to helping your clients is without equal!

Martin is an excellent teacher. Very patient, and with a wonderful sense of humour. He knows Japan, particularly Hokkaido, because he’s lived here for over 26 years, and has chosen...

Martin is an excellent teacher. Very patient, and with a wonderful sense of humour. He knows Japan, particularly Hokkaido, because he’s lived here for over 26 years, and has chosen excellent locations, none of which disappointed – no small feat considering how reliant on weather we were. He’s well-organized and if anything didn’t go according to plan I certainly didn’t notice a glitch in the matrix. But for a guy who’s so easy-going he can really march his troops, and we were up at some lunatic hours, one morning my alarm went as early as 4:00am. Thank God you can get coffee in the vending machines. If you’re looking for a relaxing holiday, this isn’t it, though the food, sake, and abundant hot springs took the sting out of the early mornings and long hours.

Martin is an excellent teacher. Very patient, and with a wonderful sense of humour. He knows Japan, particularly Hokkaido, because he’s lived here for over 26 years, and has chosen excellent locations, none of which disappointed – no small feat considering how reliant on weather we were. He’s well-organized and if anything didn’t go according to plan I certainly didn’t notice a glitch in the matrix. But for a guy who’s so easy-going he can really march his troops, and we were up at some lunatic hours, one morning my alarm went as early as 4:00am. Thank God you can get coffee in the vending machines. If you’re looking for a relaxing holiday, this isn’t it, though the food, sake, and abundant hot springs took the sting out of the early mornings and long hours.

Martin is an excellent teacher. Very patient, and with a wonderful sense of humour!

I was so impressed with the 2014 Hokkaido winter wildlife tour that I also joined the 2015 Hokkaido Winter Landscape tour. Both tours were truly outstanding. On the wildlife tour, the...

I was so impressed with the 2014 Hokkaido winter wildlife tour that I also joined the 2015 Hokkaido Winter Landscape tour. Both tours were truly outstanding. On the wildlife tour, the quantity of cranes, eagles, snow monkeys, etc., far exceeded expectations. The weather presented us with some challenges but plans were quickly adjusted to provide an extremely productive and rewarding photo tour. The tour/workshop was very professionally planned, organized and executed.

Similarly, during the Landscape tour, all efforts were made to provide us with interesting locations that would be appropriate for the existing lighting and snow conditions.  Such planning and execution would not be possible without Martin’s in depth experience in Japan and particularly in Hokkaido. As MB photography podcast listeners would agree, Martin is extremely knowledgeable on the technical and artistic aspects of photography and he is always eager to educate and provide assistance to all participants, regardless of skill levels.  It should also be mentioned that the Japan tour operator support, transportation, lodging, meals, onsen, etc., all contributed to a unique, enjoyable, Hokkaido photographic experience —Highly recommended!

I was so impressed with the 2014 Hokkaido winter wildlife tour that I also joined the 2015 Hokkaido Winter Landscape tour. Both tours were truly outstanding. On the wildlife tour, the quantity of cranes, eagles, snow monkeys, etc., far exceeded expectations. The weather presented us with some challenges but plans were quickly adjusted to provide an extremely productive and rewarding photo tour. The tour/workshop was very professionally planned, organized and executed.

Similarly, during the Landscape tour, all efforts were made to provide us with interesting locations that would be appropriate for the existing lighting and snow conditions.  Such planning and execution would not be possible without Martin’s in depth experience in Japan and particularly in Hokkaido. As MB photography podcast listeners would agree, Martin is extremely knowledgeable on the technical and artistic aspects of photography and he is always eager to educate and provide assistance to all participants, regardless of skill levels.  It should also be mentioned that the Japan tour operator support, transportation, lodging, meals, onsen, etc., all contributed to a unique, enjoyable, Hokkaido photographic experience —Highly recommended!

Very professionally planned, organized and executed!

I have taken photography workshops in Australia, France, USA, the Falkland Islands, the Subantarctic and Japan and Martin Bailey is the best tour leader I have encountered. The organisation...

I have taken photography workshops in Australia, France, USA, the Falkland Islands, the Subantarctic and Japan and Martin Bailey is the best tour leader I have encountered. The organisation of his tour was second to none and Martin makes sure that he maximises the photographic opportunities available to his tour participants.

Not only did we visit the best photographic locations, I also learned new camera and post-processing techniques resulting in images which have won in photography competitions and been included in the Photographic Society of America’s PID Interclub Best of the Best for 2016. I would highly recommend Martin as a tour leader.

I have taken photography workshops in Australia, France, USA, the Falkland Islands, the Subantarctic and Japan and Martin Bailey is the best tour leader I have encountered. The organisation of his tour was second to none and Martin makes sure that he maximises the photographic opportunities available to his tour participants.

Not only did we visit the best photographic locations, I also learned new camera and post-processing techniques resulting in images which have won in photography competitions and been included in the Photographic Society of America’s PID Interclub Best of the Best for 2016. I would highly recommend Martin as a tour leader.

Martin maximises photographic opportunities for participants

Liz and I wanted to once again say thanks for a terrific tour with the snow monkeys and the wildlife of Hokkaido. We enjoyed all aspects of our time with our special group (the very...

Liz and I wanted to once again say thanks for a terrific tour with the snow monkeys and the wildlife of Hokkaido. We enjoyed all aspects of our time with our special group (the very early mornings somewhat less) and especially your instruction and mentoring all along the way. The tour conductor's constant oversight ensured an effortless trip for us and made us feel more like family than clients. As a business owner, I know how much work and effort goes into setting up the logistics for a trip such as this, as well as the effort required to make the field work come together seamlessly. I commend you for your tireless efforts throughout our journey in Japan.

Liz and I wanted to once again say thanks for a terrific tour with the snow monkeys and the wildlife of Hokkaido. We enjoyed all aspects of our time with our special group (the very early mornings somewhat less) and especially your instruction and mentoring all along the way. The tour conductor's constant oversight ensured an effortless trip for us and made us feel more like family than clients. As a business owner, I know how much work and effort goes into setting up the logistics for a trip such as this, as well as the effort required to make the field work come together seamlessly. I commend you for your tireless efforts throughout our journey in Japan.

You made us feel more like family than clients
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Any Questions?

If you are interested in coming along but want more information, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to seeing you in Japan, for the photography tour and workshop of a lifetime!

— Martin Bailey.

Related Blog Posts and Podcasts

If you are interested, you might want to check out the following blog posts and podcasts…

2018 Tour#2

2018 Tour#1

2017 Tour#2

2017 Tour#1

2016 Tour#2

2016 Tour#1

2015 Tours

2014 Tours

2013 Tour

2012 Tour

2011 Tour

2010 Tour

Note that these Podcasts and many others are also available in iTunes.

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