Hokkaido – Akan Crane Center

  • January 22, 2018

Today we left Tokyo while it was snowing there. With two guides mr Otani Chikara and ms Megumi Ageishi with us we arrived to Kushiro airport in Hokkaido and sun was shining from the blue sky. At the airport we met some of the local tourist board authorities and drove to Akan Crane Center. We had only one hour time to take photos of the Red-crowned Cranes, but luckily they were very active and even when our photography session was short we managed to get some nice photos of the Cranes. I have never seen so little snow in Akan, but all my previous 8 visits to Hokkaido have been later in winter in February. 

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1 Mark II + 40-150mm f2.8 (zoomed to 120mm), 1/1600s, f5.0, ISO200.

I like zoom lenses a lot – especially in this kind of places where subjects can be suddenly very close or then can be a large flock of them suddenly in the air. With the fixed lenses you have what you have length wise- but with the zoom lens you can quickly give more space for your subject. I find it also easier to compose the image more ready already in the field with zoom lenses!

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1 Mark II + 12-100 mm f4 (zoomed to 13mm), 1/640s, f9, ISO200. 

Here is another example of the situation where zoom lens was very useful! I heard from the calls of the Red-crowned Cranes that they are going to fly and I was ready with shorter zoom to fit all the birds in the image. 

Japanese television was also filming us today at Akan Crane Center. Here they made a interview with Mike Weedon from Birdwatching magazine. 

Here me and my Olympus gear in field- I have two cameras ready to shoot all the time. Other one has a 300mm lens on it and other one 40-150 mm lens. I use PhotoSpeed strap to carry two cameras and it is easy way to carry two cameras at the same time.  

We finished our photography at the Tsurui Kikuchi Farm with beautiful sunset, but unfortunately the Cranes didn´t fly in front of the setting sun. However we saw a rare bird to Hokkaido here- Common Crane (Grus grus) amongst the feeding Red-crowned Crane! It was here were I realized how large bird the Red-crowned Crane is when I could compare it with Common Crane directly!