A Tender Moment… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

A Tender Moment...

What’s Up?

It is just before 6am here in Nagano, Japan. I had forgotten how elegant the 150 year old very traditional Snow Monkey Park Hotel is. We enjoyed our first of three amazing ten course Japanese dinners last night. As always when in Japan, I visited the onsen for a traditional hot springs bath. They have both indoor and outdoor onsens here at the hotel. We charted a very nice bus for our trip from the Tokyo hotel to Nagano and made it up the hill for our first Snow Monkey session. Breakfast is at 7:30 and then it is back up the hill for a full day of Snow Monkeys.

I was thrilled to learn yesterday that multiple IPt veterans Frank and Laurie Sheets (Bosque 2015 and San Diego 2016) signed up for the 2017 Galapagos Photo-Cruise while enjoyed a very fine couples discount.

Used Photo Gear News

The sale of Phil Frigon’s Canon 200-400 f/4L IS with Internal Extender for $8995 is pending. Carl Zanoni’s three Series III TCs sold instantly for $279 each and I learned on Monday that the sale of one of his 1D X bodies is pending. David Ramirez sold his Think Tank rolling bag, Doug Bolt sold his Canon 400m f/5.6L, Multiple IPT veteran Steve Leimberg sold his used Canon EOS 7D Mark II, and the sale of John Norris’s 1D X is also pending.

If anyone is interested in a second Nikon D4 body from Sash Dias at a great price, please shoot me an e-mail for details. Otherwise it will be listed tomorrow.

All in all, the place is really hopping! You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the right side of the yellow-orange menu bar above.


I learned recently that eBay recently more than doubled its fees to sellers…



B&H contributed generously as the primary SDNHM exhibition sponsor. Thank them (and me for the blog) by clicking on the logo link above to shop.


This image was created at the Snow Monkey Park in Nagano, Japan with the the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens at 400mm and the mega mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 2/3 stops off the shaded snow on the hillside was still about 2/3 of a stop under at: 1/400 sec. at f/6.3.

Two AF points above and one to the left of the center AF point/AI Servo Surround/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding).

Snow Monkey with young

A Tender Moment…

If you stay attentive at the monkey onsen you will be presented with some wonderful opportunities. Though I brought the tripod up the hill, I never used it and will not be bringing it up again on our two full days here. Hand holding allows you to move and react much more quickly than if you are working on a tripod. If it is very dark or snowy, you might get to see some more 5DS R ISO 1600 stuff.

The baby Snow Monkey in this image was a hoot, playing and whistling and running from mother to father to aunt almost nonstop. All in all, too cute!


Consider joining me in Japan in February, 2017, for the world’s best Japan in Winter workshop. Click on the card to enjoy the spectacular larger version.

Japan In Winter IPT. February 9-24, 2017: $13,999/double occupancy.

All lodging including the Tokyo hotel on 9 FEB, all breakfasts & dinners, ground transport and transfers including bus to the monkey park hotel, and all entrance fees and in-country flights are included. Not included: international flights, all lunches–most are on the run, and alcoholic beverages.

Please e-mail for couple and IPT repeat customer discount information.

This trip is one day longer than the great 2014 trip to allow for more flexibility, more time with the cranes, and most importantly, more time for landscape photography. Hokkaido is gorgeous. You will enjoy tons of pre-trip planning and gear advice, in-the-field instruction and guidance, at-the-lodge Photoshop and image review sessions in addition to short introductory slide programs for each of the amazing locations. Skilled photographer Paul McKenzie handles the logistics and we enjoy the services of Japan’s best wildlife photography guide whom I affectionately call “Hokkaido Bear.” His network of local contacts and his knowledge of the weather, the area, and the birds enables him to have us in the best location every day.


Amazing subjects. Beautiful settings. Nonstop action and unlimited opportunities. Join me.

The Logistics

Arrive Tokyo: 9 FEB 2017 the latest. 8 FEB is safer and gives you a day to get acclimated to the time change. Your hotel room for the night of the 9th is covered.

Bus Travel to Monkey Park Hotel: 10 FEB: A 1/2 DAY of monkey photography is likely depending on our travel time… This traditional hotel is first class all the way. Out stay includes three ten course Japanese dinners these sumptuous meals will astound you and delight your taste buds. There are many traditional hot baths (onsens) on site in this 150 year old hotel.

Full Day snow monkeys: FEB 11.

Full Day snow monkeys: FEB 12.

13 FEB: Full travel day to Hokkaido/arrive at our lodge in the late afternoon. The lodge is wonderful. All the rooms at the lodge have beds. Bring your warm pajamas. A local onsen (hot springs bath and tubs) is available for $5 each day before dinner–when you are cold, it is the best thing since sliced bread. The home-cooked Japanese styles meals at the lodge are to die for. What’s the best news? Only a small stand of woods separates us from the very best crane sanctuary. During one big snowstorm we were the only photo group to be able to get to Tsurui Ito; we had the whole place to ourselves in perfect conditions for crane photography!

FEB 14-23: Red-crowned Crane, raptors in flight, Whooper Swans, and scenic photography. Ural Owl possible. One 2-night trip to Rausu for Steller’s and White Tailed Sea Eagles on the tourists boats is 100% dependent weather, road, and sea ice conditions. Only our trip offers complete flexibility in this area. It has saved us on more than once occasion. An afternoon of duck photography in the harbor at Rausu is a strong possibility. The cost of 3 eagle-boat trips is included. If the group would like to do more than three boat trips and we all agree, there will be an additional charge for the extra trip or trips. Do understand that few if any tours offer at least one afternoon boat trip….

Lodging notes: bring your long johns for sleeping in the lodge. In Rausu and at the Snow Monkey Park, the hotel the rooms are Japanese-style. You sleep on comfortable mats on the floor. Wi-fi is available every day of the trip.

FEB 24. Fly back to Tokyo for transfer to your airport if you are flying home that night, or, to your hotel if you are overnighting. If you need to overnight, the cost of that room is on you.


Life is short. Hop on the merry-go-round.

To Sign Up

To save your spot, please send your $5,000 non-refundable deposit check made out to “Birds as Art” to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. I do hope that you can join me for this trip of a lifetime. Do e-mail with any questions or give me a buzz at 863-692-0906.

Purchasing travel insurance within 2 weeks of our cashing your deposit check is strongly recommended. On two fairly recent Galapagos cruises a total of 5 folks were forced to cancel less than one week prior to the trip. My family and I use Travel Insurance Services and strongly recommend that you do the same.

3 comments to A Tender Moment…