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Snow Monkey and Baby


Grand Prize Winner

Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards


Jigokudani Yaen-koen, Nagano, Japan

by Toshio Hagiwara

Nagano, Japan

“Snow swirled through the air as I laid on the frozen ground to create this unique perspective of a mother snow monkey with her baby clinging to her for warmth. As they traveled toward me along a well-worn trail, the powerful look in their eyes reflected the hardship of living in such an unforgiving environment.

“The day was overcast with snow falling. The low, flat light called for a higher ISO rating to achieve a fast shutter speed so I could hold the camera. Luckily, it is easy to change the ISO setting on my camera to accommodate various light conditions, so I bumped it up to 400.”

Jigokudani Yaen-koen is located at 2,800 feet in a mountainous region of Japan known for both its heavy winter snows and natural hot springs, which are frequented by monkeys and subsequently attract photographers from around the world.

Canon EOS 20D; 70-200mm lens; 1/250 sec at f/8; digital capture at ISO 400; handheld.

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