Twenty years ago watching the opening scene of the 70mm movie Baraka at Randwick Cinema, my dream began. You know, where the snow monkey bathes peacefully in a steaming hot pool. Recently my dream came true – three incredible days with the snow macaques of Japan.
Accompanied by my faithful Nikon D4 and guides Yo and Mimi I finally arrived in Nagano after an 8-hour drive and 1-hour trek. I had my first hour with them before the light ran out.
Next day at sunrise, they must already have been comfortable with me as three different monkeys touched the lens to see what the fuss was about. The first monkey you see in the images came out of the water, grabbed the camera and also took a tight grip on my shutter finger. I didn’t panic in case I startled him and then the whole tribe.
He swung my hand and camera around, and looked through the viewfinder. No lie! (Nikon D4)
The park ranger wasn’t happy, but I certainly was.
Day 3 and the monkeys were quite aggressive when they came to the springs early. There was a lot of fighting and quarreling amongst them and three struck out at me – they were in a bad mood.
The Nikon D4 was a natural for these guys, handling the tricky lighting, steam and unpredictable movements. (Nikon D4)
But I made friends with two, who let me do my thing. ‘King Kong’ (yep that’s his nickname) is probably THE CUTEST wildlife photo I have ever taken!
This was a dream shoot in every way.