I reckon nature photography is my favorite photography genre.
Every time I see this wonderful image taken by one of our graduates Gary Nichols I marvel at the great job Gary has done in capturing the real essence of this setting.
The subject in this case is a beautiful snow monkey (Japanese Macaque)
If you are ever in Japan take the time to visit Jidokudani perhaps while on your way up to the snow at Shiga Kogen.
The Jigokudani Yaenkoen park which opened in 1964 is the place to go to see the Japanese Macaque. The Japanese Macaque (Macaca fuscata) is a monkey species native to northern Japan, and is the most northern-living non-human primate, surviving winter temperatures of below -15 °C. They have brown-gray fur, a red face, hands and bottom, and a short tail – and often seem remarkably human like.
In the wild they spend most of their time in forests and feed on seeds, buds, fruit, invertebrates, berries, leaves, and bark. The monkeys have a body length ranging from 80 to 95 cm. The males weigh around 10-14 kg while the females are usually around 5.5 kg.
The park is located in the Yokoyu River valley, which flows down from Shiga Kogen. At an elevation of 850 meters, the area is called Jigokudani (“Hell’s Valley”) due to the steep cliffs and hot water steaming out from the earth’s surface. It’s also a fairly harsh environment in winter with snow on the ground for a third of the year, but it is also a paradise for the couple of hundred monkeys that live there. How good is it that visitors can enter their world and watch them enjoying themselves. Watching the monkeys play and just go about their daily lives is a lot of fun. All the time the monkeys basically just ignore their human watchers and just get on with whatever it is they want to be doing.
It was very inspiring to see Gary develop as a photographer while he studied with us and it was evident early in his course he had a lot of talent and a great eye.
Thanks Gary for letting us share your work.