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Red-crowned Crane

Red-crowned Crane

Tsurui, Hokkaido, Japan 26 November 2013
EOS 7D & 400mmf4DO with x1.4TC. 1/2000 sec f5.6 ISO 400.

Tsurui village and surrounding areas are the place in Hokkaido for the magnificent wintering Red-Crowned Cranes. In November, I was too early for the snow and the best of the conditions for their photography, but I am happy with the images I obtained, especially this extreme, and probably unusual, close-up.

After very heavy overnight rain had cleared, I had a superbly productive (and probably very lucky) half hour crane photo session away from the main feeding stations, where I found several in a field right by the road, with a convenient pull in for the car. The light was superb and at one point a group of three cranes starting walking towards me (in the car) and just kept on coming and coming. At their closest approach they couldn't have been more than a few meters away, and the head of the nearest one filled my camera's field of view, which made it very difficult to keep them in the frame. This was a much closer view than seemed possible to obtain from the organised feeding stations and I was amazed how close the birds came. They were doing nothing like that elsewhere! - keeping their distance from their watchers and photographers.

Later the same day, I was fortunate enough to get some good Ural Owl photos as well, so this was definitely a brilliant day.

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