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Behind the Picture: Magical Photos of Hokkaido, Japan's Wild Landscape

Discover the story behind this 2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year entry.

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Two red foxes dash along a snowy landscape in Hokkaido, Japan.

Photographers from around the world are participating in the 2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year contest. Each week we’ll feature one contest photo entry and share how the photographer captured an amazing travel moment.

This week Hiroki Inoue tells us how he photographed this fox chase, and gives us insight into his passion for photography.

Nat Geo Travel: Tell us about the photo you entered to the contest and how you made the image. You titled the image “Fox Chase.” How did you come upon this scene? Were you waiting in a certain position for this opportunity, or was this an unexpected moment?

Hiroki Inoue: I took this photo at Biei, Hokkaido, Japan. Biei is known as the “hills town.” A large number of fox inhabit the hills. 

I make it a rule to open the side window of my car when I drive this area, because I want to feel the atmosphere—the smell and sounds. The sun was setting and I had just finished my work photographing the area's landscapes and wild animals.

As I passed this wheat field, I heard the bark of two foxes ... so it was an unexpected moment.

Ice dances in Biei, Hokkaido, Japan.

N.G.T.: How did you feel when you made this picture? Did you know immediately that you had captured the picture you wanted?

H.I.: I was excited. It looks like what I imagined, and I was waiting eagerly for such a moment!

N.G.T.: The light in the sky carries a beautiful red hue. What caused this coloring? Were you using additional filters on your lens to create this effect?

H.I.: I didn't use additional filters on my lens to create this color. This color of the sky is the light lingering in the east sky after sunset. 

N.G.T.: You’ve shared more wildlife and landscape photography on National Geographic Your Shot. Tell us about your work and passion for photography. Why does wildlife photography interest you?

H.I.: I pursue the beauty of landscapes at the intersection between man and nature. My main job is running a photography workshop tour in Biei. During the long wait for the best moment for landscape photos, I noticed something important—many wild animals live in Hokkaido! Now I often take wild animal photos when I have time to spare while making landscape images.

I’ve become attracted to wild animals in nature, little by little. Now I want to take thoughtful images like “Fox Chase.”

N.G.T.: What locations do you typically photograph? 

H.I.: I am always grateful to meet wild animals. Their beauty and thinking is beyond my imagination. I always take photos at Hokkaido, Japan, especially in Biei and Shiretoko National Park.

N.G.T: What is the most surprising moment you've photographed?

H.I.: This is it! I probably have the same feeling as this fox. 

Think you have the winning travel photo? Enter your best travel photography for a chance to be named the 2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year.


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