Biei, Hokkaido, Japan by Francis Ansing

Picture Story

This image was taken in Biei, Hokkaido, Japan. This is probably the most famous lone tree in Hokkaido. Tourists and even locals call this "Christmas Tree" for a very obvious reason. It was my fourth time driving to this spot but my previous images lacked foreground elements. I braved the -20 degrees Celsius during the morning of February 7, 2020 to scout around and look for possible foregrounds. There was really nothing around but snow and a sign that says "Do Not Enter" because there was a fence in the area. I saw this fresh snow piled on top of something perhaps grass that formed irregular shapes. I thought it would make a foreground. I took the shot hand-held because my tripod didn't extend the legs due to icing. I took few more shots and drove to my next location.

One of the best times to visit Biei, Hokkaido is during summer where there are a lot of flowers making the scene vivid and colorful. But my favorite is winter, when everything is so white and very ideal for minimalist and dramatic landscapes.

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