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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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor