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Japanese nature photographer inspires with latest stories

Published: September 14, 2016

BY JILL WOOLLEY

Patience and a perfected moose call are among a hunter’s best resources. For Hidehiro Otake these skills helped him capture the picture-perfect shot on multiple occasions.

A crowd of over 50 people gathered at The Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre on Sept. 7 for the second presentation in the special guest speaker series. For nearly two hours, the Japanese nature photographer shared photos, video clips and stories from his 18 years of trips in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park and other parks in Canada and the United States.

“The beauty of the park is […] very subtle,” Otake said of his ten trips into the park. On each trip he reviews forest growth and change and collects new images.

Otake, who has published six photo books in Japan, shared samples of his work including close-ups of a song sparrow, loon, bald eagle, bear cubs, caribou, squirrel, spruce grouse, wolf, fawn, and moose.

“I do love to see his photography and he is a terrific storyteller,” said Doug Gilmore, retired superintendent of Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. Gilmore built a partnership over twelve years to support Otake’s trips in exchange for photographs, which are currently used for publications and promotional events.

Setting up a base camp and paddling his canoe around, Otake has spent up to a month alone in the park. Along with camping gear, he brings three charged batteries per week for his Canon camera.

“I came out to see the photos and see how he does it,” Harriet Carlson said following the slideshow. She is also a photographer and takes a trip into the park every summer. “It was inspiring. I want to get outside more and appreciate what we have around us.”

Otake said taking great pictures is not his goal and spoke about the joy of the entire experience.

“Your backyard is the opposite side of the earth for someone. [There are] so many interesting things to find in nature if you keep your sense of wonder,” he said in correspondence after the presentation.

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