Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

January 26, 2013

Niseko Night Skiing

Filed under: Japan — Tags: , , , — steve_happ @ 12:08 pm

Hirafu Nighta.

It has been snowing all day so tonight I went night skiing at Niseko Hirafu resort.

Hirafu nighta 3
Up top near the top of Ace quad chair

Hirafu nighta 2
Skiing the nighta

Hirafu nighta
Night time skiing at Niseko

A few days ago the sun was out and I took some photos of the peak at Niseko.

Niseko peak
Mount Annapuri

And this is my clearest photo of Mount Yohtei yet.

Mount Yohtei
Mount Yohtei

January 22, 2013

Hirafu Terrain Park

Filed under: Japan — Tags: , , , — steve_happ @ 7:16 am

Hirafu, Niseko, Hokkaido.

There was no snow again here in Niseko. The sun was also out, so I decided to go for a walk to get some sun and photograph the jumps at the Hirafu Terrain Park. I just had to walk up the road to the car park then climb up some stairs and I was on the park.

Hirafu Aerials 1
Young guy taking a leap

I took the 400mm lens to try it out. Big mistake. It is not much good for photographing terrain parks. You have to get too far away from the skiers. The 50mm is a much better option for jumps. You do not learn unless you try new things. I am not afraid of failure. Some of the photos turned out despite my reservations. You be the judge.

Hirafu Aerials 2
He has got his happy face on

This guy was pretty stoked to be going over the big jump and had a huge smile on his face. It is good to see someone enjoying themselves flying through the air.

Pooh Bear jumps
Pooh Bear all jumbled up

As well as a performing Pooh Bear, there was a dinosaur. Possibly it was Dorothy.

Hirafu Aerials 3
Rotating in the air


My mate Alex from Sweden. In our hostel there are Australians, Swedes and Koreans.

Hirafu Aerials 4
Getting Sideways

Hirafu Aerials 5

January 21, 2013

Mount Annapuri

Filed under: Japan — Tags: , , — steve_happ @ 7:02 am

Niseko Photos.

Back up the mountain this morning after a couple of days bludging. There was a bit of wind about early and the sun was peeking out now and again.

Mount Annapuri
Mount Annapuri from the top of the Ace Quad Chair.

This is the peak from the top of the Ace Quad chair.

Lineup for the meathook
Lineup for the meathook.

People line up here on the single chair to get to the gate for the peak.

Ants to the peak.
Climbing the peak

Like ants they climb to the top to come tumbling back down again.

Kutchan town
Kutchan town

I went into Kutchan this afternoon to do my weekly shopping run. This week I was a day late, going on Monday instead of the usual Sunday bus ride.

Mt Annapuri
Mount Annapuri from Kutchan

In the afternoon it was so clear that you could see the Niseko resort from Kutchan. Most of the time you never see it.

January 14, 2013

Niseko Skiing Number Two

Filed under: Japan — Tags: , — steve_happ @ 4:56 am

Hirafu, Hokkaido, Japan.

I thought I had better take some photos today. It is a holiday here in Japan so it was a bit crowded and there was not a huge amount of new snow overnight – less than ten centimeters. I got the early lift up the Ace quad and here is the view back towards Hirafu village.

Hirafu Village
Hirafu village from Super run

I skied half way down the Super run and stopped near a pylon to get some shots of the random punters skiing past.

Super Run
Snowboarder on Super run

Super Skier
Skier on Super run

Super Snowboarder

I then went up the top of the Ace double number 3. This was the line up for the Ace number 4 lift. I did not bother lining up.

Ace Double #4
Lineup for Ace #4 lift

I waited for ages half way through the trees skiers right of the Ace #3 but nothing decent came up. I got this one from the lift. I like the higher angle.

Snowboarder on Shirakaba run

My battery ran out after this. This photo is by Sarita Leal , from the top of Hanazono Number 2 lift. Mount Yohtei.

Mount Yohtei from Hanazono, by Sarita Leal

January 8, 2013

2012 Retrospective

Filed under: General — steve_happ @ 4:37 am

Overview of 2012.

2012 started in Furano Japan. I never remember new years events because I am not really into that getting off my face trip. but the skiing was nice and lots of nice people.

Extreme Carving
Exreme Carving at Furano

Lots of light dry powder to ski and some fun times with my friends – both Australian and Japanese.


I should have worked for the rest of the year in Australia but instead I took off to South-east Asia to do some bird photography. I got a new lens and headed to the dark depths of Bali. First stop was Bingin Beach, along the Bukit and away from the yobbos in Kuta.

Surfing at Bingin Beach, Bali

I headed up the hills to the Bali Botanical Gardens, then down the coast to Lovina, Gilimanuk and across the water to Java.

Crested Serpent Eagle
Crested Serpent Eagle, Baluran National Park, East Java

Baluran National Park in East Java is one of the best birding spots in Java. It is a great place to visit, so do not miss it! Take some food with you and stay at Bekol.


First stop in Malaysia was Mersing, the port for Pulau Tioman. Pulau Tioman was a big disappointment. Not much there, just lots of mynas and pest birds.

Dark-necked Tailorbird
Dark-necked Tailorbird , Pulau Tioman

Melaka had some good birding along the mud flats with lots of waders along the mangroves. Port Dickson was well worth it, and they have a raptor migration event in March each year at Tanjung Tuan.

Blue-throated Bee-eater
Blue-throated Bee-eater (Mereps viridis). Batu 4. Port Dickson.

The Cameron Highlands is quite cold with lots of jungle and walking tracks. Taman Negara was well worth a visit, but photography was difficult in the dense jungle. I struggles to get enough light with my slow lens.


I travelled from the south at Krabi where I photographed mudskippers and some egrets. Ao Nang is a tourist town, with some random beaches. Phang Nga is a small town a bit inland and a real delight. I found some nice Red-throated Barbet. In Ranong I did a visa run to Burma and saw a Lineated Barbet. Koh Chang was mostly deserted but there were Oriental Pied Hornbill and heaps of Brahminy Kites.

Brown-throated Sunbird
Brown-throated Sunbird, Ranong

Going north to Prachuap Kiri Khan – Red-wattled Lapwing, Little Tern, Black-naped Tern. Kanchanaburi – Coppersmith Barbet, Asian Openbill. Ayutthaya – Pied Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher, Javan Pond-heron. Sukhothai – Spotted Owlet, White-browed Crake.

Spotted Owlet
Spotted Owlet , Sukkhothai

In Chiang Mae I took some great photos of Sepak Takraw and Muay Thai. Doi mae salong had the remnants of the Kuomintang army.


I crossed the Mekong and travelled north to Luang NamTha then down to Nong Khiaw with its karsts and river boat ride along the Nam ou river to Luang Prabang. Ban Na had no elephants. Tha Khek, Savanakhet, Pakse were along the Mekong Rivere, Tad Lo had waterfalls. Champasak was quiet.

Black-collared Starling
Black-collared Starling , Don Det


The birding along the Mekong River trail at Stung Treng was fantastic. I saw heaps of exotic birds and got some great photographs.

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

Up into the hills of Ban Lung, back along the Mekong to Kratie to see the Mekong Dolphins. Kampong Cham. Kampong Thom.
Siem Reap – tourists. Battambang. Koh Kong. Sihanoukville I liked despite the tourists and the sleaze.

Lesser Adjutant
Lesser Adjutant, Ream National Park.

In Kampot I finally got a shot of a Grey Heron. Bokor Hill – Blue-eared Barbet. Blue-winged Leafbird, Black-crested Bulbul. Then on to Kep, Rabbit Island and Phnom Penh.


From Phnom Penh I caught a bus to Ho Chi Minh City then flew to Hanoi to buy bike to ride the length of Vietnam. First stop was Ba Vi National Park, then Cuc Phuong National Park, Phong Nha caves, Dalat.

Ashy Drongo
Ashy Drongo, Dalat

Last stop was Mui Ne. I wanted to go surfing but the waves were crap and the wind was always howling onshore.

Little Green Bee-eater
Little Green Bee-eater, Mui Ne


Back home to Australia then off to Griffith after buying a car to make money for trip to Japan. I worked the Grain harvest then did a few weeks working in a winery on the production line. There is some great birding spots around Griffith at Campbell Swamp and Nericon Swamp.

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon, Campbell Swamp, Griffith

I also did a side trip to Leeton and Narrandera.


Full circle back to Japan. I flew in to Osaka, spent a few days wandering around, then off to the ski fields of Niseko, in Hokkaido and another year.

slicing fugu
Slicing fugu at Kuromon markets, Osaka

Lets adventuring in 2013!

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