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Hyoko 2023 (Winter)

This was the third time I have come to Hyouko Lake in winter. The first time, I haven’t started photography. I had come to Niigata on a completely different business and heard that there was a lake where many swans migrate, so I visited there to kill some time. I did not have high expectations and simply thought, “I can see swans, which sounds good”. When I parked my car in the parking lot and opened the door, I noticed the sound of a great number of animals I had never heard before and recognized it as a chorus of swans, and knew at that moment that this was a place far beyond my imagination. I found myself running to the lake.

At the time, I had an impression of the swan as a “Swan Lake” of ballet music. I thought they were elegant and beautiful birds that flew gracefully, floated gracefully on the lake, and made the viewer feel graceful. But the swan I saw there was different. They were ferocious, short-tempered, and quarrelsome birds, and one moment after they were facing each other in a two-on-two fight, they flapped their wings furiously, shoved their charming faces into the other’s bosom, and got into a big, serious scuffle. It was now a bad guy’s tie-up. When the opponent runs away, he shouts a battle cry with his friends. As I watched in a daze, an irresistible sense of elation enveloped me, which got me to buy my camera.

My first encounter with Lake Hyouko and swans led me to various places where I started photography. It was the trigger that I began to go to places that are not usually considered tourist destinations, both domestically and internationally. However, the swans were not even seeomg any of my great appreciation and were engaged in a fight with a neighboring group as usual.

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