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Interview with Cliff LaPlant


16 December 2016

Posted by Anna Fraser

Hi Cliff! Tell us about yourself in two sentences - who are you?

My name is Cliff LaPlant and I am an amateur photographer based in Alpine, California. Living in this area gives me easy access to a wide variety of photographic possibilities such as mountains, ocean, wilderness, desert, etc. I have an immense love for the outdoors and first began as a mountain climber and then turned photographer in an attempt to capture what I was experiencing.

QWhat's the weirdest situation you've found yourself in while taking a photograph?

AI think probably the strange high humidity and cold weather while photographing Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in northern Washington. My lens and glasses kept fogging up and my clothes became wet with the dampness in the air. It was a real pain keeping the lens clear of moisture.

QWhat do you shoot on? What's your favourite set up?

AI shoot pretty exclusively with Nikon products. I am currently using the incredible Nikon D800 with the Nikkor 16-35mm wide angle telephoto lens for landscapes. I also use a Nikkor 28-300mm lens for wildlife and distant landscape captures. I almost always use a sturdy tripod and mostly shoot at sunrise/sunset. I do not use many different filter types and pretty much stick to a high quality circular polarizer, neutral density, and UV filter.

QWhat's your number one tip for an aspiring photographer?

ABeing primarily a landscape photographer, I would say that shooting scenes that are not commonly photographed by others is a real key. So many photographers flock to the famous areas and locations to capture basically the same images that have been (and continue to be) photographed over and over again. Venture out and discover something different and unique.

"Cathedral Peak and Mount Conness" stock image

I believe my favorite photograph I've uploaded on Picfair would have to be the capture of Cathedral Peak and Mount Conness.This photograph is special to me because of the vantage point at which I photographed these two very popular mountains in Yosemite National Park in California and also the fantastic clouded weather at the time. I took this photograph from near the summit of Tresidder Peak, an un-trailed climb.

"Inyo National Forest, California." stock image

I captured this photograph after an afternoon rainstorm in the Sierra Nevada Range in California. The Sun had just fallen over the horizon and I quickly set my tripod up (low to the ground) and captured this moment. I remember forgetting to lower my hood, however in retrospect, I think it really adds to the photograph.

"Chollas Cactus Sunrise" stock image

One of my favourite things to do during photography trips is (whenever possible) to incorporate the sun into the shot. This capture of Cholla Cactus in Joshua Tree National Park (California-USA) represents how the sun can significantly increase the beauty of the area with not only the sunburst, but the illumination of the cactus needles as well.

"Mojave Desert Sunrise" stock image

While always looking for a foreground to enhance the background, I decided to lower my camera (with a tripod) to include the baked and cracked dry mud into the lower half of the image. The Mojave Desert can provide beautiful foregrounds such as rock formations, cactus, and in this photograph, the dry lake bed.

"Last Light at Cathedral Lake II" stock image

This photograph as well as 'Last Light at Cathedral Lake' represent the most beautiful sunset I had ever seen still to this day. To think that I almost missed it is amazing to me. Earlier in the afternoon, this entire area was enveloped in thick fog. I had even given up attempting to photograph anything that evening and retired into my tent. While laying in my tent, the light outside became brighter and full of colour. I quickly exited and captured a few images in about 15 minutes, before the light (and colour) was gone. This photograph depicts that beautiful moment.

"Sunset from Ryan Mountain" stock image

Sometimes while photographing the foreground objects at low light levels that are originating from behind, there is the issue of illuminating the foreground object(s). In this photograph I captured in Joshua Tree National Park in California (USA), I used my flashlight to shine on the foreground yucca Plant, lighting it up for the image.

"Broken Bow Arch Reflection" stock image

I was very lucky to have come upon Broken Bow Arch when the light was just right for a nice reflection in Willow Creek. I dropped down into the creek, composed this shot, and snapped the shutter. In this case, I believe the absence of clouds actually enhanced the look of the arch.

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