Interview by Steve Roe
atter.cliffe's (@atter.cliffe) Instagram page boasts of an impressive following of nearly 20,000 and it's easy to see why. Based in England, he captures British countryside in a unique way, atter.cliffe has developed a name for himself creating mood-rich shots that give a different perspective to the lush green fields of Britain. atter.cliffe captures the essence of British countryside, often it is misty, rainy and cold, and through the tones of his images that is reflected.
First let's talk equipment, what are you using at the moment?
Currently I am using a Canon 6D. I mainly use it with my 17-40m Canon USM L lens, but I also have a 150-500mm sigma lens I occasionally use. As well as this, I use a DJI Phantom 3 drone that I take out with me now and then.
You have some stunning photos in incredible locations, where are your favourite places to shoot and what are your ideal weather conditions?
Me and a friend took a road trip to the Lake District last year which gave some awesome shots, but I have always been a big fan of the Peak District. As it is on my doorstep, I get plenty of opportunities to go an explore and although I have been heading out there for as long as I remember, I always manage to find new places to shoot.
A part from the above, I visited Flamborough Head this year, on the Yorkshire Coast, and found the place stunning, there were some great cliff features and plenty of wildlife too. When we visited, it was early afternoon so I didn't get to take advantage of some good light and weather. I'm hoping to head back out there in a few weeks and might try pull myself out of bed for a sunrise. Although this has never been my strong point.
My ideal weather conditions vary for where I am, the Peak District has some beautiful pine forests and for them I love some rain and mist. However, for a landscape shot of a valley I have always likes a sunrise/sunset. I have not yet been lucky enough to pull myself out of bed and find a cloud inversion, but hopefully soon.
Where's somewhere in the world that is a must-see place for you to photograph?
Although a little embarrassing for a landscape photographer, I am yet to visit Scotland. I'm wanting to make sure that very soon I get to head out to Glen Coe and the Isle of Skye. I am also keen to head a little further north and try and find some places a little less visited. The Faroe Islands are becoming more popular and the place also looks incredible, so I would be excited to head out there too. Also on my list would be Iceland, Whistler in Canada, Yellowstones National Park and places around south America.
Who are some photographers that initially got you in to landscape photography?
It's a strange one actually, as I can attribute me starting photography to one person in particular and I am sure that no one will know him. He was a friend of a friend called Rob Cambell. He did a year in Whistler mountain biking and travelling around. He is into photography and good at it but always kept his photos looking so natural and effortless. As I learn more about photography and try to better myself, this is something I still strive for. I guess using instagram, a natural simple photos (in a square box) can often go unnoticed and look bland again the backdrop of high contrast, high saturated imagery, but when I shoot for myself or not for instagram, I always aim for this style of photo. Rob posted an album up on Facebook of his travels and I still now think those photos are beautiful. It was in the run up to Christmas and my mum was wanting to get me a present, so after seeing them I decided I wanted my first alright camera, so I got my Nikon D3300.
After I started photography and got more into Instagram people like Tom Kahler and James Green's work really stood out to me. They are both very different photographers and I like them both for different reasons. Toms work is perfectly edited, he used radial and gradient masks on Lightroom to achieve a style like no one else, his work is also largely desaturated and moody. James work is colourful and clean, sharp images with bold blues and greens. Both these photographers have guided how I edit my shots today.
Landscape photography can dangerously drift into 'postcard photography' but yours is far from that, what is some advice you'd give to landscape photographers who are just starting up?
Thank you. My advice would be to take note of your surroundings and not try to shoot an image that differs too much from it. For example, you can't fake a sunset in post-production, nor can you make a sunny day moody. You need to go out with an open mind and let the weather dictate your shot, not visa versa. Also don't fear the rain or cloud, some of my favorite shots were taken in less than ideal weathers, but as long as you are willing to adapt and work with what you have, you can make some perfect shots.
Finally I would advice people to decide what they want from a sunrise or sunset. Some of the great sunset shots I have seen from the above photographers don't always aim for colour during a sunset, nor do they feel the need to even include the sun in the shot. Just because the sun is fading behind the hills, remember to look around and see what else there might be to shoot.