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Stunning New Photo Book: Inside the High Sierra, by Claude Fiddler — Good Reactions 

Inside the High Sierra, by Claude Fiddler can be ordered at

“Inside the High Sierra” by Claude Fiddler

See my previous post discussing Claude’s book.

Roy P writes:

BTW, Claude Fiddler’s book arrived today.  Really gorgeous images.  More than taking the photos, it’s an incredible amount of time and effort that must have gone into this over so many years….  God knows how many times he went to the same spots or how long he waited for the perfect lighting.  Amazing work.  I can take photos, but I am not cut out to tough it out in wilderness.

BTW, California is mountain lion country.  How safe is it for a photographer to wander around in the wild, lugging his photography equipment as well as survival stuff, including food?!  Can you drive to these places?  Do you know what cameras / lenses he used?

... a few days later..

On a different note, I have looked through some more of Claude Fiddler’s book. Progress is very slow, because you can’t casually flip through this book – you have to savor every image, enjoying every aspect of it, like the colors, details, the perspective, composition, and lighting. To call this a book of photographs would be a massive understatement and disservice to it. This is a communion with the supernatural, whether you want to call it nature or God. It is really amazing and humbling. Thanks for mentioning it, and I’m so glad I got a copy. With Fiddler’s images, you can’t just see them, you have to mentally enter the scenes and become a part of them! I don’t know if that makes sense or sounds too corny.

DIGLLOYD: Claude shot nearly all of the images with his 4X5 film camera. I was able to guess which ones were not. Film has that look you can see even if it is not nearly as sharp as legend would make it. He is a highly skilled climber and it is the work of a lifetime. I’d love to see the areas he photographed, but that would be an effort of years, with most far in the backcountry, far from roads and sometimes far even from trails.

Regarding the use of film, Roy P states:

I thought as much, based on the use of the term “Plate” in the book. That makes it 100x harder – you have no idea what you’ve got until you get back home and develop it. If you missed a shot, it might be days, weeks, months or even years before you get another shot.

Mountain lions

Have no concern for mountain lions (Felis concolor) in the Eastern Sierra or high Sierra. It is highly unlikely to find any at high altitude because just one lion needs 50 or so deer a year (one deer per week) to survive, which would wipe out the deer population in every canyon I visit! Moreover they are ambush predators and the High Sierra offer poor cover. At intermediate altitudes where the food supply is larger you might find some (up to 8000 feet elevation or so), and lower down, still more. I have yet to see a lion in all my time in the Sierra; sightings are rare.

Basically, if there is a robust deer population, you will have lions. Otherwise, lions gotta eat a deer a week and they’re not going to be there. The High Sierra have very thin deer populations. The White Mountains even less.

By comparison, the lion population right in my neighborhood here at home is active (night videos prove that), yet I’ve only seen them a handful of times in 30 years here, and the deer population is high in my area. Due to prohibition of hunting them, they are moving into suburban areas and end up being darted or shot—young lions have to find their own large territory to survive. Even Tigger takes it ill for another cat to encroach on his territory; for mountain lions it is a matter of survival.

Claude’s comments on the image below: “I call it the Observation Basin. Not so named on any map. The particular lake sits below Observation Peak and Mount Shakespeare. Photo falls off into the Middle fork of the Kings River just south and west of the confluence with Palisade Creek. The ridgeline in the photo background are the Devil's Crags. A two day hike from Bishop Pass or any other trailhead for that matter.”

Observation Basin Sunset, ©1988 by Claude Fiddler
Captured with Gowland 4x5-inch view camera + 150mm Fujinon lens on Gitzo Studex tripod, Kodak VPL film.

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