October 18, 2018
The secret’s out! Team Vallerret is growing. We’re excited to bring on Erica Clapp as our Social Media and Content Manager. Living on the other part of the world in New Zealand, Erica will be handling all of our social media, blogging and helping with the ambassador program. We spent all of August in New Zealand getting to know Erica and bringing her up to speed on all things Vallerret. If you want to know more about our newest addition, read on!
I’m originally from Nebraska, a flat, agriculture-focused state located smack dab in the middle of the USA. After a seven-year stint in Chicago, I figured out urban living wasn’t for me so I packed my bags to New Zealand and have been settled in Wanaka for the last three years.
For the last three years, I’ve split my time between making coffees in a cafe, free-lance writing, and adventuring as much as possible. Wanaka is a unique town. Everyone here is ultra-fit and super knowledgeable about most outdoor hobbies so it was easy to be inspired and find more places to explore or sports to get into. Located in the heart of the Southern Alps, it’s totally possible to go skiing in the morning then returning to town for a mid-afternoon dip in the lake. This place really has it all!
I hadn’t really done much photography at all before coming to New Zealand but when I arrived, everything was so beautiful that I had no choice but to learn how to shoot the scenery in a way that would do the country justice. I picked up tips from friends who knew more than me and figure out a lot just by trial and error. I’m certainly still an amateur photographer by anyone’s standards but that doesn’t stop me from trying.
I love photographing the pursuit of adventure. I’m not one for lugging a lot of gear or setting up a bunch of tripods. My focus has always been to capture as good of photos as possible without distracting from the adventure. If I have to stop and instruct people what to do for a photo, the whole process seems disingenuine so I really try to go light and small and discrete.
Being a transplant, I started focusing more on my photography simply because I wanted to share my new life in New Zealand with my family and friends back home. I wanted to capture and share images that did the country justice (which is never possible, by the way). Now I’m motivated by photographing scenes that aren’t already hugely overshot. This often means long hikes into a remote valley or navigating up difficult peaks. I like capturing the remoteness of it all but also the struggle and effort that goes hand in hand with visiting these places.
New Zealand is a landscape photographers dream. Every mountain, every valley, every crystal clear river is begging to be captured so it’s really to be inspired by everything here. I’m partial to Mt. Aspiring National Park which is practically in our backyard and home to the country’s second tallest peak, Mt. Aspiring. Despite being a national park, it’s still fairly difficult to get to so it’s not overrun with tour busses…yet. So much opportunity for all levels from easy walks to some of the best mountaineering in the country.
My other top favorite place to photograph is Fiordland. I had never been around fiords before coming to New Zealand so the sheer cliffs jutting thousands of meters out of the sea was completely new to me. The towering mountains are just one part of it though. The wildlife and vegetation in Fiordland is next level. The birdsong is loud enough to make you lose your train of thought and the vegetation is some of the wildest, most rugged I’ve ever seen. It just adds to the idea that Fiordland, in a way, is impenetrable. There’s still so much that hasn’t been climbed in the area because it’s just too hard to get to.
Milford Sound at dusk.
I’m excited about all of the gloves but I have to say my favorite piece of the season is the Skadi Zipper Mitt PSP. I’m notorious for having eternally cold hands and no matter what I do, nothing can ever keep my fingers as warm as a glove. This has always compromised my dexterity and anytime I needed to do something with my fingers, I’d have to remove my mitts, so having a glove that solves that problem is pretty awesome. The design is so well thought out, from the wind protector on the included liners to the snap that holds the mitt back while you use your fingers. Plus, it’s our first glove with a bit of color!
Skadi Zipper Mitt in action up Roy's Peak in Wanaka, NZ.
Welcome to the team, Erica!
The iconic Roy's Peak in Wanaka, NZ.
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