THE PASSION & VISION OF JAKE PARKER
What have you been photographing?
My focus when I’m filming or taking photos is nature. I want people to see the beauty and importance of the very things that give us life, we are nothing without nature but nature is everything without us.
I have been mostly shooting whale sharks out of Exmouth in Western Australia. They are amazing animals and never get sick of seeing them. I have also been lucky enough to be working on and off with Sea Shepherd documenting the plight of the oceans through illegal fishing. I find it incredible there is still anything out there with the indiscriminate techniques of fishing and number of fishing vessels out on the ocean at any given time.
Most recently I have been doing a lot of time lapse work which combines both my love of photos and filming and recently won the Ningalens Film competition with a short film called “As Time Goes By” consisting of all time lapses from the Ningaloo region.
What ARE SOME OF Your favourite shots that tell a story?
While I was on the Sea Shepherd campaign ‘Operation Icefish’, when the weather was nice I would stand on the bridge listening to music and photograph the birds that went by. We had some amazing albatross species from; wandering, royal, grey headed. I really like the light mantled sooty albatross. They aren't the biggest of the albatross but they are very beautiful and have a striking blue dash that goes through their beak. I got a snap of one them full wing extend and the eye looking back at me, that bird is now also tattooed on me.
After I finished Operation Sola Stella 2 in Liberia I flew over to meet a friend in Kenya. The campaign i had just been on was tough as I saw a lot of dead sharks and other marine life but in Kenya I also saw another side to fishing industry the people’s side. European and Chinese ships are now coming into African waters because they have overfished their own. Like a virus they are spreading out to try and catch the last fish for profit and this is effecting the local people greatly. This is due to the bombardment from EU vessels, the local people are losing catches from having their nets run-over (lives have also been lost from locals being run-over while in their boats). A lot of these ships that fish in African waters also go to other countries to get workers, these workers could potentially endure inhumane working conditions with little to sometimes no pay.
One day in Kenya i witnessed some locals that made a big catch of sardines that they were divvying up and bartering for, I noticed some kids amongst the group that would nick one or two fish from each little pile. I was snapping away, it was quite an amazing scene as the woman were dressed in these beautifully coloured dresses against the white sand, it was really nice as it was a big contrast to what I had just come from on the other side of Africa.
What’s your favourite Location?
There’s no place like home and I was always love coming back to Sydney to see my family and friends and to surf some of my favourite breaks. But I really love Exmouth in Western Australia, it’s where the desert meets the ocean. I am captivated from the beautiful cape ranges to the coral thriving on Ningaloo Reef. The range of marine biodiversity is amazing from whale sharks, manta rays, tiger sharks, whales, dolphins, dugongs.. the list is endless. It’s an amazing place and I always love my time up there.
What’s the most important thing to you?
My family, they are the most supportive family even though I’m constantly badgering them they are nothing short of amazing! Also my friends, this is a pretty amazing but also shit time in the world and you need that back bone of support especially when dealing with issues of conservation.
Five things to help the planet?
The big thing to help this planet is sacrifice, we can’t live the way we are, we consume too much and give too little. As Ghandi says, “ There is sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.” There’s not enough time to make little sacrifices, this world needs us to be better than that. Meat consumption has a huge environmental cost particularly beef, cutting this out can make a big difference. Picking up rubbish when you see it not only cleans up an area but also puts a thought in your head of what happens to the waste we make and can potentially influence others around. One really rewarding thing I’ve seen change over the years is when go for a wave with my mates we all try to ‘Take 3 for the Sea’ before we leave the surf.
We also have to get this idea out of our heads that this planet is ours and we are a privileged species, the planet does not belong to us we belong to it. The way we are treating this world we are actually a hindrance in the workings of nature. We need to value the planet more as it is our life source rather than a resource. Changing the way we think about our place on Earth can help us treat it in the way it needs treating.
I think it’s important to be political and to know what the government is up to, knowing when to stand up and say no this needs to change or this is not right. We do not work for them they are supposed to be working for us and are not meant to be the puppets of large corporations. More and more governments are trying to make our voices smaller so we need to yell louder.
Join groups that are trying to make a change, there are so many out there imagine if everyone gave an hour a week to the planet.
Go out and experience nature, be apart of this wonderful planet we are lucky enough to be on and living amongst. When you do go out whether it is a walk or even a swim at the beach, look for at the millions of ways life is being lived out every day, these small details so often missed may just give us the air we breathe and we rarely take notice of it.
What equipment do you use?
Unfortunately the photo and film world is expensive and sometimes equipment is too.
The camera I use is a Sony A7sii with a Nauticam housing. I recently just got a Syrp motion slider to make motion time lapses, I haven't been able to use it yet but am super excited to see what comes from it.
Most WORRYING THING?
There are many hard things I’ve seen which have been awful for me to witness but I think the worst is the scum I see in parliament. I think a large majority of politicians are completely detached to the realities of day to day life and have grown up in a time where the challenges we are facing now didn't exist and they do not understand them or even believe in them. I think a vast majority have their own agendas that is not so much about bettering the world but securing a nice pension for themselves or reaching a higher paying job in the corporate world.
Most wonderful thing?
I honestly couldn't say, there have been so many incredible moments from seeing a tiger shark eating a turtle, swimming with a blue whale, a humpback whale acting like I was her calf or maybe just witnessing the wonder of nature by simply walking through the bush or going for a dive. This is the most wonderful, amazing place, a living organism called Earth, we must do our best to keep it that way.
ANY TIPS ON PHOTOGRAPHING GREAT WHITES?
I'm very grateful to photograph sharks and great whites, definitely an adrenaline rush. I've always been in a cage, so makes it a lot safer. It’s good to have that kind of barrier there but also to have a spotter watching your back because sometimes you know you might be hanging out of the cage a little bit to get the shot and it's the shark that you don't see which is the biggest problem.
I see you are into timelapse. What equipment are you using and do you have any projects for this?
I'm starting to get into time-lapse as I love it as a sort of mixture of both photo and video. In terms of specific projects I’m not working on anything at the moment. I'm still learning about the ins and outs of time-lapse, especially now that I've just got myself a new slide rail motion slider that will automate the capture and motion time lapse which I think is a really amazing and unique perspective to capture the world around us. I kind of get that motion but also the time lapse concept and to really integrate into films and stuff is really amazing. I'm just currently using the Syrp Genie Timelapse Motion controller a time lapse system or motion system and it's really simple easy to use system. I can use it on my phone and it kinda maps out the motion of what the camera is going to capture and I just press play and it captures it for me. It's just a really nice simple system which I'm really happy with.
So Jake what post production software do you use for your photography?
For my photos I only really use Lightroom and for my video I use Premiere Elements, from Adobe. I only use Lightroom as I try not to do too much to my photos, just generally adjust contrast and exposure and white balancing, just pretty basic stuff. Premiere Pro I just find it really simple and it’s what I originally learnt on so just carrying it on.
If you were sponsored and could travel the world to photograph any subject matter you wanted to what would it be?
Anything to do with the marine environment I think would be epic. Obviously sharks and large predatory fish are some of my favourite subjects to photograph. Also to unveil people that depended on these creatures as their livelihoods and the way that commercial and over exploitation of them is affecting not only the marine environment but of human beings as well. I think is an extremely important subject to cover and photographs can be extremely important tool for that.