David Barrer and Liz Barrer Cook: Husband and Wife Wildlife Documentary Team

David Barr and Liz Parer-Cook dinner have made a life collectively doing what they love.

The Melbourne-based couple have been exploring among the wildest locations on Earth because the late Nineteen Seventies – from the Galapagos Islands to Norway, and from the Australian outback to Antarctica.

And so they’ve captured these distant spots – and particularly the animals that reside there – on movie.

David Barrer films killer whales from a boat
David movies their hit film about killer whales, Sea Wolves.(Provider: Dr. Barrer and E. Barrer Cook dinner)

With David behind the digicam and recording Liz’s voice, they’ve produced a slew of award-winning documentaries, together with a number of collaborations with David Attenborough.

Highly effective analysis and being in the precise place on the proper time have helped them make their paycheck in nature documentary phrases.

As of their 1993 Emmy Award-winning film Sea wolveswhich for the primary time captured the weird looking strategies of killer whales (orcas).

“They’re in all probability our favourite animal of all time,” says Liz.

“We each love wild locations.”

Liz and David met in Melbourne in 1977 by means of a shared love of diving and filmmaking, and each labored within the ABC’s Pure Historical past Unit.

Within the early days, David made a number of journeys to Papua New Guinea on task, on one event filming David Attenborough’s unbelievable nature collection, Life on Earth. Liz joined him in a few of these photographs.

Elizabeth Parr Cook holding an echidna
Liz within the Nineteen Eighties with a long-billed echidna in Papua New Guinea whereas filming Australia Nature.(Provider: Dr. Barrer and E. Barrer Cook dinner)

From day one, they weren’t fairly certain in the event that they have been working or on trip. Even on their honeymoon they photographed dugongs in Shark’s Bay.

The 2 come from very completely different backgrounds: David obtained an honorary Physician of Science diploma from Monash College, and spent his early days finding out cosmic rays in Antarctica. Liz has levels in sociology and schooling, and is educated in the usage of movies as an academic software.

David Barrer and Elizabeth Barrer Cook in Antarctica
Liz and David, pictured right here within the Nineteen Eighties, have received awards for his or her in depth work in Antarctica.(Provider: Dr. Barrer and E. Barrer Cook dinner)

“I feel the essence of a very good crew … is that we perceive one another’s strengths and weaknesses,” says David.

“Liz is an incredible researcher and superb with folks. I buried my head within the tools.”

Not that he is a software man, David is fast to level out, however he does observe technological developments from particular lenses to imaging strategies for getting the most effective photographs.

Elizabeth Barrer Cook records a dugong with a large microphone in a hut in Papua New Guinea
Liz information a dugong hunter in PNG for her and David Attenborough’s movie, Kiwai-Dugong Hunters of Daru, narrated by David Attenborough.(Provider: Dr. Barrer and E. Barrer Cook dinner)

“It is at all times about furthering the story.”

Liz says individuals are usually “a bit shocked” by a husband and spouse crew, however for her that wasn’t an issue.

Dugongs in the ocean
This dugong was photographed by Liz and David on their honeymoon in Shark Bay.(Provider: Dr. Barrer and E. Barrer Cook dinner)

“We each love wild locations, we love being exterior, and we each love telling tales. So I feel that is why it really works.”

“And we do not struggle quite a bit,” she laughs.

David and Lees photograph the moonrise over the desert of Exmouth Bay
David and Liz, now of their 70s, not too long ago traveled to Western Australia the place they captured the moon rising over Exmouth Bay.(Provider: Dr. Barrer and E. Barrer Cook dinner)

Lively volcanoes and difficult terrain

whereas filming for Nature Australia Within the mid-Nineteen Eighties, Liz and David start touring to their house continent in earnest.

“We had a terrific feeling for Central Australia at the moment,” says David.

Red flowers with black centers
One of many issues which have caught the attention of Liz and David in Western Australia not too long ago has been a subject of desert peas in Sturt.(Provider: Dr. Barrer and E. Barrer Cook dinner)

She started an affair that noticed many return journeys by means of central Australia and alongside the west coast.

However their old flame is the ocean itselfAnd which undoubtedly performed an element within the success of The Sea Wolves, was narrated by Attenborough.

David Barrer photographed on a dry salt crust in Lake Eyre
David was the primary to {photograph} the Lake Eyre dragon residing beneath the salt crust of the well-known lake.(Provider: Dr. Barrer and E. Barrer Cook dinner)

The movie featured groundbreaking scenes of killer whales in Norway tailing giant, shallow herrings to get their dinner.

Different jaw-dropping photographs have been this one among killer whales crusing in to choose up younger sea lions as they frolic on the seashores of Patagonia.

David Willis shot the documentary in 5 nations, utilizing specifically developed underwater digicam strategies.

“We labored as a two-person crew with different folks coming to completely different places,” says Liz.

Killer whales sneak ashore to catch sea lion cubs
Killer whales sneak ashore to catch sea lion cubs.(Provider: Dr. Barrer and E. Barrer Cook dinner)

Filming usually includes difficult terrain, like when David captured spaghetti penguins on the subantarctic Crozet Islands.

David Parer photographing macaroni penguins on a steep rocky cliff
Photographing spaghetti penguins within the Crozet Islands was a dangerous enterprise.(Provider: Dr. Barrer and E. Barrer Cook dinner)

Within the late Nineteen Nineties, David needed to climb inside an energetic volcano to movie terrestrial iguanas laying their eggs within the heat soil of the volcano.

“I do not assume OH&S goes to sanction flights there now,” he jokes.

David Barer with a land iguana in the warm sand of a volcano
David portrayed in voclano for Dragons of the Galapagos in 1996.(Provider: Dr. Barrer and E. Barrer Cook dinner)

This was when Liz and David spent two years within the Galapagos Islands with their 3-year-old daughter Filming three BBC applications reverse Attenborough, together with one other award-winning movie Galapagos dragons.

Since 2008, after the closure of ABC’s pure historical past unit, the pair have been working as a standalone crew.

final yr They photographed wild animals for an upcoming documentary about Ningaloo, which will likely be hosted by Tim Winton and proven on ABC in 2023.

Elizabeth Parr Cook with microphone and flightless cormorants in the Galapagos Islands
Liz with a flightless cormorant throughout filming within the Galapagos Islands.(Provider: Dr. Barrer and E. Barrer Cook dinner)

This yr they returned to the wild Ningaloo Coast World Heritage space close to Exmouth, having fun with what’s being known as ‘Australia’s greatest jetty dive’ from a 300m offshore pier.

Underneath the water they discovered a two-meter grouper, gray-nosed sharks, stunning nudibranchs, colourful sponges and a formidable faculty of little animals that “stored circling over their heads”.

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Liz portrays a 2-meter grouper on a pier. (Copyright D. Parer & E. Parer-Cook dinner)

There was additionally an enormous yellow sea serpent with a black face “as thick as your arm”, says Liz.

Once they went recognizing whales to see the humpbacks they noticed what they thought was a chunk of wooden floating within the water.

“We all of the sudden realized that it was truly a mom whale and he or she had a child on her nostril and he or she was carrying and supporting it on the floor,” says Liz.

“In order that was nice magic.”

woman in a boat
Liz heads out to identify some whales in Exmouth Bay.(Provider: Dr. Barrer and E. Barrer Cook dinner)

How issues have modified

Liz and David slowly tick off wildlife on their listing of issues to {photograph}.

They managed to shoot a film that was exhausting to seize Just lately numb.

“Numbats are endangered and really troublesome to identify within the wild,” says Liz.

Numbat stands on its hind legs against a tree trunk
It’s estimated that there at the moment are just one,000 numbats left within the wild.(Provider: Dr. Barrer and E. Barrer Cook dinner)

“They’re form of sleepy,” provides David, explaining why they’re so exhausting to identify within the open.

Utilizing a particular lens, David and Liz bought their first photographs of Dawson’s burrowing bees, an insect that has a wierd behavior of digging holes in the course of mud ponds and roads.

David Parer photographs a bee hiding with a long probe lens
David makes use of a probe lens to {photograph} Dawson’s hiding bees.(Provider: Dr. Barrer and E. Barrer Cook dinner)

However there’s a melancholy facet to many years of nature pictures.

Through the years, David and Liz have witnessed first-hand modifications within the panorama, from erosion to lack of species resembling reptiles, small birds, mammals and bugs – particularly on their well-traveled Australian continent.

Orange head of a bee hiding from under the ground
A feminine Dawson’s burrowing bee emerges from the bottom.(Provider: Dr. Barrer and E. Barrer Cook dinner)

“We seen as we have been driving by means of Nullarbor and into the desert… there was a large lower within the insect inhabitants,” says Liz.

“Now a bug can hardly hit your windshield.”

For Nature of Australia, again within the Nineteen Eighties David and Liz photographed kelp forests on Tasmania’s east coast, however they’re now being destroyed by world warming and different threats.

Each are involved about threats to biodiversity from improvement and local weather change in locations like Exmouth Bay, generally known as the “Ningaloo Arboretum”.

Moonrise over Charles Naif Canyon
Moonrise over Charles Knife Canyon and Exmouth Gulf, the place Liz and David have photographed a number of occasions.(Provider: Dr. Barrer and E. Barrer Cook dinner )

How issues have modified within the final 50 yearsAnd Once we all thought wild locations and animals would stay the identical as they have been after we first filmed them,” says David.

“How improper we have been. The decline is accelerating.

“Once you reside in an accelerating charge of change, you do not actually acknowledge it till you look again.”

The couple is now concerned in conservation teams, and so they hope to make use of social media, together with the brand new one YouTube channelto proceed displaying the endangered great thing about the pure world.

“We predict until you attain out to folks and share what you are seeing in these distant locations… it’s totally a lot out of sight, out of thoughts,” Liz says.

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Play Video.  Duration: 1 minute 28 seconds

A clip from one among David and Liz’s YouTube channel reveals stingrays catching swarms of falling crabs. (Copyright D. Parer & E. Parer-Cook dinner)

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