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 for the reason that late Nineteen Seventies – from the Galapagos Islands to Norway, and from the Australian outback to Antarctica.

They usually’ve captured these distant spots – and particularly the animals that dwell there – on movie.

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

With David behind the digital camera 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 correct 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 searching methods of killer whales (orcas).

“They’re most likely 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 project, on one event filming David Attenborough’s improbable nature sequence, Life on Earth. Liz joined him in a few of these images.

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. Barrier and E. Barrier Cook dinner)

From day one, they weren’t fairly positive 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 learning cosmic rays in Antarctica. Liz has levels in sociology and schooling, and is educated in the usage of movies as an academic instrument.

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. Barrier and E. Barrier Cook dinner)

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

“Liz is a tremendous researcher and excellent with individuals. I buried my head within the tools.”

Not that he is a instrument man, David is fast to level out, however he does observe technological developments from particular lenses to imaging methods for getting the very best pictures.

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

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

Liz says persons are typically “a little 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. Barrier and E. Barrier Cook dinner)

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

“And we do not combat rather a lot,” she laughs.

David and Lees photograph the moonrise over the desert of Exmouth Bay
David and Liz, now of their 70s, just lately traveled to Western Australia the place they captured the moon rising over Exmouth Bay.(Provider: Dr. Barrier and E. Barrier Cook dinner)

Lively volcanoes and difficult terrain

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

“We had an amazing 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 just lately has been a subject of desert peas in Sturt.(Provider: Dr. Barrier and E. Barrier Cook dinner)

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

However their past love 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 dwelling beneath the salt crust of the well-known lake.(Provider: Dr. Barrier and E. Barrier Cook dinner)

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

Different jaw-dropping pictures have been this one in every of 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 international locations, utilizing specifically developed underwater digital camera methods.

“We labored as a two-person crew with different individuals 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. Barrier and E. Barrier Cook dinner)

Filming typically entails 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. Barrier and E. Barrier 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 suppose 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. Barrier and E. Barrier Cook dinner)

This was when Liz and David spent two years within the Galapagos Islands with their 3-year-old daughter Filming three BBC packages 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. Barrier and E. Barrier Cook dinner)

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

Below 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 out of the blue realized that it was truly a mom whale and she or he had a child on her nostril and she or he 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. Barrier and E. Barrier 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 onerous to seize 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 only one,000 numbats left within the wild.(Provider: Dr. Barrier and E. Barrier Cook dinner)

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

Utilizing a particular lens, David and Liz acquired their first pictures of Dawson’s burrowing bees, an insect that has an odd 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. Barrier and E. Barrier Cook dinner)

However there’s a melancholy aspect to a long time of nature images.

Through the years, David and Liz have witnessed first-hand adjustments within the panorama, from erosion to lack of species equivalent to 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. Barrier and E. Barrier Cook dinner)

“We observed 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 growth and local weather change in locations like Exmouth Bay, referred to 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 instances.(Provider: Dr. Barrier and E. Barrier 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 fallacious we have been. The decline is accelerating.

“Once you dwell in an accelerating price 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 exhibiting the endangered great thing about the pure world.

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

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Play Video.  Duration: 1 minute 28 seconds

Clip from one in every of David and Liz’s YouTube channel movies of stingrays catching swarms of falling crabs. (Copyright D. Parer & E. Parer-Cook dinner)

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