Wildlife & nature photographer, Jeff Parker, was captivated by nature’s big screen long before he developed a passion for capturing it with the camera.
He thoroughly enjoys helping other nature-lovers improve their photography techniques and also showing them great places to do so. How much luckier could he be? — Jeff gets to talk photography with others who love the natural world!
Jeff’s photographs have appeared in many publications and websites including: Audubon Magazine, NANPA’s Expressions, American Profile, American Airlines’ Celebrated Living, American Profile Magazine, Texas Journey Magazine,Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine,Texas Wildlife Magazine, and Cenizo.
His work is also found in the books Images for Conservation – Book Three: Borderlands of Laredo, Texas Edition (Pro-Tour series),Wildlife in Focus IV & Wildlife in Focus V.
Jeff was an award-winner in the 2010 Images for Conservation Pro-Tour, a prestigious contest that had 20 world-class professional wildlife photographers competing for $180,000 in prizes. He also took home his share of prize money from three of the well-known Wildlife in Focus contests.
Jeff’s a member of the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), the Nature Conservancy, and the Audubon Society. He’s also a Corpus Christi Certified Wildlife Guide.
Jeff credits photography with bringing a deeper awareness to issues of conservation. He especially appreciates how the lens highlights nature’s needs throughout the Americas.
Jeff shoots Canon, but thinks Nikon and other fine brands make great equipment, too.
Currently, his favorite camera bodies are his Canon 5D Mark III and his Canon 7D. The 5D allows for amazingly high ISO’s and the 7D is great for wildlife because of its crop-factor and faster frame rate.
Jeff recommends putting your money into your lenses. His wife, Mary O. jokes that his Canon 600mm f/4 was “our new car for a long while.” In spite of the cost, he’s never regretted the purchase as it has allowed him to get some of his most amazing shots. His next purchase will be a Canon 200-400mm f/4 lens with Internal 1.4x Extender.
He also has a Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6, which has proven to be his most versatile lens. When working in macro, Jeff uses a Sigma 105mm f/2.8 and for wide-angle shots he gets out his Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 autofocus lens.
Jeff recommends carbon-fiber tripods for two reasons: 1) They are lighter weight for the same strength and; 2) They don’t conduct the cold as much when you’re working in places like Bosque del Apache or Patagonia.
Each has pros and cons and he uses them in difference circumstances. The Induro is great because it goes quite high (Jeff’s over 6-feet tall) and can use it without having to stoop over. For those lying-on-the-ground flower shots and such, the Induro also works well due to no center post. Its large-diameter leg locks are easier on the hands than the Gitzo (and faster to change); however, they can sometimes inadvertently come loose and a leg will start to collapse. The Gitzo, then, isn’t as much of a quick-change artist, but it tends to stay put better.
When photographing birds-in-flight, Jeff mounts his big lenses to his tripod using a gimbal head from Wimberley because it’s the next best thing to hand-held. For flight and other wildlife photography, Jeff prefers a gimbal to a ball head because it does not flop over when he lets go; however, when shooting landscapes he prefers to his Kirk BH-1 Ballhead with quick release.