Doc­u­ment­ing to in­spire

Cam­era­man Jake La­ten­dresse has a well-earned rep­u­ta­tion for cap­tur­ing the essence of life in the great out­doors. Whether it’s stalk­ing bears with a bow hunter in Canada, scal­ing peaks near his home in Colorado, or fol­low­ing duck hun­ters to the other side

Field and Game - - OUTDOORS CAMERAMAN -

Jake joined leg­endary duck hunter Ram­say Rus­sell and Ryan Bassham from Sitka to doc­u­ment their hunts in South Aus­tralia and Vic­to­ria with Glenn Falla’s guid­ing ser­vice, Falla’s Wa­ter­fowl Out­fit­ters. “It didn’t take much to get me here, Ram­sey twisted my arm only a lit­tle bit,” he joked.

Jake made it his mis­sion to learn the lan­guage (ask­ing for dead horse on his pies and greet­ing ev­ery­one with g’day mate) but he will not be at­tempt­ing Vegemite again any time soon. It was how­ever, the only bit­ter taste left from his Aussie ad­ven­ture.

“The story I will tell friends is of the duck hunt­ing com­mu­nity here. Hon­estly, I didn’t know it was as con­nected as it is. I didn’t re­alise how sim­i­lar it would be, fa­mil­iar is prob­a­bly a bet­ter word for it,” he said. “I’ve been reach­ing out to the world on so­cial me­dia say­ing peo­ple should come here, for no other rea­son than they need to see what is go­ing on here, be­cause it is a unique op­por­tu­nity.”

As usual, Jake’s main mis­sion in Aus­tralia was to cap­ture com­pelling footage.

It takes a cer­tain amount of brav­ery (and a good in­sur­ance pol­icy) to wade into a swamp with a high-end dig­i­tal cin­ema cam­era, a dig­i­tal SLR and a bunch of lenses, but Jake is up for the chal­lenge.

You can take all the care in the world, but you also have to take risks to cap­ture the mo­ments that mat­ter to the story. “Ram­sey wanted to cre­ate some sto­ries on his duck hunt­ing ad­ven­tures around the world and flat­tered me by ask­ing me to help,” Jake said. “I’m glad I am here be­cause this is a tremen­dous trip.”

Jake wants the best for his clients but there is an­other, un­der­ly­ing mo­ti­va­tion driv­ing all his work; the need

to tell real sto­ries.

“I see it as very im­por­tant. I don’t know the ex­act per­cent­ages but a large pro­por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion lives vi­car­i­ously through other peo­ple’s ex­pe­ri­ences,” he said. “It used to be through mag­a­zines or tele­vi­sion but the ex­plo­sion of so­cial me­dia has in­ten­si­fied the vi­car­i­ous cu­rios­ity of peo­ple. “My sto­ries are not just about hunt­ing, they are life sto­ries, which hap­pen to be about peo­ple who hunt be­cause I’m an ad­vo­cate for the ac­tiv­ity of hunt­ing, but there is so much more to it than that.”

Por­tray­ing hunt­ing well helps to in­form and ed­u­cate the vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple who have no con­nec­tion to hunt­ing, and will never choose to ex­pe­ri­ence it for them­selves.

Of course, hun­ters the world over will lap it up, and some will be in­spired enough to em­bark on their own ad­ven­ture to hunt ducks in Aus­tralia. Jake isn’t done with the is­land con­ti­nent either. “I know there’s so much more of Aus­tralia left to see,” he said. “Re­ally, when it comes down to it, you peel this camo off and I’m just a wildlife and ad­ven­ture en­thu­si­ast, al­ways have been, and from child­hood I’ve been in­ter­ested in Aus­tralia and Africa. “Even in the United States there is such di­ver­sity and va­ri­ety of things we can do. I live in Colorado and pinch my­self when I’m driv­ing the kids to school and look up at two 14 000 ft peaks. Then I come to Aus­tralia, or Mon­go­lia or Africa and I have to pinch my­self, I never take it for granted be­cause not ev­ery­one gets to do what we do.”

You can check out more of Jake’s work by search­ing for La­ten­dresse Me­dia Col­lec­tive.

Jake La­ten­dresse on lo­ca­tion in South Aus­tralia

Photo; Jess Delorenzo Photo; Bran­don Fien

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