How was the "Cutest Quokka photo of all time" captured?
This is the "Cutest Quokka Photo of all time"
That's right! This photo here has been labelled the cutest Quokka photo of all time. It was captured by As Happy as a Quokka® founder, Campbell Jones in January of 2017 and has been viewed across the world over 26 million times on sites and pages including National Geographic, 9gag, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and many more.
Newspapers, TV news, magazines and blogs have reported on this image over the last four years, but now it is time to hear from Campbell himself, on how he was lucky enough to capture this truly unique image, and what effect it has had since.
*Would you rather hear the story from Campbell? Click the play button above and jump to the 3:35 (three minutes and thirty five seconds) mark of the episode to hear the story from when he spoke on the Aussie Outdoorsman Podcast*
In January of 2017, Campbell and his ex-girlfriend, Emily headed over to Rottnest Island to celebrate his birthday. This was Campbell's first time going to Rottnest but one of many for Emily, who knew Campbell would love the Quokkas. Campbell often gets motion sickness on planes and boats, and this occasion was no different. His body didn't agree with the waves of the ocean, making the start of the day not very pleasant, but it didn't stop them from having a great day.
Once arriving on the island, they spent time riding around the beaches, and along the way, they found a group of Quokkas hanging out on the side of the road. Emily and Campbell stopped to take some photos and tried to capture a Quokka selfie, and that is when this unique Quokka photo was captured.
Campbell had been using his GoPro camera a lot already during the day and it was nearly running out of power, so he grabbed his battery pack and power cord from his backpack, and plugged it in. He was charging his camera while filming the moment of these curious Quokkas coming over to Campbell's backpack searching for food. One of the Quokkas was actually able to unzip his backpack that was laying on the floor, and tried to access the bundles of grapes inside. Campbell quickly moved the bag away from the Quokka and zipped it up.
After placing the backpack down on the floor, away from the Quokkas, he continued filming as he stepped away, and one Quokka started to follow as you can see in the below video shared by National Geographic.
The Quokka then continued to jump towards Campbell, with outstretched arms that seemed to be attempting to hug Campbell's legs, but upon reflection, Campbell believes the Quokka was furious that he didn't give it any of those grapes! One final jump took place, with Campbell leaning down with his camera, placing it luckily in the perfect spot for this moment to be captured.
Campbell and Emily made their way back towards the Rottnest settlement for lunch, and Campbell was able to take a look through the photos and footage he had captured, and that was when he realised he had captured something truly special.
Once he got home, he put the video onto his computer and saved the specific frame as an image, because it was captured in video mode (1080p at 60fps), and then did some quick colour correction editing of the image. Campbell only just recently got instagram, and didn't use it often, let alone know what a hashtag was and what they achieved. His best mate, Peter told him what hashtags were when he posted it, and then his social media of less than 200 followers started to explode!
Small Instagram pages related to animal photography and tourism started to repost the image before larger pages started to come across the image and share it too. Before too long it was getting shared everywhere. Channel 7's Sunrise News Program reached out to Campbell to have a live interview about the image, Rottnest Fast Ferries requested an opportunity to chat about purchasing the image, and even celebrities from the US were sharing it on their own social media pages.
This was Campbell's first experience with social media and he didn't know much regarding the world of business, photography and marketing, and he now realises he missed out on a lot of opportunities to capitilise on this image. He sold copyright to Rottnest Fast Ferries (but later opened up new discussions about a co-license agreement) for a small figure. In the meantime international newspapers, blogs and TV news programs were sharing the story, and Campbell only wishes he knew what he knows now at that point in time.
The moment he believes it reached its peak of reach around the globe was when Jennifer Garner, the American actress shared the photo on her personal Instagram page. Campbell says that he woke up the next morning with over 16,000 followers and Instagram had blocked his account because they believed he must have paid for followers or used bots. After two days, Instagram unlocked his account again, realising he hadn't cheated their algorithm but removed those new followers, just in case they were not real.