How We Made It Rain In The Peak District!
Behind the scenes at an Outdoors Magic photo shoot and how our surreal outdoors rain room helped waterproof jackets look wet.
You might have noticed some changes at Outdoors Magic in the last couple of months: a brighter, easier to use, more modern platform for a start, a new logo too. But just as importantly, we've started working with top outdoors photographer Lukasz Warzecha to bring you really stunning images of the products we review.
The idea is to show gear being used, properly, in an outdoor environment. Being worn. So you can see exactly how it looks.
All of which is easy to say, but not always quite as easy to achieve. Take our recent shots for the Best Women's Waterproof Jackets feature. Ever noticed how mostly waterproof jackets are photographed, well, in the dry?
That seemed wrong to us, so we decided we'd photograph them properly, in the rain. The trouble with that though, is that even in the notoriously wet Peak District, where we review kit, rain isn't very cooperative.
It never arrives when you book it, is usually the wrong consistency, and frequently comes with really bad light. On top of that, it has a tendency to destroy very expensive professional camera equipment.
So what do you do? Well, what we did was get hold of a 33 amp-hour car booster pack and a 12v operated mountain bike power washer and carry them, along with our models for the day Dave and Emmy, up onto the flanks of Kinder.
Once there, we set up our very own outdoors rain room in the midst of the sheep and the tussocks and the moors. Remote Speedlite flashes and diffusers optimised the light.
Then we took it in turns to wield the (not particularly) high-powered jet-wash and fend off the local wildlife - mostly curious sheep - while Lukasz focussed on capturing our test jackets in all their glorious dripping wetness.
And things we discovered in the process? Lukasz spends a lot of time lying down in gorse and other shrubbery to perfect his images. Passing walkers in a terribly polite British sort of way, tended not to ask the obvious question of what the hell we thought we were doing simulating rain in the Peak District.
And most concerning of all, wielding the spray gun turned even the most sensible of us - probably Emmy to be fair - into a giggling, quasi-sadistic super-soaker. We have no idea why, it's just how it works.
Meanwhile, Lukasz's assistant Jimmy, the youngest of the team, somehow managed to maintain an imperturbably mature and sensible demeanour despite considerable provocation and an awful lot of silliness.
And the results, we think, are a little bit good.... And this, we have to say, is just the start as we try to make Outdoors Magic distinctively different and show you the latest and best outdoors kit around, not only painstakingly used and reviewed, but beautifully and distinctively photographed too.