Refuge hosts L.L. Bean catalog shoot

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A recent forecast called for snow at the National Elk Refuge, but the July weather phenomenon was isolated to the historic Miller House, thanks to a production crew, special effects team, and a well-known retail company specializing in clothing and outdoor recreation equipment.


July 19, 2018

A recent forecast called for snow at the National Elk Refuge, but the July weather phenomenon was isolated to the historic Miller House, thanks to a production crew, special effects team, and a well-known retail company specializing in clothing and outdoor recreation equipment.

L.L. Bean used the Refuge's iconic homestead as one of its backdrops this week, with images scheduled to appear later this year in the renowned company's Christmas catalog. According to Senior Photo Producer, Melissa Klein, the company has a narrow window in which to capture images of new products. Goods are first designed, fabricated, run through a product testing lab, then field tested with third-party testers before getting the thumbs up to go public. Considering the production time needed to create a catalog, photos of the new items often need to be shot out of season. "It's not ideal," she said, "but it's the timeline that works." That's where creativity and a special effects crew comes into play.

To make the scene fitting for the season this week, a production crew made environmentally-friendly artificial snow for the areas appearing in the pictures. Several techniques were used on location, including the application of a watersculpt snow batting to create a winter-like ground cover. An array of props including icicles, a wreath, wrapped packages, and an ornament-laden tree added a convincing element to the look.

Refuge staff added to the ambiance by streaming holiday music during the event set-up and selling a few holiday ornaments in the homestead's small sales outlet.

Want a sneak peek of what's new for the retailer this season? Sorry! True to our word, we're keeping that under wraps and letting the company spill the beans -- no pun intended! -- with their catalog's public launch in November. However, we're shared some fun shots of the work that went into creating the realistic winter scene.

A bit of trivia just for kicks: L.L. Bean was founded in 1912, the same year the National Elk Refuge was established.

Be sure to click on the Adobe PDF version of this article to view a collection of photos.