Travel Diary: Postcards from St. John

Behind the scenes from our Beach Living collection shoot

We traveled over 1,600 miles to shoot our Beach Living collection on St. John in the US Virgin Islands to capture shots of its famously serene blue waters and sunny skies. And we got them. But not without a fight.

Our boat from St. Thomas was unusually choppy, and when we got off, the first thing hotel staff handed us were umbrellas. Not sunscreen. A bad omen.

For those who don’t attend photoshoots—day one is usually spent scouting locations. It rained the whole time. Everywhere we went locals and veteran visitors said it was the worst weather they’d seen in over a decade. They told us they dug through their closets for old sweaters they’d had from when they first moved to the island. They joked that their thermometers were broken. They laughed. We didn’t.

But when the islands give you rain, you make … sure you carry umbrellas. We brought them to every location, and oftentimes found ourselves huddled under them during brief downpours before jumping into action to capture photos during moments of sunshine. The silver lining? Rainbows.

But outside our own bout of bad luck, the island had its charm. The roads are narrow and wind through dense forest. A few of us were nervous the car we were in might tumble off the edge of the road or clip an oncoming car. Both, locals said, have been known to happen from time to time.

Speaking of locals, we met a few unusual residents of the island: donkeys. They run wild. Supposedly, a few escaped their owners a couple hundred years ago and have roamed freely since. They’re not shy and, as you can see, will mosey right on up to your camera hoping it’s something tastier.
We ran into a few Lands’ End customers and fans on our shoots, too. One woman was even wearing her Tugless one-piece swimsuit. Lots of people pulled out their phones to share that they were seeing a Lands’ End photoshoot in person. And we’d be lying if we said we didn’t make friends with strangers over a plastic cup of their “beach juice.” (The recipe’s easy: 2 parts juice, 1 part rum. Mix. Drink on the beach.)

And of course it helped to have a great team that knew when to let loose and when to buckle down. Getting up before the sun was a struggle for some. But we made up for it with a dip in the ocean when our workday was done and the sun set behind the islands.

All in all, not a bad day at the office.

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