Wildlife Photographer Neil McIntyre's perspective on how perfect Harkila Clothing is for someone in his profession...
You’d be right in thinking the top priorities for a wildlife photographer would be cameras, lenses and all that technical type stuff, and of course it is. However, right up there with these crucial daily pieces of equipment would be the outdoor clothing I wear.
A typical day out photographing in the Scottish Highlands will inevitable involve dealing with inclement weather and having to crawl/stalk around in a multitude of varied rough terrains.
You can start to appreciate that to deal with that and stay dry and comfortable throughout the day, the clothing must be something that bit special. If you get soaked or cold, the day can just end up miserable and unpleasant.
It must be now around 10 years ago that I first discovered Harkila. Previously I had used other brands, mainly geared towards the mountain climbing fraternity. They were OK, but none ever really ticked all the boxes I needed from my clothing.
I come from a gamekeeper family, my late father was keeper all his days and my brother followed in his footsteps as has his son, my nephew. It was during a conversation one day that I mentioned I was sick of not finding the right gear when a family member said why not have a look in some of the country sports shops, as they don’t just stock tweeds but some new brands coming from Scandinavia.
This sounded very interesting and indeed a visit to a local shop soon followed. It was there I discovered the Harkila Pro Hunter range, and I made my first purchase. I still have and wear that Harkila jacket today.
Very quickly I realised this is what I had been looking for and It could now tick all my boxes. Waterproof, warm, robust and hard-wearing beyond anything else I had tried. The ideal number of pockets, nicely positioned, and good fit. And something I had always yearned for: silent, non-rustling material. That noisy material used to drive me nuts in previous brands!
Having been so enthused about the jacket I soon invested in a pair of Harkila Pro Hunter Trousers. Again, like the jacket, the Harkila trousers served every purpose and need I had. Since then, I must admit I have been a bit addicted to Harkila. Such is their wide range I have added other various items like a lighter-weight jacket more suited to non-winter seasons, and likewise with trousers. Shirts, mid layers and fleeces also followed, along with caps.
A large proportion of my work is taking out other photographers on guided days to photograph red deer, mountain hares and the likes. Very quickly many of them started to notice and ask about Harkila as they had not seen the make before.
Once I explained the merits and reasons why I use it, I know of a good few of them went on to purchase Harkila jackets or trousers or both. I know because they were wearing them the next time they visited!
Likewise with some fellow pro photographer colleagues, I have also converted them to Harkila as they had similarly suffered the same inadequacies with other brands as I had.
In a nutshell, Harkila maybe aimed at the deer stalkers and many other hunting participants and is made to suit their specialised needs, but these needs are no different from a wildlife photographer’s. My only regret is I never realised that sooner than I did!