On the (Not Too Far Away) Road... Again

by - Friday, November 04, 2016

Looking up at Timpanogas from the base at Sundance Mountain Resort
Holiday in June
HOLIDAY. The word can send shivers down the spine of anyone who works, or has worked, at a catalog or retail store during the festive winter months. At Sundance, we start preparation for this season early in the New Year. For 2016, we shot at the top of a Utah ski resort that always boasts plenty of snow well into May, as well as at where it all started, the Sundance Mountain Resort. At the latter, we were in for an enormous treat. Our founder, Robert Redford was there and stopped by while we were shooting to offer his support to the crew.

A rare moment when the bar isn’t full of guests enjoying great service, great food, great music.
The 4-1-1
As the VP of Creative for Sundance Catalog, I have the distinct privilege of meeting with Robert Redford. Discussions range from models and locations to upcoming movie projects and occasional Sundance lore ...The Owl Bar. True story: While traveling around Thermopolis, Wyoming, Mr. Redford walked into a bar and there it was: The original rosewood bar (circa 1890) once frequented by Butch Cassidy’s Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. When he inquired, he was told that it wasn’t for sale. In the hopes of getting a call sooner than later, he left his name and number. Fast forward 10 years, the call came. Immediately a truck was dispatched from the Sundance Mountain Resort to retrieve the bar. Unfortunately, upon arrival it was evident that some creative licenses had been taken. The antique bar was now covered in shag carpeting and linoleum. After the lengthy process of restoring the original details, the bar was brought to the resort and installed where it was meant to be, The Owl Bar.

Dressing the fireplace for premature holiday festivities, after and before
Party in the Owl Bar
We closed the bar down for an entire day (much to the chagrin of many guests at the Sundance Mountain Resort) in order to shoot our festive party clothes. Although the Owl Bar is one of my favorite spots (live music on the weekends, friendliest bartenders, coldest beer), we had to clear everything out, and replace with Sundance merchandise, greenery, and twinkly lights to create that party ambience.

The days are long with no shortage of laughs. Some dramatic improv between the 1st photo assistant and our model during a light test.

Light Test Shenanigans
The Holiday shoot is by far the longest of the year. 18 days on location with models, 7 days working on home and home decor, countless days for jewelry and accessories. On and on. A little background for a typical shot, above. First, creative, sets/props and the photographer pick the location. Next, the set is dressed. Third, photo assistants plan how to light the area. Fourth, the photographer and his team begin tests for lighting. Last, (but far from least) the model appears with the fashion and hair & make-up stylists to get ready for her close-up.

Inspiration for the cover (left), the actual cover (right)

Winter in June?
You never know when a naturally occuring situation can turn into a cover. Frosty, above, showed up with his owner. In order to stay out of our way, they stood patiently in the Aspen glade at Sundance Mountain Resort. Voila! A cover is born. We try not to alter our shots in order to be as authentic as possible. However, on this occasion taking a little color out of the background made the shot feel a bit more magical.

Our model was rendered unavailable for an hour or so
Fan Favorites, these two Siberian Husky puppies were full of boundless energy for most of the day. Along with the adult Huskies we also had on set, these two come from Arctic Rescue, a group whose mission is to save Siberian/Alaskan Huskies and Malamuts. After all of the excitement, the puppies needed a nap. I would guess that this was the most popular photograph taken on the sidelines.

Getting ready for the afternoon photo session at over 10,500 feet. Notice how our model (in the blue jacket) doesn’t seem to have a care in the world?
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
As you would imagine, the further up we go on the mountain, the more unadulterated snow we find. It is quite an effort. We pack the crew, the models, the Siberian Huskies, the trees, the decorations, the props, the photo equipment, and, of course, the clothing/shoes/bags/jewelry. Unload, shoot, then pack everything up for the ride back down to base camp.

A Job Well Done
This season is by far the most intense for our crew. However, it is also hugely rewarding when we wrap and look at all of the beautiful images we have created in these spectacular surroundings.

Happy Holidays 2016! Shop our Holiday Collection here.

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