Yosemite: Honoring an American Icon

by - Thursday, August 24, 2017

Yosemite Valley
One of our defining passions at Sundance is the reverence we hold for natural landscapes. So when it came time to shoot this year’s Fall Collection, we jumped at the chance to go to one of the most awe-inspiring natural places on the planet: California’s Yosemite National Park.

It was a memorable shoot, filmed in a place with deep historical significance for environmental protection.

While last year marked the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service, it was way back in 1864 that Yosemite’s stunning beauty was brought to the attention of President Abraham Lincoln. He signed legislation to set aside Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias to the state of California for protection. It was the first instance of U.S. park land specifically intended for preservation and public use.

However, it actually wasn’t until 1890 that Yosemite National Park was established. 

Overcoming weather on our shoot at Yosemite.
Ranger Kat
Prior to that, environmental trailblazer John Muir lamented that Yosemite still lacked sufficient governmental protection. The valley’s meadows were being overrun by sheep grazing. The area’s giant sequoias were being logged.

Muir and magazine editor Robert Johnson lobbied for Yosemite to receive national park status such as Yellowstone had received years earlier. After much campaigning, Congress eventually signed Yosemite National Park into law. In doing so, they designated 1,169 square miles of land for protection, including such high-country icons as Tuolumne Meadows, Tenaya Lake and Cathedral Peak.

As former president and ardent conservationist Theodore Roosevelt once said, “There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm.” Our founder, Robert Redford, has similar sentiments about the national parks, and Yosemite in particular.

Robert Redford in Yosemite National Park as a young man.

"My appreciation for this jewel runs deep," Redford noted about Yosemite. "I was first introduced to the park at the age of 11, and it was then, as it is today, a spectacular oasis. Nature in its preserved state. I didn't want to just look at it; I wanted to be in it. Over the years, I have been fortunate to experience Yosemite as a camper, climber, and employee."

Today, Yosemite hosts more than 5 million people annually to wonder at its remarkable landscapes, such as the 2,425-foot-tall Yosemite Falls, rock monoliths Half Dome and El Capitan, and three groves of giant sequoias.

This past April, our Sundance photography crew traveled to Yosemite to film our new Fall Collection. Nature, as always, has the upper hand for our outings, and we were blessed (or cursed) with snow, ice and rain while we worked in locations hidden away from the tourist areas.

Enjoy this behind-the-scenes video from our chilly shoot, and shop our new Fall Collection. Please consider, too, a purchase of Four Seasons of Yosemite by Mark Boster. A portion of the proceeds for this gorgeous book go to benefit the important works of the Yosemite Conservancy.

Four Seasons of Yosemite

Continuing our shoot of Fall despite a little rain.

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