If you’ve ever loved a mountain … (a short film)

a 3 minute short
a love letter to nature and one of its wonders,
Sentinel Rock in Yosemite National Park.
a vertical video, watch it on your phone!
scroll down to hit play ….

ABOUT:

In Nov of 2023, my wife Cathy and I were checking into the Yosemite Lodge and a very accommodating front desk clerk advised us to take a particular room on an particular side of the Lodge with a particularly outstanding view of Sentinel Rock.
We took her word for it and boy was she right.
Over the next few days, in all types of weather and daylight, we admired Sentinel and her dramatic profile.  Then, on our last full day, i walked the famous 4 Mile Trail, which rises from Yosemite Valley floor to Glacier Point, switchbacking upwards under the face and up the side of Sentinel Rock.
As i walked, and as the clouds lifted, i felt like i was on the best nature-themepark-amusement ride of my life, except that it was me walking it.  Sentinel Rock spoke to me to whole way, and the vistas from the trail were unforgettable.  Glacier Point, my destination, offered a satisfying view and turn around point and on the descent, again, vista after vista of Sentinel Rock bathed in sunlight, even as flakes of snow began falling.
Truly magical.
The text of this video, the poem if you will, spilled out of me as i walked.
Later, at home, it occurred to me that maybe my photos could illustrate that poem.
While researching for other images, i found that painters, authors, sketchers, and other artists had fallen in love with this same rock before me.  I felt in good company.
I didn’t use the great photograph of Sentinel Rock by Ansel Adams, the famous photographer.
I didn’t use the great painting of snowbound Sentinel Rock by Albert Bierstadt, the famous landscape artist.
But i’m delighted that they too were also inspired by this mountain sized sculpture.
But here is a thank you to those whose images i did use:
(roughly in order used)
  • James D. Smillie Engravings, from “Picturesque America”  1872-74
  • Carleton E. Watkins Sepia photos, ca 1875
  • Postcard postmarked 1939, with the scrawled message on back “Dear Folks, It is more beautiful than pictured”
  • William Keith Painting, 1872
  • William Neill Color photo, “Clearing Winter Storm, Sentinel Rock”, 2018  (used with permission)
  • Gary Weimberg All other photos and videos

About the format

If ever there was a video that deserved to be in vertical format, this is it.  It wasn’t any clever creative design on my part and indeed a lifetime of working in horizontal made me extremely uneasy to make this choice.  But … the subject matter strongly suggested in and even more importantly, i choose to NOT swim upstream against the tide of millions/billions of eyeballs.
People watch videos on their phones.
I choose to acknowledge that.
I choose to respect my audience.
So here i am … vertical film maker at last.
Seems like heresy, but … when i share a link and i watch someone instantly and comfortably watch this video on their phone i realize …
Be here now.
This is what people do.
Speak the language of the country you are in.
… and vertical seems to be visual landscape of this moment.
To my fellow film makers,
Please dont burn me at the stake for being a heretic.
video file: edit6

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