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VIDEOS | By Anthony Garvin, Produced by Mountain High Arts

Anthony Garvin has photographed and produced two extraordinary videos about the life of John Muir.


VIDEO 1: MY FIRST SUMMER IN THE SIERRA is a documentary video illustrating John Muir's first book My First Summer in the Sierra, published in 1911. The video uses the same basic daily journal format used by Muir in writing his book and traces Muir's adventures and exploration in the Yosemite region and Sierra Nevada mountains of California during the summer of 1869.

Excerpts of John Muir's book are read by the narrator, Lee Stetson, in a Scottish brogue to simulate Muir's own Scottish accent. Lee Stetson is frequently referred to as the voice of John Muir because of his many years portraying John Muir in one-man plays performed in Yosemite National Park and other venues.

The video contains video shot in high definition of Yosemite Valley, the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, Tuolumne Meadow, Mono Lake and the high peaks of the Sierra Nevada. It also contains footage of the plants and animals that John Muir observed that first summer in the Sierra including wildflowers, deer, marmot, bear, coyote, ducks, and other birds. It features every element of nature in its prime including the Yosemite waterfalls, wildflowers of the Sierra foothills and Yosemite meadows, spring foliage, and autumn colors.

By emphasizing passages from Muir's book which highlight his philosophy on man, nature, wilderness, God, and the meaning of life, the video intends to convey to the viewer the importance of preserving wilderness for future generations. It seeks to convey the awe and wonder that Muir felt when he first encountered the beauty and splendor of Yosemlte and the Sierra Nevada mountains.

My First Summer in the Sierra uses traditional Scottish fiddle music composed and performed by Alasdair Fraser from his album Dawn Dance (1995) Cuiburnie Records, and the album Skyedance by Alasdair Fraser and Paul Machlis (1986) CuIburnie Records to enhance its emotional impact.

This full length, one hour video is available in both standard definition DVD and high definition Blu-Ray discs.



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VIDEO 2: IN SEARCH OF JOHN MUIR is a documentary film which traces the life and legacy of the famous California conservationist John Muir from his birthplace in Dunbar, Scotland to his death in 1914 in Martinez, California. The film includes footage shot in Dunbar, Yosemite National Park, the Sierras, Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest which highlight significant events in his life. The film also uses historic photographs from the 19th century to introduce individuals who were important in Muir's life including his wife and two daughters, Jeanne Carr who was Muir's lifelong friend and mentor, and John Strenzel, Muir's father-in-law.

Historic photos are also used showing San Francisco in the 1860's, Hetch Hetchy valley before the construction of a water reservoir for San Francisco, and the glaciers that Muir visited in Alaska. Photos of Muir's magazine articles, journals and drawings are also used to illustrate his work as a conservationist. Plant pressings from the Jepson Herbarium at the University of California in Berkeley are included to illustrate Muir's work as a botanist. Short excerpts from Muir's writings are also used to convey Muir's sense of awe and wonder in Yosemite and the Sierras.

The basic life story of John Muir is told by the narrator and producer of the film, Anthony Garvin. The main accomplishments and significance of Muir's life are told through interviews of rangers from Yosemite National Park and the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez; the curator of the John Muir papers from the Holt-Atherton Collection at the University of the Pacific; the curator of the Jepson Herbarium; and Bonnie Gisel, Ph.D, a nationally recognized author and Muir historian and Curator of the Sierra Club Le Conte Lodge in Yosemite. These interviews cover Muir's contributions as a botanist, a geologist, and above all, as a tireless conservation writer. The film has two main themes. The first is that Muir essentially changed the way that the world views wilderness from one of exploitation to the current view that the natural world should be preserved for future generations. The second theme is that John Muir was just an individual and that an individual can accomplish great things.

The film uses traditional Celtic instrumental tunes from the Out of Ireland CD to enhance the emotional impact of the film.

This standard DVD video is a full length feature film and runs 53 minutes.



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