Exploring North American Landscapes
Visions and Lessons in Digital Photography
Publisher: Rocky Nook
Final Release Date: February 2011
Pages: 230

Over the years, photographers have come to know one thing is certain in the landscape photography world: there are places in America that have become icons of the landscape. This book focuses on a few places that have become such a draw, almost as if the rocks and trees have demanded to be photographed.

As a third generation landscape photographer, Marc Muench has been fortunate to be one photographer that has lived the experience, explored the regions, lugged the large cameras, waited for the light, and, in a few cases, photographed a unique location for the first time. Marc discusses how landscape photography is more than simply an exploration of the landscape, but is also an exploration of your equipment and, ultimately, of yourself.

The question is asked over and over: what is it that makes your heart beat faster and your blood begin to rush, leading you to reach for your camera? Muench believes the answers to this question are buried in the many stories of what landscape photographers have been doing over the past fifty years. He writes about his stories, his father's stories, and his grandfather's stories; and he shares the images that have, in a way, become what people around the world think of when they imagine what the more dramatic America looks like.

An entire section of this book is devoted to the technical aspects of landscape photography, including what equipment to use, techniques for working with environmental conditions, and easy to understand step-by-step lessons on image optimization using Photoshop and other tools.

Muench's stunning images will inspire anyone who picks up this book, and photographers from the amateur to the professional level will learn how they too can find, capture, and process their own amazing landscape images.
Foreword by Katrin Eismann

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oreillyExploring North American Landscapes

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history of Muench dynasty and workshop

By gary in alaska

from anchorage, ak

About Me Lover of photography

Verified Reviewer


  • Accurate
  • Easy to understand
  • Excellent narrative
  • Helpful examples
  • Large format color images
  • Well-written


  • Camera settings missed

Best Uses

  • Intermediate

Comments about oreilly Exploring North American Landscapes:

I like this book. It tells about photography, but more importantly reveals the author's family, his impetus and why he produces beautiful images. If that weren't enough, the second half of the book is a course, to learn how he creates and produces the images of nature, so many shared both in color and black & white in the book.

When I saw this book was being released, I thought of Marc Muench's family, where I'd heard the name Muench and Arizona Highways magazines beautiful photos I grew up on. Josef Muench was born in Germany and came to America to be one of the first outside of the Navajo's to photograph Monument Valley, he went on to work for Arizona Highways for over 50 years. David Muench was nature's archivist, using photography to record the vanishing realm. So it's easy to see younger Marc continuing and bringing his teaching skills, that are evident in this book in chapters on -

Setting the Range
Manual HDR

His examples are many, and yet, some of his big images could have included his camera's settings. But he does show examples, how he chose the actual image we see, and the ones he didn't and why. It's obvious he loves nature, the sea, winter snow. A test I often ask myself when reading a book, is it a book that I'll return to, to reference, and this book, is one of those that will continue to teach me, but then again, I'm not advanced in photography, so I think the audience for the book, is more middle range.

One chapter I liked was Evolving Methods. And a part I liked was shooting into the sun, a way, many of us get caught trying, and not succeeding. He starts with, " I like shooting into the Sun." He then goes through the steps using HDR, with examples of creating images with sun stars and clouds, to no flares and better contrast.

If you're looking for a book, that talks why shots are made, where the author's creative juices come from including his family's huge influence, and finally many lessons with examples, you'll like this book. If you are looking more for a step by step tutorial of photography, mostly, then, this isn't the book. For my eyes, I respond to both parts, and just like to sometimes be inspired by beautiful images of nature, Marc is very good.

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