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
Explorations and Visions
Chapter 1 Philosophy of Photography
Chapter 2 The Secret Gene
Chapter 3 The Decisive Placement
The Divine Angle
Catching the Perfect Wave
As Good as It Gets!
Heli Skiing in the Rockies
Risks and Rewards
Chapter 4 Chasing the Light
Catching the Light
Chasing the Light
Shooting Directly into the Sun
Revealing the Light
Chapter 5 Evolving Methods
Tilt/Shift for More
Still Time Lapses
Shooting Into the Sun
Chapter 6 Favorite Places
Santa Barbara County
Chapter 7 Making the Exposure
Chapter 8 The Workflow
Step 1 – Logging
Step 2 – Selecting the Images
Step 3 – Post-Processing
Chapter 9 Setting the Range
Chapter 10 Massaging the Middle
All Those Sliders
Two More Great Tools
Chapter 11 Quick Masking for Regional Dynamics
Learning to Decipher the Dynamic Range of a Scene
Calibrations and Profiles
Does Your Image Need Quick Masking?
Chapter 12 Real Color
Chapter 13 Manual HDR
What does HDR Mean: Hyper Digital Reflexes or High Dynamic Range?
Manual HDR: Is There Any Other Way?
HDR vs. SBR
Shooting for HDR Images
Camera Settings and Setup for Manually Exposing HDR
Camera Settings and Setup for Exposing HDR with Auto Bracket Feature
Capturing the Scene Manually
Capturing the Scene with the Auto Exposure Bracketing Feature
Combining Your Exposures
Foreground and Background Colors
Chapter 14 More HDR
Quick and Easy Manual Override
Auto Pixel Smashing with Photomatix or CS5 HDR Pro
One Final Tip
Appendix The First Two Generations of Muench Photographers
Marc Muench was born in Santa Barbara, California, where he now resides with his wife, Stefanie, and their three children. He has been a professional landscape and sports photographer for over 20 years. After completing his studies at Pasadena Art Center College of Design, Marc immediately began photographing for book publishers such as Graphic Arts Center, Browntrout Publishing, and Time Inc. His photographs have appeared in numerous magazines, books, calendars, and postcards, and in 2003, he was designated as a Kodak Photo Icon.
Marc is now the artist-in-residence at dgrin.com for Smugmug, where he contributes on a regular basis to the Muench University critique thread. He is also the photo editor of the National Parks Guide, published by The American Park Network. The guides contain many of his images taken throughout the United States National Park system.
Marc recently completed a year-long video project on Catalina Island for the Catalina Island Conservancy. The five-minute video highlights the new Trans Catalina Trail, capturing dynamic landscapes, wildlife, and hikers exploring their way across the Island.
Marc ™s goal is to convey the drama and the power of nature "to share the experience " in his photographic images. And his images show that, without a doubt, Marc has achieved his goal time and time again.
Comments about Rocky Nook 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 -
Exposure Workflow Setting the Range Color 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.
Bottom Line Yes, I would recommend this to a friend