Exploring North American Landscapes by Marc Muench
I’m not convinced. Not completely. Not yet. The strongest case for me to investigate HDR (high dynamic range) imagery so far comes from Marc Muench. His latest book, Exploring North American Landscapes, will be released on Valentines Day 2011 by Rockynook.
His explorations take him (and his readers) from his beloved Sierra Nevada Mountains to the swamps along the Natchez Trace in Mississippi. The journey continues to Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina, the Appalachian Trail in Virginia and on to the coast of Maine. And let’s not forget Alaska and Arizona, too.
Part One of the book, “Explorations and Visions” includes six chapters covering his philosophy as an artist, his family tradition of professional photography, and a special chapter with images of his favorite places. The chapters are filled with personal stories and he details his impression of what makes photography art.
Part Two is composed of eight lessons that help the reader understand how he is able to produce such technically brilliant and emotionally appealing images – time after time. Basics such as lighting and digital workflow are covered along with details on panoramic images and HDR. The lessons are laid out logically, usually step-by-step and easy to follow, understand, and apply.
The one aspect of Exploring North American Landscapes we found inconvenient is the “Index of Feature Images” on the last page. There are no page numbers associated with the listings and they aren’t necessarily easy to find in the corresponding chapter by title alone.
This writer’s philosophy has always been to try to get the image right in the camera and therefore need minimal post-production edits. Muench agrees, “I prefer capturing landscapes that appear so surreal in reality that no surreal processing is required.” However, many of his images appear to be products of HDR processing. The drama he is able to produce in his images may convince me to give HDR a try.
Muench, a native of California, is currently the “artist-in-residence” at dgrin.com for Smugmug and active in their “Muench University”. He is also an editor for the National Park Service. See the video trailer here.