Book Review: Plateau Light

The popularity of this book is proven by the fact that it is has been reprinted three times, most recently in 2013. But is it still up to date? David Hay has the review

The National Parks system in America is highly organised, with visitor centres to be found near each site. While photographing in the National Parks, in and around Utah, I found a good selection of photographic books in the visitor centres. Plateau Light by David Muench was on sale in almost all the centres we visited and had great classic photographs of the areas we would be visiting. So this copy was purchased and accompanied us on our travels.


The popularity of this book is proven by the fact that it is has been reprinted three times, most recently in 2013. The photographs themselves were taken between 1985 and 1997 using a Linhof Teknika 5x4 view camera. The large format Fuji Velvia images produced by this system were the very pinnacle of quality at that time, but the technical challenges were great. The limited dynamic range of Fuji Velvia could cause problems in high contrast images with highlight burnout and loss of detail in the shadows, while the lenses had to be stopped right down to get enough depth of field. However, having a technical mastery of these techniques allowed Muench to produce striking photos that rival the best current images of these areas.

As well as the more common focal lengths, 75mm wide-angle and 210 and 300mm medium telephoto lenses, Muench also used a 47mm ultra-wide angle and a 500mm telephoto. The 47mm lens allowed him to take photographs in very tight locations with interesting and unusual perspectives.

In addition to the photographs, there is an eight page essay in the book by David Lawrence ...

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About Author

David Hay

I took up photography at the age of eleven and have been passionate about it ever since. As a retired biologist I still marvel at the beauty of the natural world and try and capture the colours and forms of natural things around me.

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