My wife dislikes James Michener. "He's so unbelievably wordy in terms of the setting and describing every aspect of the place." I'll admit to being a science nerd so I actually like Michener's lengthy descriptions of the changing geology over the eons. When I begin a new novel, I tend to find myself beginning with the setting as well. I'm no James Michener, but I like to describe it using all my senses. The prose comes more naturally and it gets me into a writing rhythm. The dialogue usually flows freely after this 'senses setup'. Even when I have no idea of the plot yet, there's always the setting.