Photoessay: the clouds of Prague

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I have a theory as to why we as a species seem to be universally attracted to things like clouds, fireworks, water, trees and flowers; that will be the subject of a much longer philosophical elucidation soon, but in the meantime, consider what all of these objects have in common. For today, just enjoy the clouds and their endless variety. :)

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On a more practical note, we had some fantastic weather during the last Prague workshop; personally, I don’t find pure blue skies to be that interesting because they tend to be a bit, well, empty. Clouds, on the other hand, especially the right kind, fill in that potentially dead space quite nicely. And they’re rather easy on the eye, too, which is no bad thing. I freely admit that I have a bit of an obsession with them; it probably has something to do with my penchant for Magritte’s paintings. In any case, due to the quality of light and path of the sun in the tropics (and no doubt the climate, too), I never get to photograph clouds like this unless I’m in more extreme latitudes; it’s got something to do with the way the sun traces a shallow arc at certain times of the year, as opposed to going directly overhead all the time. It also helps that different ambient atmospheric conditions produce very different looking clouds, too. MT

Shot with a mixture of cameras – mainly the OM-D E-M5 and 14-42 X pancake, with the Ricoh GR.

These images were made during the October 2013 Making Outstanding Images Workshop in Prague; I will be holding three more of these in Melbourne, Sydney and London later this year. Click here for more info, and to sign up.

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Organic and inorganic

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Lone mono

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The passage of something large

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Scattered remnants

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Thoughts

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Dominance over sky

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Glowing symmetry

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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards. All rights reserved

Comments

  1. hmm, you had nice weather, I hope you enjoyed your stay there

  2. Ming,

    Don’t you find that polarizing filters make photos of the sky/clouds that much better?

  3. Rain Santiago says:

    Love the photos Ming, awesome light and timing.

    Btw can’t wait for your next philosophical elucidation write up I’m sure that includes the subject sunset as well :D

  4. Отличная работа. Сам люблю Прагу, ее улицы и дома.

  5. Beautiful series. Can’t stress enough the importance of great light :).

  6. This is really evil considering it’s a very good set of images. But is that a persons head down in the frame in “Lone mono”? Doesn’t bother that much but just un-mingish. :) I found “Organic and inorganic” to be really wonderful. Thanks again!

  7. serialphotographer says:

    Clouds work for me Ming live the first the detail in these is astounding

  8. Whenever someone mentions clouds, I mention “Hateruma Island” by Shomei Tomatsu 1971. (1930-2012)

    http://www.artnet.com/artwork/426235316/143415/shomei-tomatsu-hateruma-island.html

    respect!

  9. Kristian Wannebo says:

    Aah, clouds…

    Funny how (un)familiarity affects our view of things.
    These are the kind of clouds we have most sunny days in summer in Sweden.
    So I have to try to forget that in order to really see these photos!

    My favourites: Number 2, Organic and inorganic, Scattered remnants.

    Re. Magritte:
    Another painter fascinated with clouds, prince Eugen , e.g.:

    http://www.waldemarsudde.se/samlingarna/verk-av-prins-eugen/nattmoln/

    http://www.waldemarsudde.se/samlingarna/verk-av-prins-eugen/jagande-skyar/

    http://www.waldemarsudde.se/samlingarna/verk-av-prins-eugen/aftonhimmel-over-vattern/

    • Thanks Kristian. Those impressionistic clouds are interesting because like the real thing, they’re not very well defined at the edges – a photograph struggles a little to accurately replicate the feeling because of this, I think.

      • Kristian Wannebo says:

        “…– a photograph struggles a little to accurately replicate the feeling…”
        I have not thought of it, but there is something in that!
        Yet there are also clouds with rather sharper edges, e.g. lens clouds; they can add to the impression of fuzzieness of other clouds, alas they are rather rare.

  10. I agree that clouds can so make the difference to a picture….

  11. Nice shots, Ming. And what a lovely city! The colours and compositions reminded me of some of the photos I took in Israel with my Nikons… then I saw you were shooting Oly all the way! #BrandFail – it’s all about the man behind the lens, afterall

  12. Stunning set Ming! Really really like them…

  13. lovely city and cloud formations. did you plan ahead knowing when there will likely be good cloud formations or were they coincidental? i suspect its the former rather than latter?

  14. Beautiful set of images Ming! It’s definitely not as easy to find these kind of sheer, delicate clouds and lights where we live, though patience grants surprises!

    • Thanks – I don’t get them in Malaysia either, which is perhaps why I’m so drawn to them…

      • Thats strange, I see these cloud formations all the time, these and thosr that are much more voluminous and threatening.
        You need to get out of your highrise sanctuary more often during working hours.
        I apologise, I was bragging, being retired, I get to see much more sky than those hard working youngsters. :-)

        • I’ve got those too. But read the title of the photoessay: PRAGUE. There weren’t any storms while I was there.

          High rise sanctuary? Not bloody likely. I think you’ve got no idea how many doors need knocking on these days to make a decent living as a photographer.

  15. Neal Elward says:

    Another wonderful set. I would like to express my gratitude for the work you put into this site. I appreciate the integrity more than anything else, but your work is stunning and has encouraged me immeasurably in my photographic journey.

  16. NeutraL-GreY says:

    I agree clouds are nothing short of amazing. I like them because once they are gone you will never see one that is exactly the same. I’m looking forward to that philosophical article you eluded to.

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