Photoessay: last of the Queenstown landscapes

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Trailing moon

We leave Queenstown today with my favourite images from the trip – a few you’ve seen before, most you haven’t, and all I feel evoke some sort of emotion – for me, at any rate. I don’t always think photoessays need a lot of description, sometimes they can just be appreciated as-is. Of course, one has to bear in mind the limitations of the web and the fact that for most of these, you’re looking at 1% or less of the total image…an Ultraprint or very large conventional print is really the only way to appreciate all of the information at once. Of course, these images are available as Ultraprints (except Tree and River, which is sold out from a previous edition) – please drop me an email or comment if you’re interested. Enjoy! MT

This series was shot with a Ricoh GR, Pentax 645Z, and Nikon D810 with Zeiss 1.4/85 Otus APO-Planar. Files were processed with the techniques covered in Outstanding Images 5: processing for style and The Monochrome Masterclass

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I will shoot what I want

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Silhouette of a woman.

On the face of it, this seems like a very obvious statement of intention. For most people, this is not even something that gets called into question (see this article on why we photograph). Perhaps it’s an odd issue I’m personally facing, but the discussion of all things photographic and creative is the purpose of this site after all. Of late, I’m stuck between four places: photographing the commercial, as specified by the client; photographing what appeals to me personally, which is almost always not commercially viable at all; photographing what the audience of this site wants to see and photographing what the art world dictates I should be doing.

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The fast compact normal conundrum

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Diamonds

I’ve been receiving a lot of email lately. This in itself is not unusual, but it appears that something I quietly bought has stirred the pot somewhat. You see, I’m now a Fuji user (again; I owned the first original X100 in Malaysia, and an X20 and XF1 and XQ1 since). The Fuji fanboys have always said I was biased and paid by the other companies not to use Fuji; the other fanboys have now started emailing me saying I sold out. Sorry guys, the simple truth is nothing so exciting. I bought an X-T1 at retail from my usual dealer in KL with my own money. Two things changed: firstly, ACR in its very latest iteration appears to have changed something in the soup to make X-trans file workflow at least acceptable, if not perfect; secondly, the fast compact normal conundrum demanded a solution.

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New year’s resolutions: 2015

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2014 ending, 2015 beginning, or both, depending on your point of view?

Setting personal photographic and creative goals for the forthcoming year has become a bit of a tradition for this site – so far, I think I’ve done reasonably well in hitting my targets. Perhaps it’s a holdover from my corporate days when you had to set targets for the projects or divisions under your purview for planning, or worse, so you could later be judged against them. When it comes to running your own business and that overlaps with where you personally want to go with your own creative development, a little more careful thought is required.

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Photoessay: Havana reflections

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Imperial purple

A conceptually simple photoessay today, focusing on the difference between the real and virtual, hard and soft. Usually, the reflection of something is soft because it is indistinct and formed in a physical object that is clean, polished, crisp, and thus well-defined; however, in the case of Cuba, it’s the opposite. The physical objects are old, not always clean, have decaying or faded edges, and it’s the reflection that becomes more solid thanks to the hardness and intensity of the sun reflecting off them. The idea becomes more tangible than reality; it can be simply an interesting visual juxtaposition, or perhaps a metaphor for something politically stronger – especially in the case of Cuba. Beyond that, Havana itself becomes very visually interesting after a rain: the clouds don’t linger thanks to the sea breeze, and we land up with either a clear or Magritte sky and great texture in everything else. Enjoy! MT

This series was shot with a Nikon D800E, 70-200/4 VR, Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 and Ricoh GR.

Finally, for those who haven’t seen it: How To See Ep.5, Havana is here, free and in full. :)

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Prague and Lucerne 2015 Masterclasses open for booking

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Prague

Prague, Czech Republic, 9-14 March 2015 (best suited to urban, architecture and street)
Lucerne, Switzerland, 17-22 March 2015 
(+/- a day or so; best suited to urban, architecture and landscape)
Duration: 6 days, four practical and two classroom
Tuition cost: US$2,300; $2,600 special bundle including Outstanding Images Ep. 1-5 and Intro to PS Workflow
(required, but most participants usually have some or all of these already)

Want to be challenged? Inspired? Push yourself to take your images to the next level? The Masterclasses are aimed squarely at you. They are for the photographer who already understands the fundamentals and is looking at developing their own style, evolving creatively and spending some time with like-minded individuals. The aim is no longer about building core fundamentals by exercises, but to work on vision, the ability to assess and curate one’s work, application of style, postprocessing, and being able to put together a coherent set of images to an objective.

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Post-Christmas humour 2014: photographic definitions

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As part of the ongoing annual tradition on this site…I present the 2014 Christmas Humor post: Photographic Definitions. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas everybody! May the gold and silver boxes under your tree not be empty and purely for decoration. MT

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Merry Christmas: a free How To See Ep.5, Havana, and a special HTS 1-4 bundle

Ming Thein’s How To See Ep. 5: Havana from Ming Thein on Vimeo.

Happy holidays! The traditional Christmas humour post will return in a couple of days, but in the meantime I’ve got a present for you all: a special edition of How To See – Ep.5: Havana, Cuba. Unlike the other videos, it’s a free, full episode in 720P HD (a little shorter at 1h than the usual 2h+ epics, and you may need to click through to Vimeo to get 720p because of the page width). Paypal won’t let us take payment for anything that’s Cuba-related, so we’ve decided to give it away instead for all of you to enjoy – perhaps something to watch in the afternoon once the presents are done and the post-lunch food coma has set in on the rest of the family…just hit the play link in the embedded video window above. If you did enjoy it, there’s always a handy donation link in the sidebar (but please don’t use the words ‘cuba’ or ‘havana’ anywhere :)

The How To See series is what a lot of people have asked me for in the past – the ability to look over my shoulder as I shoot to see what I notice and and how I compose when I’m in a given situation, of course with explanations. You can get a feeling of the ambient surroundings to get a sense of context, plus what’s outside the frame to understand the compositional choices I had  at the time. In addition, I talk about the structure and composition of each final image shown, what attracted me, what the the artistic, compositional and postprocessing considerations were, and what my thoughts were at the time of capture. It is a vicarious exploration through five exciting cities; a travel guide of sorts for photographers, and a personal masterclass in learning to see the unusual in the ordinary.

I’m also using this opportunity to put out a special How To See video bundle – travel vicariously for more than nine hours over the holiday season and get all episodes 1-4 covering Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Penang and Melbourne for $92 off at just $160 (regular price: $252). This offer is valid for a limited number of customers only, and is available right here from the teaching store. Trailers and testimonials for HTS 1-4 after the break.

Merry Christmas!

HTS xmas bundle

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Photoessay: Vertical alpine winterscapes

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Before sunset

Today’s photoessay is a sort of conclusion or coda to yesterday’s post from the Arrow River Delta; whilst it was shot in broadly the same area, it has a little more focus to the presentation, but a similar theme and somewhat more altitude. Enjoy! MT

This series shot with a Ricoh GR, Pentax 645Z, 55/2.8 SDM and 200/4 FA lenses, Nikon D810 and Zeiss 1.4/85 Otus APO-Planar.

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The appeal of landscape

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Meiji Shrine garden, Tokyo

I admit to being very late to the game in landscape photography – it’s something I’ve not really done seriously until pretty much this year; I suppose the main reason was a solid lack of opportunity. When you live in the tropics, then your shooting hours are limited: light is great in the morning and evening, but weather usually conspires against you with pollution, convection rain, or just general haze. Travel opportunities have changed that somewhat, however I think my quest to create images that are the kind of art you’d want to hang has lead me to look at new subject matter. This of course in conjunction with the ongoing quest to find subject matter that makes the most of the immersive experience of the Ultraprints and vice versa.

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