Photoessay: The boats of Amsterdam

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I must first apologize for the enormous processing backlog that has kept me from posting any images from the Amsterdam and Prague workshops several months ago to the site; the astute of you will have seen them go up on Flickr a little while ago, though.

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I’d like to collate these by theme and present them here as curated photoessays; we’ll start with the boats of Amsterdam; which I felt was very much the essence of the city – new, old, majestic, run down, but all with character; and an inseparable part of the canals, which define Amsterdam itself. Curiously, I didn’t see any red-light or coffeeshop boats, which seems to be an odd omission given how prevalent such activities are throughout the city…

Images were shot with an Olympus OM-D E-M5, Panasonic 14-42 X pancake, Leica 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH via adaptor, and Ricoh GR sometimes with the GW-3 converter. Enjoy! MT

These images were made during the October 2013 Making Outstanding Images Workshop in Amsterdam; 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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2014 Making Outstanding Images Workshops: Melbourne, Sydney and London – click here for more information and to book!


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


  1. Test post / delete or ignore…

  2. Reblogged this on dariuszwaclawek.

  3. You certainly have a way of backing up your blog with outstanding photographs. Since I’ve tried my own hand at photographing Amsterdam (twice), as well as a few boats here and there, I can really appreciate this simple series of related photographs. In fact, without trying, you’re teaching me what a “portfolio” is all about as opposed, say, to a bunch of photographs that just happened to be taking in Amsterdam. [Okay, some of my own!]. This is a compliment, of course. I don’t think that is is so easy to put together a coherent set of photographs that all merit being included and “make sense” at the same time. It takes some discipline not to wander off and shoot the brothels if you stumble across them looking for boats. I suspect it’s also easy to give up if you don’t automatically encounter just the right number of nice boats to shoot. Work, in other words, perhaps easier for some than others. You have to have some idea what you want, either beforehand or as it unfolds. Not to mention a new twist on an old idea of showing something reflected in the water. My favorite of the bunch.

    • Thanks Larry. A portfolio has a consistent theme and style; I actually do this with all of my photoessays. I certainly don’t shoot them all in sequence or exclusivity; they’re culled down and assembled from the hundreds (or thousands) I shoot while I’m there. You could wander off and shoot brothels, just don’t put them in the boats portfolio – they’d probably work better in their own…

  4. Hi Ming. Very nice! On number 4, was the bow of the boat lit? Exif says no flash. reflector? Rope seems to have a hard shadow. Thank you.

  5. Reblogged this on Jusd.

  6. Glad you liked my (adopted) city.

  7. Dwaine Dibbly says:

    Thanks, Ming. I learn something new with every post. I love your sense of composition.

  8. Wow, cool perspective, I had to look twice to see how this is taken. Beatufiul reflection in the water:)

  9. I particularly like the reflection images….they are beautiful and balanced. : ) Trees

  10. Peter Boender says:

    Funny coincidence you’re posting this now, as I made a quick visit to the Haarlemmerdijk area yesterday (by cheer chance dropped in here very quicly: I was in a rush, so sadly no time for photography, but I certainly felt the energy of Amsterdam that is showing in your photographs here. So, thanks for this post! Lousy weather yesterday BTW: grey, dull, drizzle…

  11. I really like boats. Lots of great photos and ideas here.

  12. I have a fondness for paintings and photographs of boats, yet I’ve never owned one or lived near the sea. Your photos of red boats appeal to me the most, both for the composition and the shimmery water! Lovely!

  13. Very nice!

  14. I can imagine and feel the temptation to photograph them.

    • It’s what stands out that draws our attention: we don’t have so many boats in the city (well, none actually) where I come from…

      • Looking at the state of the water we*do* have, the last place I would want to be is on any form of aquatic transport.

        • Same here. You can’t even get close without being put off by the smell. Some people – ex colleagues actually – who left to go to the government ‘transformation agency’ were supposed to implement a program to clean it up, but it appears they were just as useless in their new jobs as their old ones. Millions have been spent, and absolutely nothing has been done. A shame and a disgrace.

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