_8B03521 copy - Tree and River

Today I’m pleased to announce both the next evolution for this site and my work personally:!

Here’s how it’ll work: itself will be fairly text-light; after all, it’s about the images. From now on, curated long term projects – Verticality being the first – will reside in individual pages on that site, with regular updates as I produce new images. Once a project is complete, the set will be offered for sale in my usual choice of formats and limited runs. The normal photoessays and posts will continue on this site.

However, what I plan to do is post a new curated image every week or so, with a running theme for a few months. Each image will be available to buy as a limited edition print, until the edition is complete. After that, the images will not be offered for sale in that size or format again. I have decided to set the edition number – for now – at 20. Prices for existing sizes will remain the same as for previous editions, inclusive of DHL Express shipping anywhere in the world*, with new sizes offered (16×20″ Ultraprints, from the 645Z) where applicable. The site will launch with the five images in this post – I suppose it’s fair enough to have a bonanza at the start – with subsequent images to follow. You will also be able to request a print – if there’s a particular image you like from my flickr stream or this site in a previous post, so long as the image quality meets my print standards and it isn’t subject to an existing edition or license, it’s fair game. You might well land up being the owner of a unique print. As you might have guessed, I’ve chosen to start with some new landscape experiments from my recent trip to New Zealand.

*We reserve the right to adjust pricing to reflect prevailing shipping rates

As usual, prints will be made by print master Wesley Wong of Giclee Art in Kuala Lumpur (who’s overseen all of my previous editions), QC’d personally by me, signed individually, and shipped via DHL Express. Shipping is included in the price, of course. The paper choice for the majority of these images will be Canson Infinity Platin Fiber Rag baryta; for some subjects/ sizes we may choose to go to a matte art paper if it better suits the image.

This will not be fine art printing or photography in the conventional sense. I’ve decided that market makes very little sense for me, because it is completely at odds with the way I see and work. I don’t shoot people any more, because I choose not to. I like the challenge of achieving balanced aesthetics and technical perfection at the same time. I know from experience that there will be a range of reactions from people from love to hate; I’d be far more concerned about no reaction at all 🙂 The images are not for everybody, but I was told by a couple of people who’ve seen them that these are photographer’s prints – and I think that’s a very apt way of justifying them. If you’ve viewed an Ultraprint in person, you’ll know just how immersive an experience it is.

Let’s talk about the images.


Forest III

This is the showpiece for the launch, which will be offered as the largest Ultraprint yet: 40×15″ image area. We’re still experimenting with the paper type to manage reflections and improve the viewing experience – but so far, it’s like having your own personal slice of forest at home.

_8B03438-45 Forest III
Forest III, Shotover Gorge, Queenstown, New Zealand. Nikon D810 and an 8-image stitch. Click here for a 100% crop to get an idea of just how much detail is in this print.
You can order Forest III ($1200) as a 40×15″ (~101x38cm) Ultraprint here; limited edition of 10

Tree and River.
We spend so much time looking for shadows and light that sometimes I think it’s interesting to present a three dimensional world as a two dimensional one for that precise reason; there are enough visual cues for texture, but not so many as to destroy that illusion. It’s one of my favourite images from this trip because of the balanced minimalism and abstraction that appears almost manmade, despite being 100% natural. Note: the river was actually that color due to it being glacial meltwater containing various alluvial deposits. On the actual image you can see the near shore is actually extremely clear.

_8B03521 copy - Tree and River
Tree and River, outside Frankton, New Zealand. Nikon D810
You can order Tree and River ($330) as a 10×15″ (~25x38cm) Ultraprint here; limited edition of 20

Alpenforest in Winter
This is the first of three images that were shot in the same river delta just outside Arrowtown, New Zealand. I spent the whole afternoon here watching the light change and the various portions of the mountainside and alpine forest change as they moved in and out of the light; colors got richer as the sun went down, then ended in an interestingly muted twilight that made everything just feel…soft, for want of a better word. I believe this image, of the dozens I captured, is the most accurate representation of that.

_64Z2713 copy - Alpenforest in winter
Alpenforest in Winter, Arrowtown, New Zealand. Pentax 645Z
You can order Alpenforest in Winter ($500) as a 16×20″ (~41x51cm) Ultraprint here ; limited edition of 20

There were some small cascades in the river – but they weren’t as interesting (personally) as the cascades formed by the winter leaves/buds/tips (I admit, I’m no botanist) of the trees. The reddish ends formed a very delicate waterfall of color, which here, leads down to a stony bank by the water. I waited some time to make this image: it would only work when the light just hit the tree and not the side of the mountain behind; for a couple of minutes I got what I needed.

_64Z2675 copy - Cascade
Cascade, Arrowtown, New Zealand. Pentax 645Z
You can order Cascade ($500) as a 16×20″ (~41x51cm) Ultraprint here; limited edition of 20

The final image is one for the monochrome aficionados – the curve of mountain, flowing river and tree to the nexus of the dead and sun-bleached log at the centre I’m sure contains a metaphor for life somewhere – personally, I just find the tonality and structure very appealing.

_64Z2655 - Spiral
Spiral, Arrowtown, New Zealand. Pentax 645Z
You can order Spiral ($500) as a 16×20″ (~41x51cm) Ultraprint here; limited edition of 20

Testimonials from previous Ultraprint customers can be found here.

Once again, thank you for your support, and don’t forget to bookmark the new site! MT


Masterclass Venice (November 2014) now open for booking – click here to book or for more info


Visit the Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including workshop and Photoshop Workflow videos and the customized Email School of Photography; or go mobile with the Photography Compendium for iPad. You can also get your gear from B&H and Amazon. Prices are the same as normal, however a small portion of your purchase value is referred back to me. Thanks!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and join the reader Flickr group!


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


  1. Chris Valas says:


    The mountain black and whites are some of your strongest images, to my tastes at least, but I have a weakness for that kind of landscape.

    Reminds me of Takeshi Mizukoshi – a Japanese photographer who did a book on the Japanese Alps in the 80s. The Hodaka – Radiance and Wind in the Japanese Alps. Worth a look.

    Just great stuff. Bravo!

  2. Ming…as “always” I so enjoy your work and visit your site everyday…Sort of off topic from this article..and you may have Ben asked many times already.. But was wondering if you have been working on a D810 review “after ” you have been using it for a while…I have a d800e as well…and am on the fence about the new d810..Like your past few articles about it it in the beginning..I’m also not sure I want to get rid of my “work horse” ..and taking a “risk”… that I might not like it..Of course I could “rent” one and see…but I really take your info to heart…hopefully after you have used the d810 for a while..A review of the 2 and your opinions are soon to come??
    As always..great work..great website..

    • Brian, I suggest you use the search box in future. It’s really not that difficult and I go to a lot of trouble to produce all of this content, for free. It bothers me when people are too lazy to check first and expect that I’m at their beck and call to help them decide which camera to buy. If you did, you’d notice that I already compared the two in this review more than a month ago.

      • Hello “again”..Ming…and you are “correct”…and I did read that article “numerous” times…I guess I worded my question in the wrong way…I guess what I was trying to ask for is “more” D810 content and “more” opinions…But that will probably come in the future..after you have shot with a lot longer and can really attest to it’s performance…and much appreciated for all the content and work that you do out of your busy schedule..thx u for reply

  3. Ming Thein; you are the new Ansel 🙂

    • Thank you – I can only hope that eventually I might enjoy the same level of success…

      • Philip Cross says:

        I hope the same for you mate, but also for myself ;).. I really want to purchase ‘forest III’! I can only envisage what i might call, an ‘ultra print, detailed, timelessness’. Though in saying that, as much as i can perceive no pretense and something being as it is in life’s infinite abundance of beauty, I can’t help but also perceive (after following your blog and comprehending your photographic disposition) storytelling..The story of what the photographer works hard to achieve. Good luck to your new stage in your career.., and good luck to me to get my hands of one of these bad boys haha. cheers mate.

  4. Any chances you might start making silver gelatin prints with your film shots?

    • I wouldn’t rule it out, but given that it’s a very different viewing experience from the direction my work is moving in now, I don’t know how likely it would be…

  5. Congratulations Ming. This certainly helps isolate your personal work, best of luck! These new works look incredible. I would love to see them in print!

    • Thanks Dan! By a funny coincidence, they are available in print 🙂

      • You should make a book. :p. I don’t have the wall space, and might fall more in my price range.

        • Funny you say that Dan. A book or two or three with some perhaps 10 UPs each would be a unique thing that hasn’t yet been made before, to my knowledge at least. I think I would own such eventual books, but still, nothing beats a picture on the wall IMO, why The Forrest #1 was printed in Kuala Lumpur today.and is on the way 🙂
          I can’t tell how excited I am to install that picture right there over my living rooms couch.

          Side mark: Ming showed some of his UPs on the WS in London and I must admit it took my breath away. Never ever before I’ve seen such level of details and I haven’t even dreamed that a rich tonality like this existed. It was love at first sight.

        • The print quality of books isn’t high enough, or the books become more expensive than the prints…

          • True. Although with a book (even an affordable one)you still have more control in how the viewer sees the work vs how they view it online. The book also allows for sequence and narrative which cannot be achieved by a single print. Print quality is important, but its just surface at the end of the day. Content is king.

            • I agree and disagree: if the print quality is crap, then it doesn’t let the viewer experience the images the way they were supposed to be, and it also shows a certain disregard of the photographer for the way their own work. If you care – why let substandard work out? And there’s the obvious: a good quality good content image will always be more powerful than a poor quality one. I don’t compromise, that’s the way to mediocrity.

              • Of course if the quality is sub par it will be detriment to the work, at the same token if the content is there I think by today’s printing standards quality is more than sufficient. There are plenty of artists photobooks that are accessible and far from mediocre. If the content is built for the medium and curated well I believe a desired result can be achieved. Sequence and narrative is such a big aspect of photography. the strength of an image is often its relations to others or its association with a larger narrative. Personally I find the most enjoyable and engaging format for viewing photography is the photobook. I wouldn’t expect you to compromise on a book, so I guess this is why I would be interested to see one 🙂

                • Sorry, but book printing isn’t even remotely close to Ultraprinting. The viewing experience is VERY different. Even the best gravure only gets half of the way – and we’re talking about enormous upfront costs of north of $250k for a 100-page color book. That kind of investment is far too expensive and the returns probably negative. Print on demand might be a cheaper way of doing it, but quality falls even further.

                  As for narrative, even if a sequence of images is presented on a site in vertical order, you still have to look at them in the order intended unless you have a habit of scrolling halfway through the page. I don’t know if you’re noticed, but all of the photoessays I present here are sequenced in the same way I’d do it if I was publishing a book.

                  • ” I don’t know if you’re noticed, but all of the photoessays I present here are sequenced in the same way I’d do it if I was publishing a book. ”

                    It is certainly so Ming. I wish I could produce that many keepers being able to show the same on my Flickr. But the day will come.once my pot of images will contain enough for sequenced topic portfolio.

                    I believe once your Gallery grows there will be UPs to everybody’s taste. There’s many references to what 100 things you MUST see once in your life. An Ultraprint is definitely on my list 🙂

  6. So you’ve been down to Kiwiland lately?

  7. Congratulations and warm wishes for your endeavors – However I do not much appreciate generic interface of gallery –
    The content is brilliant but packaging needs some polishing..
    All the best and Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and thoughts

  8. Forest III, Tree and River, these are both very striking images to me even in the web sizes.

  9. To me the first (blue river and pebbly river banks) and many of these images seem overly digital. Too much visual acuity, too sharp. In real life I don’t see every single teeny-weeny pebble or stone meters and meters away. It almost visually buzzes with edgy acuity. Has digital imaging become overly digitalized? Compare these to say, a Richo GR’s images which have a more smooth roundness, if you will. What do y’all think?

    • I think you’re making an unfair judgement based on a web jpeg without having seen the prints or full size images. And a Ricoh GR is just as sharp at the pixel level; in fact it’s one of the highest acuity cameras I’ve ever used.

      • Sorry, Ming. I didn’t mean to come off as unfair or hyper-critical or flaming judgmental. It was just an observation. Yes, one from the webpage. You’re more knowledgeable about print realities since I don’t do any very large ones. The webpage normal-sized images I’ve seen from the Ricoh GR appear to me to have a “smoother sharpness,” if you will, than say Nikon’s D800E or a Sigma DP Merrill. But then again, I don’t have a professional, high-acuity or high-resolution monitor either. It was just a naked-eye, normal-webpage-image-size observation from someone strictly amateur. I don’t usually pixel peep and never do highly technical analyses of images. Just simple observations. I do, however, really appreciate and like your imaging, especially the composition.

  10. Sincerely best wishes! Looking forward to progress updates as time marches forward. I also strongly disagree with the general art gallery curators’ thinking that print quality does not go hand in hand with image quality, but I think I understand why they think that way. Every curator/art critic I’ve ever met (I live in an ‘artsy’ town) routinely admits to me that they have more limited understanding or experience with modern photography or cameras in general apart from a utilitarian function. Perhaps the better marriage in the art world would be between a film gallery curator and the photographer. There’s also the challenge we, as photographers, face in educating new photographers that image quality is more than the sum of their equipment and buying the best sensor with the best glass, alone, won’t add up to a significantly different ‘experience’ on the part of the viewer in determining how much money they will part with to obtain a copy. I believe the medium is a crucial part of the experience in appreciating the photograph and the more ‘valuable’ the photograph, the more crucial the presentation is to the potential owner. Your ultra prints can present a level of depth/dimension to a scene beyond what we expect, but not beyond what we can hope/admire/appreciate.

  11. Bryan Gonzalvo says:

    Are you finding the same quality of ultraprint from the D810 as you do from the D800E?

    • Slightly better, actually. It seems the Otus works in a way with the D810 that it just doesn’t with the D800E. Not enough to go up a size in print, but enough to get some visible extra ‘bite’ though.

  12. A bit unfortunate that there won’t be people pics, which I personally enjoy, but your abstract shots are mesmerising in their own right.
    So I’m wishing you the best of luck, Ming. Nevermind the “art market” and its standards, you’re going with your own, and there’ll be people to back your choices.

  13. Michael Matthews says:

    Brilliant move. Best of luck with it!

  14. Ron Scubadiver says:

    “This will not be fine art printing or photography in the conventional sense.”
    Care to elaborate? I look at so many fine art photographs (or at least photographs being sold as fine art) and can’t find the boundaries.

    • Yes. There’s no pretension as to some deeper meaning in an image, or the feeling that you don’t really understand it but go along because somebody famous or some gallery says it’s good. It’s simple: I present images and let the viewer/buyer decide. And unlike everybody in the fine art world (so far) who’s told me the print quality doesn’t really matter, I believe it does because it’s part of the experience and care/dedication to your work should extend especially to the presentation. So, they’re the best possible prints we know how to make of unpretentious, unemotional “soulless” subjects – very much the complete opposite to what passes as “fine art” these days. Besides, it’s art if you think it is: I’ve never seen anything defined as ‘coarse art’…

      • Ron Scubadiver says:

        The definition of art is very elusive.

      • Frank Murphy says:

        I think the opposite of “fine art” is “arts & crafts,” trying to make it sound like a child’s camp project. (The California College of the Arts was called the “California College of Arts and Crafts” until it dropped the “and Crafts” part in 2003, I imagine to get away from that.)
        I don’t understand how the quality of the fabrication of the print can be dismissed like that though. In the analog days, having the photographer approve the prints was a big part of what made the print “count.”

        • Precisely – I suppose it’s another thing we can blame on lack of education in the digital era…a good number of the curators I spoke to were relatively young – late 20s/early 30s – young enough not to have much, if any, experience with film printing.

  15. Best wishes with this venture. I think you are correct to squeeze out the middle-men from your projects, whenever possible 😉

    I can’t remember if this topic has been discussed on your site:

    • Thanks Sven. Nope, hasn’t been discussed, but seems like common sense – too bad a lot of that is lacking in the art world it seems 🙂

  16. albertopr says:

    Congratulations. I wish that you success with this new project and I hope it will be as you expect 😀 Best regards

  17. John weeks says:

    Best of luck on an Dditional venture…I hope to be an owner one day! But purchasing from the ” teaching store” comes first for me…lol

  18. Brilliant, the “gallery” format is very nice. Good luck with the business, hopefully this will draw new visitors in addition to the current readers. I’m sure that many of us will be digging through the Flickr history.

    For the ongoing series you should consider including some estimate of completion time and a more specific way to reserve prints. I know that the timeline may depend entirely on shooting opportunities, but for an eager buyer the wait may become too long (and in the worst case, the print run too small).

    Another, smaller idea: how about including sizes in cm? Inches are not intuitive to most Europeans.

    • Thank you, Tarmo.

      I honestly have no idea of completion for the ongoing projects; as you say, it depends on opportunity. I can go out and want to make images for them, but come back with nothing suitable because of light or inspiration; or I can go out with no intention and make seven in an hour (London, Verticality). Or I can start a project spontaneously and get a long way in a few minutes (Dreamscape – it was a long flight, and I was bored…)

      If you would like individual images from a project, you can of course request them… 🙂

      Good idea about the sizes. I will update those now 🙂

  19. Hi Ming, just to let you know that the “MINGTHEIN.COM” link in the Gallery (under the banner) is broken. Removing the “www.” makes it work.

    Thanks a lot for your articles, and good luck for your project !

  20. This is the best next to a book with super prints 🙂

    I have wished for some time more super prints were available. Now is my chance to own such or several prints. Can’t wait to have this outstanding art hanging as a reference next to my own fairly low quality images/prints and second that I have a possibility to place such masterpieces on my photo wall showing what my favorite photographer is capable of. Thank you.

  21. Congratulations on this new venture. It does seem a very natural evolution of your site and your development as a photographer. I hope it will be a success for you.

  22. They are…eh, how to describe it…yummy! You made my day! More pics like these one…thanks, Josef

  23. plevyadophy says:

    Congratulations on this new venture. I wish you well. And hopefully, one day I will buy an Ultra Print ( I def wanna piece of photographic excellence and history in the making ).

    Warmest regards


  24. Sid - The Wanderer says:

    Everything is so beautiful, whether you share in colour or black and white…I am always inspired! 🙂

    Its an interesting model that you have suggested, though it sounds a little complicated right now. I am sure it will evolve to simplicity with time…

  25. Good luck in your new endeavor, Ming! I really like the first two images!

  26. Hi Ming, excellent images and a very good idea, but I am sorry, I doubt the success, because there are so many other excellent photographers around in our small world, trying to do the same with their excellent images! I am just an realistic person, and I don’t want you to stop this project!

  27. This is perfect Ming! Glad you are doing this. Congratulations!

  28. Jorge Balarin says:

    Wonderful photos. Congratulations for your new Project. I introduced your work to a friend that buy photography.

  29. Hi Ming. This is a good idea. But why not play the galleries at their own game? Why stop at just offering work by yourself. You could be a curator for your readers too. I am sure that there are some talented readers of your site who could benefit from your exposure. You could offer to represent their work and take a cut of the fees for Ultra prints. Dont get me wrong – I love your work and think you’ll sell loads (like you have done already) but the concept of an on-line gallery is something that you shouldn’t pass up on – especially as your site is already up and running and very well-established

    • I’d actually had that idea as a future evolution, but one step at a time. The biggest challenge is actually the print proofing stage – it’s nearly impossible to do if you’re not there in person, because sometimes gamut limitations or technical choices can significantly affect the impression of the final image.


  1. […] with the next series of Ultraprints – I hold that level of detail out to much larger sizes; Forest III was the first of these at 40×15″, and I plan to go as large as about 40×40″. […]

  2. […] will come as no surprise to people who’ve bought the most recent one or two Ultraprints from Forest III onwards; however, things have moved on a bit since […]

  3. […] will come as no surprise to people who’ve bought the most recent one or two Ultraprints from Forest III onwards; however, things have moved on a bit since […]

%d bloggers like this: