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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Mountain shadow

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Holding on

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A light snow falls

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Glacial melt I

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Glacial melt II

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Strange clouds

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Rough ridges catch things

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A study of warm to cold with altitude

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The Pass

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At the core of things

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People live here too

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As above, so below

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Nemo has been found in the sky


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


  1. Stunning images as usual Ming ;^) I’ve decided to try to emulate you as much as possible to become a better image taker. I guess the trick though is going to come up with my own personal vision but out of all the blogs I go to you stand out the most. I cannot convey in words how much I appreciate your tireless work to inform others, I just wish I could have your stamina as well as your talent ;^)

  2. Reblogged this on Eileen Lyn Wah.

  3. Maybe if the rumors are correct, the upcoming Olympus E-M5 MkII with an 8 image blended 40MP image based on sensor shift may see you able to shoot ultraprints with Micro 4/3. Technology is ever moving that’s for sure!

    • But only if the subject isn’t moving…we can still get a single 36MP capture pretty easily with moving objects AND not having to spend anymore money…

  4. Such a beautiful set of images……I was inthe southern alps in june and these images are amazing! ! Much appreciations : ) and the best festive season!!

  5. Jorge Balarin says:

    Dear Ming, this post is absolutely amazing. Only seeing the first photo I lost my breath. What a beautiful light and clarity. Thank you very much.

  6. Really nice set Ming. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not, but I kept getting reminded of the Lord of the Rings movies, which were probably shot near where you were. Strangely, I didn’t get it from your horizontally framed NZ landscapes. Anyway, it’s the textures and light that really reminds me of those movies.

    Vertical landscapes are hard to compose for me. A lot of land features like to spread out horizontally, so for me, it’s finding a good cut point or a balance point to hang the landscape on.

    • Thanks Andre. Yes, that was actually shot about 100km away – I was consciously trying to avoid any associations it…

      The problem with working horizontally is you might be able to include all of the subjects/ elements but then land up with an image that has no sense of scale or dynamism, so it all appears a bit static and flat. I think a bit of imbalance or tension is necessary in a landscape otherwise it just comes across as sterile.

  7. Awesomeness all around!

  8. I’m really enjoying your landscape images Ming. Beautiful work. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  9. Glacial melt I A study of warm to cold with altitude The Pass & People live here too… all excellent
    As usual your photoshop editing makes the images a cut above…can I ask what monitor and colour profile do
    you work with for you ultraprints?

    • Thanks Ian. 27″ Thunderbolt display, profiled by eye with a color checker chart.

      • Profiled by eye? Have to admit to be somewhat surprised- I would have assumed that you used a DataSpyder or similar product.
        Have you always profiled your monitors this way? It is somewhat encouraging to think that you can do it that way, I had always thought that I would have been able to calibrate my monitors that way, but so often been told “no, you’ll never get it right, you *must* use a calibration tool/software”.
        Love all these recent images from NZ, where I spent 2 months travelling (unfortunately only with a few disposable film cameras handy, but still got memorable photos) back in 2002, and I love the country so much. Such variety of scenery and landscape in a relatively small country, just breathtaking at it’s best.

        • No, because there’s a difference between absolute and perceptual color because colorimeters are linear, but our eyes aren’t. So if you don’t adjust for that, then the output just looks…strange. I know this isn’t a very good explanation, but I’ve found the results from Spyders and such to be not very satisfactory. I’ve always done it by eye after not getting what I wanted out of the calibration tools. But I do use a color checker chart for reference at every stage.

  10. Very happy to see you post this, Ming. I shoot a lot of mountain landscapes, and your take on the subject matter is refreshing and inspirational. So, too, is your post-processing. It is a welcome antidote to the technicolor look that is all the rage these days among landscape photographers. Your images look natural yet have a crystalline feeling that really draws the viewer in.

  11. Kristian Wannebo says:

    I think they are all exquisite, original and very three-dimensional.

    ( I suppose in “A light snow falls” snow and separation become more distinct once you print it!)

    And I find them all immersive.

    Merry Christmas Ming, and All Commentators!

    • Thanks Kristian. Yes, when you print ‘a light snow falls’, the flakes separate out from the background – it’s like another layer 🙂 Merry Christmas!

      • I think that picture is a great example of how little information you can see with your Flickr uploads vs print/full resolution….

        • Yes. Sadly most people seem to make print judgements off flickr uploads, which is nonsensical as there’s no way you can adequately convey artist intent.

          • Indeed. I guess it’s easier for us as we understand your process a bit more and also having your prints. An area where education is important – but then again some people don’t want to be educated….

  12. Just like Dan I have really enjoyed the landscape posts as well. Any thoughts on a How you see Landscape edition?

  13. These are really beautiful Ming!
    And Merry Christmas!

  14. Awesome!

  15. Good set. I do like vertical landscapes and hard to do well. Colours look great!

  16. Really beautiful, my favourite set of your new Zealand photos. You’ve really captured the mountain scenery. I hope you don’t mind me saying though that simplicity of the river photos don’t work as well for me as the more complex scenes. Not a criticism, just found it interesting because the simplicity works works very well for your architectural series…

    Also, I don’t know whether you celebrate it or not, but Happy Christmas!

    • Thanks. Not at all, it’s a different kind of subject – even a ‘simple’ river is fractal in a way that a building isn’t. As I said not long ago…still new to this landscape thing 🙂

  17. Imkerhonig says:

    Wonderful pictures! Really wonderful!

  18. Wow Ming. What else to say? It seems to me no matter where you bring your camera, you see. It is the way you see and the mastering of execution, the following PP your way, that turns your work to come out so breathtaking to look at as it really is. I know of no other photographer who masters the whole pallette of styles like you do. I think by now I would be able to recognize your touch among the crowds of fine images, that could be the image dump place Flickr or a gallery and say *Oh yes. This is a Ming*. I admire your ability to work around a theme over a long time span and at last bring up a set that has a story to tell. And while we are at the art of story telling, these images speaks for themselves.

  19. Breathtaking Set Ming! Exceptional in every way!

  20. randomesquephoto says:

    Looking through again. Wow again. Definitely has a painterly feel to them. So rich. So beautiful.

  21. randomesquephoto says:

    Wow. That’s all.

  22. Have enjoyed a lot of the landscape posts. Nice to see you move more into this direction. I think your onto something and I look forward to see where you take it. Again like all your work commercial work right through to your personal work, clinical but very sincere. Great work!

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