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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Dead forest

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The space above

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Last glowing tree

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The road less traveled

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Bend sunset

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Desolation on one side, prickly orange bushes on the other

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Snow waves

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Morning cloud glow

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Even horses get cold sometimes

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Tree and river

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Dawn in the valley

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The bridge

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Sad parting

I’ll be back someday. I’m sure of it. Until next time, Queenstown.


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


  1. A quite beautiful set, honeyed as I experienced it. Thank you for sharing these.

  2. Truly amazing photos – what gears did you use for them?

  3. Quality. Great work!

  4. “The road less traveled” is stunning. The light play on the mountains really makes it 3D — pulls you in quite nice.

  5. very good series…

  6. Reblogged this on Eileen Lyn Wah.

  7. What a great set of images! I use a ricoh gr but have problems with the colours. Do you find the same? When converted to b/w they look a lot better.

  8. Kristian Wannebo says:

    I saw a _very_ photo-related short film,
    all about searching for the special light in winter at high latitudes, around Molde in Norway at 63°N.

    “Leite etter vinterlyset”
    (Searching for the light of winter)
    28 min.
    by Per Jarle Heggdalsvik

    ( Don’t mind the language, it is mostly just a spoken commentary. The animal you hear shouting a couple of times is a lynx.
    On Android you will probably be asked to download their viewing app.)

  9. It is interesting to see your work in NZ which definitely reflects your style as opposed to the more “tourist” style that is usually seen of the countryside. As a slightly left-field question, would you be of the opinion that the lighting in general down here in NZ is harsher/brighter than most places – my main thought would be especially in summer.

    • I think the light certainly gets harsher the further north or south you go, but that’s more to do with the angle of incidence of the sun rather than anything else? I suppose it might well be brighter if you’re under the ozone hole though…

  10. Kristian Wannebo says:

    A beautiful collection, but with such a wide choice of motif picking favourites becomes impossible.

    And you are *really* finding the world of snow! (I find Snow waves exquisite.)

    – – –

    Where you either swear over iced fingertips between photo sessions or complain over cold wet knees – especially if you brought your (preferably Otus-quality) close-up /makro lens.

    When you wish for something water-repelling to kneel on and a glove-friendly camera with a swiveled screen or, even better, a 90° loup on your viewfinder – to avoid getting snow in your pockets when trying a low camera position.

    At home later you remember the brilliance of yesteryear’s slideshow, provided you could get the room dark enough, and have the choice between print, in your case ultra-, resolution and display contrast – 1m 16K screens waiting around the corner…

    Snow, a never ending world once you have visited it.

  11. Really nice images. I like “The Space Above” really well. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Going in February for 6 weeks. 4 in New Zealand, 2 in Australia. Your images inspire me.

  13. Nick Coenen says:

    These really speak to me. As a young man, I traveled around the South Island w/ 3 friends. No firm itinerary – just drive until day’s end and find a place to stay (probably not so easy now as it was 20 plus years ago…). We discovered Queenstown by accident and ended up extending our stay there given the beauty. Road Less Traveled and Tree/River bring back clear memories of that trip and that place. I believe that’s the power of photography and these images certainly succeed in that regard, in addition to being compelling on their own. Thanks for posting. And may 2015 bring health, happiness, and prosperity.

  14. Since you started showing us you are a master shooting landscape too, this has grown tremendously since the beginning. I’ve seen some of your works Ultraprintied, Ming. There’s no end to the pleasure it is to view those images. Even it’s breathtaking enough to look at the ‘thumbnails’ here on the site, it is though extremely far from the experience seeing the real thing.

    I’ve seen quite some stunning images in Galleries printed on nice high quality gallery papers, but it is all so inferior to the experience seeing your UP’s on either close hold or from a distance. There’s a world in difference.

    • I only started shooting landscape seriously this year, Gerner – definitely not a master, hardly a beginner!

      But yes, I have to agree that the Ultraprints are quite a bit better 🙂

      • Your seriosity brought your very far then, Ming. The rules are you have to take the medals as they come 😉

  15. Stunningly beautiful work! Especially appealing to me is Snow waves. Pure sublimity! Btw, though, a tree isn’t necessarily dead just because its leaves has fallen off, but I guess you’re perfectly aware of that.

  16. It may be a road less travelled, but I’ve travelled along it. And stopped in almost the same position.
    Otago Backroads

    Sorry from my embarrassing hdr phase…

  17. Beautiful!

  18. Richard P. says:

    I have been a faithful (daily) visitor to your site since you started and although I have enjoyed all your work (photographic and written) I am blown away by your more recent landscape work. I don’t often comment, but I feel compelled to. Maybe I am more inclined to the landscape genre, but your composition, colours, textures, tones, etc… make each piece an artistic masterpiece. If I am only seeing 1% of the detail, I don’t think I could handle an Ultraprint. ☺ Actually the bigger issue would be trying to decide which one (or two) to order. Thanks for sharing these beautiful works!

    • Thank you, Richard. I’m pretty new to the whole landscape game – perhaps there’s some advantage there in being able to approach it with fresh eyes and no expectations. 🙂

      If and when you do decide which two, let me know 🙂

      • Richard P. says:

        Top two for me (so far) are “Before sunset” and “Morning cloud glow” … followed very closely by a bunch of others.
        Fresh eyes + your brand of vision and technique make for truly stunning pieces. New to the landscape game … I would venture to say you found your calling … or at the very least something that satisfies you on different levels.

  19. You should try the Patagonia, in Argentina!
    BTW, nice set. Bend sunset is the best IMHO.

    • I would love to…now to find the $$ and time!

      • The most expensive thing would be the air ticket. I can definitelly get you cheaper accom in one place over there, and for free in Buenos Aires (provided that you go after I re settle back to Arg)

        • Be careful. I might take you up on that 🙂

          • You’d better! My wife and me want to do a road trip in Patagonia after we go back. You are free to join us with Nadiah! And regarding free time, you have two more years to plan for it! I don’t think I’m going back before 2017.

  20. Excellent work as always Ming. Your shots have a sense of artistic realism, where I feel I would see something along those lines with my own naked eyes if I was there while you were shooting.

    Also I can only imagine how good they would look printed.

  21. Reblogged this on Ionut Vechiu.

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