Photoessay: just outside the city…

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…Small slices of tranquility can be had. Even within city limits, for that matter. The Japanese are quite particular about their nature; like everything else, you get a sense of ordered chaos as an outsider – within defined boundaries, the wilds are allowed to run free. Go a bit further afield, and you might find something that’s actually a little more untamed. Still, there’s a different kind of compositional challenge to be had: see if you can eliminate any signs of man from an environment that might well be entirely artificial; regardless, autumn in Japan is quite a special time of the year because of the enormous variety of colours. It’s too bad timing such a trip is tricky and highly weather-depedant; we lucked out in 2013 when filming How To See Ep.2: Tokyo, but came a bit late last year. Today’s landscape images are a continuation of the unconventional landscapes from a couple of months ago from a slightly more conventional perspective. Half of them were shot in the Tokyo Botanical Gardens; the other half, on the side of a hillside and a river near Mt. Mitake, about an hour outside of Tokyo by train. I’m going to end with one comment on the last seven matched images really need to be viewed as large Ultraprints; hung sequentially the impact is like looking out of a window onto a garden in the full throes of fall. Any image from this series is available as an Ultraprint on request – just
shoot me an email
. Enjoy! MT

This series was shot with a Nikon D810, 24/3.5 PCE, AI 45/2.8 P, Zeiss 1.4/85 Otus and Voigtlander 180/4 APO-Lanthar lenses. Some images are stitched, all were processed withs PS Workflow II. You can also travel to Japan vicariously here, with How To See Ep.2: Tokyo…

_8B12832 copyRock pool under the bridge

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A difference in temperature

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Just before the sun dips behind the mountain

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Separated parts

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Turn the mood and style up to 11: the Hanoi Cinematic Masterclass in association with Zeiss (21-26 July and 28 July-2 August inclusive) is now open for registration – click here to book and for more information.


Ultraprints from this series are available on request here


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


  1. Every time I need my mind to be peaceful, I went here. Enjoying “separated parts” the most….Thank you, Mr. MT.

  2. I really like the cover image! Do you find that you always use tilt with your pc-e lenses when shooting landscapes?

  3. Rock pool under the bridge really catches my eye, although the light and colours in all of them are beautiful. I’d love to live in a city where the wilderness is easily accessible, unfortunately I find everywhere I can reach by public transport has thousands of people with the same idea, doesn’t make for peaceful photography!

  4. Lucy March says:

    I join the others who found these images very beautiful. I think you end the series on a particular high note with #7.

  5. “just before sun dips…” is the kind of light I can enjoy but have learned to not photograph, since the end result is usually not very pleasing. Your image also doesn’t work that well at low resolution (even in comparison to the others in this set, which are also better suited for large sizes). Do you have tips for photographing such high-frequency high-contrast patterns? What would be your hunch – could it work as a medium/large regular print (with 16mp source file), or is a high-resolution process mandatory for getting decent results?

    Overall a very nice set that inspires to try and learn to alter one’s “seeing” for different viewing formats. Thanks!

  6. I feel more at ease just looking at these. Thanks for the post, Mr.Thein.

  7. Mike Watkins says:

    I see your face in the water in Roots. Is this being at one with nature? Inspiring and a beautiful set of images.

  8. 7 fantastic images Ming that I am sure deserves to be printed.

  9. Really restful and great tonic for a city life.

  10. Very nice. Especially liked Carpet and Separated Parts

  11. For me, it’s “separated parts” and “rock pool under the bridge”, gorgeous !

  12. Amazing! hard work always gives result!

  13. Very beautiful images. The opening picture and “Carpet” are my favourites.

  14. carpet is beautiful, thanks Ming

  15. Just beautiful

  16. Wow!

    Great set Ming

  17. Really a fantastic set Ming with some amazing colours there. I think autumn in general in most places brings out the best due to the colours.

  18. Beautiful Images Ming!

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