Photoessay: Aizu nights

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Aizu-wakamatsu is a relatively small town in the northern part of Honshu, Japan, that at one point was the seat of power of a regional military force before changing power after several civil war struggles. Whilst the town proper including the castle (destroyed in the the late 1800s and rebuilt in concrete in 1965) has seen several cycles of prosperity and decline, the hot spring resort area nearby of Aizu Higashiyama has seen relatively little change for several centuries – being popular with all. It is this little area which we explore in today’s photoessay – by night, because that was the only free time I had during this trip. Sometimes you feel like a walk after dinner, and happen to bring a tripod…MT

This series was shot with a Sony A7RII, Zeiss 2.8/21 Loxia and 1.8/55 FE and post processed with Photoshop Workflow II. You can also look over my shoulder at the underlying postprocessing in the Weekly Photoshop Workflow series.

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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. Nice. Are you aware of Japanese print artist Kiyochika? He did some woodblock print designs showing artificial lights at night in Tokyo in the early Meiji period in the 19th Century. For me your photos echo Kiyochika’s prints in a nice way.

    I’m getting back into some night photography. I love shooting in Boston’s back alleyways, which are a hodgepodge of fancy, small gardens, and junky, forlorn spaces, with all sorts of mixed light from gas lamps to LEDs.

  2. John Nicholson says:

    So much to look at here. But the one with the splash of red flowers at the front has tremendous impact!

  3. Did you end up deciding not to sell your A7RII?

  4. I love the first photo! Very dark atmosphere.

  5. I love the muted color pallet and consist processing across the set. The color temperature management is masterful was it a little warmer in person? Great work!

  6. Great image – very moody.

  7. Beautiful! I’ll bet many of these would make terrific B&Ws.

  8. Beautiful work – haunting.

  9. Carl Choong says:

    Wonderfully captured Ming Thein – I was there too and I feel the spirit of the place through your photos.

  10. Some crazy exposures. How did you balance the sky with the street lights?

  11. smackedpentax says:

    Exceptional photoset – I love the way you have captured the darkness and the mystery of a place I will (unfortunately) never get to see. Just superb 🙂

  12. wow!! what a walk! I like them all tho i particularly like the stream/river ones …they’re just beautiful.

  13. Hi Ming. Great sense of atmosphere in these works. Your explorations in the cinematic aesthetic seems to be paying off nicely here. Great work!

  14. So eerie! Loved them all!

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