I’ve always found the Atlantic coastlines to be a little melancholy: there’s the beauty of nature, but often something heavy in the sky and a bite to the wind that makes you glad you brought your coat and hat. People still go because they’re attracted to the sea and presumably wondering what’s over the horizon; in this case, we’re at one of the westernmost points of the European continental mainland, and there’s pretty much nothing until you hit the coast of America. This series of images was shot in the space of a couple of hours. Porto’s old town proper had proven rather depressing, and the weather hadn’t helped; we took a chance and headed to the coast with the hopes of one last hurrah before returning to Lisbon. I’m glad we did, because I think it paid off – even if it meant using a lot of damp towels later to carefully dissolve the dried salt off our equipment. Despite the huge amount of moisture in the air and seawater splashing everywhere, the Hasselblad didn’t miss a beat – though curiously there was a lot more dust on the sensor than normal, perhaps sticking as a consequence of humidity.
Actually, my biggest concern in situations like this is maintaining enough dynamic range to both create a plausibly natural image, and preferably a little bit more to be able to control tonality better. Fortunately the H5D handled it much better than the playback on the LCD would suggest. I wanted to make at least a few of these images seem like the turn of the century oil paintings of stormy seas and coastlines; it was certainly the feeling I was left with especially as night fell and the clouds rolled in. This requires a lot more dynamic range than you might think – the highlights and shadows have to be both clean and somewhere in the midtone to upper midtone range in the raw file in order to be able to create the feeling of smooth but rich/heavy visual texture later on in post. I also shot a number of pure landscapes; these will be presented in a future photoessay. Surprisingly, the leaf shutter also seems to offer a bit more motion stopping power (in this case, of wave action) than the raw shutter speed numbers suggest. Enjoy! MT
This series was shot with a Hasselblad H5D-50c, 28, 50 and 100mm lenses – plus occasionally the 1.7x teleconverter. Postprocessing was with Photoshop Workflow II and the cinematic workflow in Making Outstanding Images Ep.5.
Masterclass Prague (September 2016) is open for booking.
Ultraprints from this series are available on request here
More info on Hasselblad cameras and lenses can be found here.
Visit the Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including workshop and Photoshop Workflow videos and the customized Email School of Photography. You can also support the site by purchasing from B&H and Amazon – thanks!
Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards. All rights reserved