Photoessay: Atlantic coast II, Foz do Douro

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Continued from the first part.

Whilst the previous companion photoessay deal with the people of the location at a more macro scale, the aim of today’s conclusion is to convey a feel for the place itself – the power of the sea; the repetition of the waves and the romanticism of the coast and nautical travel. There’s the certainty that the waves are trying to pound the human intrusion into submission, but for now the manmade is holding steady – yet in the long run, nature always wins. My choice of presentation for this set was deliberately painterly in nature – there’s something about those 18th century oil seascapes that I personally find both fitting and appealing… MT

This series was shot with a Hasselblad H5D-50C, various HC lenses and processed with the Cinematic workflow in Making Outstanding Images Ep.5.

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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.


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


  1. Just got back from there. The waves were epic! 😝

  2. I love the light quality in these images. The details in the highlights are all there and they just glow.
    I have been seriously considering getting back to Hasselblad; I used 500C years ago during the film era.
    I rarely print bigger than A3 so I was wondering if there is any advantage to using the un-cropped sensor,
    such as H4D-60, for portrait work with strobe in the studio. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly

    • Thanks. If you want the look that comes from a larger format and the slight compression of perspective for a longer focal length for a girl angle of view, sure – but the difference isn’t that significant. Some prefer CCD tonality over CMOS because it requires less work out of the box – but personally I find CMOS allows greater latitude and better results if processing is done carefully.

  3. Hi Ming! Great job as always!

    To me the images of all your posts are perfectly balanced. The colors are bang on realistic and it’s always not too saturated nor contrasted. And in the meantime due to your voodoo technique, the images are also far far far away from flat.

    Especially the landscapes you do, it’s like a natural way of fusion between commercial product photography and landscape photography, very pleasing to look at while stay true to the subjects and the moment of capture.

    By the way I know you profile every cameras you use to have a better starting point for post process. I do the same by using a X-Rite Colorchecker passport, and there’s one problem that bugs me all the time… Is it okay to profile the camera and lens combo during daytime in natural light/outdoor environment and use this profile for other scenarios? For example, the profile is made on a sunny day and will the profile also be correct for cloudy days or even night scenes? (please excuse me for the poor expression)

    • Thank you – no voodoo, just trying to a) understand how our eyes work; b) understand how our camera sees; c) make an image that looks plausibly natural, within those limitations 🙂

      To your question: I profile with daylight because the camera’s output is always going to be equal RGB, this is the closest we’re going to get to neutral input – and then we put the channel biases in afterwards by changing the white balance during the raw conversion. In Workflow III, I now supply camera profiles.

      • Wow, thank you for the prompt reply.
        I’ll check the post you linked and the photoshop workflow video you mentioned : )

  4. Richard P. says:

    Hi Ming,
    As a landscape lover, these fantastic images are amongst my favourites in your portfolio. They are special in that they bring me back many years ago when I worked in Portugal for a few years. You captured the essence of that coastline.

    In terms of putting together this series, how did you decide on the ordering of images? The reason I ask is that sometimes I look at chronology (dawn to dusk) or geography (inland to coast to sea) – admittedly simple ordering – just curious as to your approach in the 2 parts to this superb series.

    Richard P.

    • Thanks Richard. In this case, I went with chronology – as you correctly observed. Sometimes there’s a different flow or deliberate pace created by alternating images, but I couldn’t find one here…

  5. Frans Richard says:

    Hi Ming,
    All outstanding images, no discussion. As a *series* however, I think you could leave a few out without losing anything of the feel of the place. There are two with the same lighthouse, the first one being the better one in my opinion. Then there are four of the coastline with beach and buildings, two in sunny conditions and two with dramatic lighting. Of the sunny ones, the one in portrait orientation doesn’t add much if anything to the series if you ask me, of the dramatic ones the first one start to look less so once you’ve seen the second one.
    So, I think you could leave three images out of the series without hurting the overall message. You obviously have different thoughts, would you care to share those with us?

    • You’re right. However, as the creator…I’m inherently biased towards the work, and feeling the subtle difference between the images compels me to include them 🙂 It is nothing more than that.

  6. Michael says:

    Image #2: sublime. You certainly hit your objective of painterly seascape with that one. The curvature of that gentle surf in the foreground — a gift from a higher power. Good thing you were there to nail it.

  7. Lucy March says:

    Wonderful set, Ming! It really has the feel of the last contact with land before one heads to sea.

  8. Alex Carnes says:

    Those photographs are some of your best, professor. Absolute mastery of timing, light, composition and post processing. That’s how it’s done! A couple maybe look a tad warm, but world class nonetheless.

  9. Incredible light. Must have been close to sensory overload!

  10. Wonderful images across both installments Ming…really wonderful 🙂

  11. jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    I’ve been there – and you’ve captured the atmosphere & scenery perfectly, Ming.

    Portugal is a wonderful place – wonderful food, wine, people, music, scenery – nice climate – one of the best spots in the world, for a holiday.

  12. Anatoly Loshmanov says:

    Hello Ming !
    Last three images are ABSOLUTLY success!

  13. It’s crazy how every wave has its own signature. I feel like I just got drenched by the waves. Phenomenal job as always, Ming!

    • Thanks Robert. Watching it is equally surreal: you almost don’t know which wave to photograph since they’re all interesting for different reasons…

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