Photoessay: Coastal texture

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Today’s series is a continuation of the Australian aerials – this time exploring the abstracted textures of the coastal interface and immediately surrounding areas on both water and land. The myriad fractal textures generated by wave action are both infinitely varied and fascinating; each has its own aesthetic strengths. I actually had a very hard time curating it for this precise reason: it’s very difficult to prefer one abstract over another because each had some unique merits of its own. Nevertheless, I think the color flow works here, even if some of the finer textures can only be appreciated in a large print, including schools of marine mammals and the occasional tire track to lend a sense of scale. It also makes me wonder just how different this area would be in a few months given time and tide… MT

This series was shot over Francois Peron National Park in Western Australia from a light aircraft at about 1200ft, with a Hasselblad H5D-50c and processed with Photoshop and Lightroom Workflow III.

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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. Ming, Beautiful Photos!

  2. You must have kept the thing attached via wrist strap, I’d be horrified at the thought of letting that camera plummet into the ocean.

  3. Gorgeous, Ming!

  4. These are so amazing! Must be painful to curate…

  5. What I find so refreshing about these images are the muted colors. A few days ago I watched an internet video about photographing in twilight. The information was good, but the colors were all candy-colored pinks, purples and blues, in part due to a filter chosen to enhance pink and yellow it. Some images were stunning, but I went away feeling I had just downed 6 cokes on top of a kilo of cotton candy.

    The compositions and the fractal aspects built out of these browns, tans, reds, olive greens and the occasional emerald green/blue in the water is a nice change of pace. I assume that a real print shows the interplay of the textures even better.

    • Haha, thanks – I wonder if it might be because some of the individual color channels were blown, and then posterised; one nice thing about medium format is it really take some doing to completely lose a channel.

      And yes, the prints are superb. I have some 24×32″ proofs here, and a couple of 60″ finals 🙂

  6. Bill Walter says:

    The color… a treat for the eyes. Just beautiful! Did you use the dehaze feature in photoshop at all with these?

    • Thanks – only where required, which wasn’t that much given we were at low altitude with minimal atmosphere between camera and subject. Australia just has some surreally intense light and color to begin with…

  7. Alastair Bruce says:

    These are stunning. Thanks for taking them and showing them. Best wishes, Alastair

  8. Jeff Chester says:

    I find the atmospheric haze in the background of the more oblique angles detracts from the ‘abstract’ graphic quality of the overall image. Would a very strong UV or a polarizing filter eliminate it?

    • No, unfortunately not – it’s particulate matter in the air (and has already been post processed considerably to minimise it; at least to the point just before the colors start to shift in a strange way).

  9. David Ralph says:

    I do like these, and emphasizing texture is a good framework for taking them in. Almost abstract in their nature.

    And, finding a place to stand is always one of the landscape photographer’s dilemmas to solve, isn’t it? These look beyond the capabilities of consumer drones.

    • Thank you. Per the text – shot out of a plane without doors at low altitude with medium format 🙂

      That said, I think there’s a DJI/Hasselblad MF drone…

  10. Anatoly Loshmanov says:

    Incredible result.

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