Photoessay: Estuary

H51-B0008090 copy

One more set of images from the ‘Over Australia’ series. These areas were not actually the primary focus of the trip, but rather something interesting overflown en-route – and when you’re chartering a plane, you want to squeeze out every single photographic opportunity possible. What caught my eye here was two things – the rather painterly patterns created by the typically Australian orange sand and water interspersing with oceanic sand, and the way the transparency of the water changed with the angle of the sun relative to our position – everything from milky to glassy to almost nonexistent (the water wasn’t very deep). There were also semi-evaporated pools that became isolated at low tide, both leaving interesting rim patterns and interesting colors from concentrated sediment suspensions. These were shot at low altitudes (1000-1500ft) from a light aircraft with the doors removed. (A helicopter both wasn’t available or possible because of the distances required.) It’s somewhat more challenging than working from a helicopter because the aircraft never stops; you need to have a high enough shutter speed and good panning technique to prevent any sort of camera shake ruining the transparency of the images – worse as the resolution increases.

This series was shot 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


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. Shimon Mor says:

    Strong colors and patterns coupled with striking natural beauty make for images with interest. I enjoy your photo-essays. However, throughout my perusal of this page…I could not rid myself of Hugh Laurie’s subversion of the word “estuary” from his infamous ballad, “Mystery”.

  2. What’s the red line top left in the 8th pic down?

  3. Junaid Rahim says:

    Given the high density of the camera involved very good job. As you say somewhere below, will definitely be better printed and larger.

    Given you need much more steady hands, have you devised some sort of exercise/routine to improve your steadiness?

  4. Exquisite!

  5. My favorites are the fourth one and the one that is last. I’d love to see what an Ultra Print of the final one looks like. The shadows and landforms in the sea look so painterly! Lovely color in both!

  6. The textures of the coast energize my interest in these shots: so much of interesing detail!

    • Too bad the online versions don’t really come close; even the 24″ proof prints are much better. Some subjects just need a lot of room to breathe…

  7. Great series, you definitely took the opportunity well 😉
    Especially like the third, the blueish river and contrasting sand, but that works well in all images!
    Greetings, Ron

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