Photoessay: Aerial scale, part II

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Continued from part I.

As promised – here’s the other half without obviously identifiable reference points. I often find that with aerial images, it’s either very easy to abstract or very hard to get a consistent sense of scale – especially when the subject matter is not something that jumps out at us as something our subconscious can pattern recognise. The landscape here is simply so randomly full of formations that you’d have trouble dreaming up. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on the aim of the photograph. I don’t think one approach is better than the other, but it is an interesting cognitive exercise. Personally, when selecting images to fill the walls of the apartment we moved to earlier in the year – I found myself hanging quite a number of the less identifiable ones, and other images which were not an obvious choice based on my own screen preferences; proof printing plays a huge role here (assuming of course you print large enough!) Which do you prefer? MT

This series was shot over Francois Peron National Park in Western Australia, with a Hasselblad H5D-50c and processed with Photoshop and Lightroom Workflow III.

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For some odd reason, I’ve always thought of this image as ‘the daring fireball’.

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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. Martin Fritter says:

    New Yorker piece on Burtyansky

  2. trevorbecks says:

    Great stuff as usual! These aerial sets remind me of Edward Burtynsky’s work. I just had the opportunity to see some of his large prints. Hopefully someday I’ll get to see some of your ultra prints.

  3. Totally beautiful!! Love the complex abstraction…radom and yet harmonious

  4. Lucy march says:

    Very hard to choose — I hope your new place has a lot of walls!

  5. Philip Payne says:

    Hi Ming, The blues and greens of the water are gorgeous. Were you using a polarizing filter in any of these?

  6. Dirk De Paepe says:

    What I prefer? It depends on the purpose. If I look at it from an artistic standpoint, I’d prefer them to be as abstract as possible, with an as much compelling composition as possible. Looking from a documentary standpoint, I think good references are necessary. Well, I’d go for the first genre, if I would be a buyer. I like #5, 8, 9, 11 the most, but maybe (probably) I’d change my mind, when I’d look in large format.

    • Intersting – yes, the output size matters enormously. Some that may seem a little flat and uninteresting at web sizes are very different large; the ones that work small still work, of course.

      • Dirk De Paepe says:

        “the ones that work small still work, of course”
        I wonder, if in larger formats some details would become clear references, maybe the abstract character would be lost, and with it maybe some of the artistic power…

  7. Wow these are amazing. I haven’t made it over the WA, which is poor show really, as I’ve been in the country for 15 years. Did you commission a chopper for these?

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