Photoessay: Interpretations of ‘the tree’

H51-B0008180 copy

Today’s subject is a series of aerial interpretations of a tidal formation known as ‘The Tree’ by locals. It is formed of sandbars and the action between the high tide lagoon draining. Due to the nature of fluid dynamics, the current magnifies any irregularities in the channel creating a self-reinforcing turbulent flow which in turn digs certain channels deeper than others. Over time, this creates ever deeper channels – but also channels that may land up shifting when the various flows deposit runoff material and interact with each other in unexpected ways. The upshot of all this is the creation of a pattern that can only really be appreciated from the air both due to accessibility and scale (and there would be no vantage point from the ground). The rate of change is much faster than you might think, too: these images were shot at the opposite ends of the same day, yet there are formations that are visibly different over the course of barely twelve hours. 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.

H51-B0008269 copy

H51-B0008209 copy

H51-B0008273 copy

H51-B0008207 copy

H51-B0008159 copy

H51-B0008272 copy

H51-B0008206 copy

H51-B0008164 copy

H51-B0008171 copy


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!

We are also on Facebook and there is a curated reader Flickr pool.

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


  1. Jorge Balarin says:

    Superb. I like very much the abstract ones.

  2. Carlos Polk says:

    Curiously, the first word that came to mind when looking at number 6 (#159) was organic. The thought was not analytical, but spontaneous. For me, the best of the set.

  3. Beautiful photos.
    A question not related directly to the essay but I am just curious.

    Do you care what aspect ratio you end up using for your photos?
    Maybe it can be a good topic for a future essay?! 🙂


  4. hoksilatowitko says:

    Very very nice portfolio Ming ! Out of curiosity was it shot from a helicopter or from a plane/Cessna ?

  5. Incredibly beautiful landscapes!

  6. Brett Patching says:

    These are just lovely Ming.

  7. Beautiful! The fourth photo looks like a painting 🙂

  8. stanis riccadonna zolczynski says:

    The photographs are so luminous that they would be magnificent printed on semitransparent medium and exhibited backlit.

  9. Can’t be more beautiful than that Ming.

  10. Beautiful!

  11. Beautiful! I took some years ago flying over and enroute to Lake Eyre (in South Australia) this reminds me of the same sorts of imagery though yours are simply stunning 👌

  12. richard majchrzak says:


  13. Guy Incognito says:

    Beautiful set. I’m sure they look even more amazing in large print! The sixth (H51-B0008159) is my favorite. Kudos…

  14. Beautiful photographs 🙂
    #3, 4, 6

  15. Any up-market architectural decor concern should leap at the chance to license that next-to-last image for use printed large. Same goes for a number of the earlier abstracts which can be drawn from this aerial series. Beautiful stuff.

%d bloggers like this: