Photoessay: Nightfall, Prague

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I don’t believe this city ever sleeps. When it gets dark, it’s simply a change of mood; in fact, some parts look better when you don’t see the less salubrious bits. When you get a good evening though, it feels as though you are walking in a fairy tale at American theme park sizes – really quite surreal. The challenge is of course how to not make another tourist cliche; I think I got too caught up by the obvious beauty at times and consequently failed abjectly with this set. Perhaps it will require another visit to rectify. MT

This series was shot with a Hasselblad H5D-50C and H6D-50C, various lenses and post 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. so great !

  2. “The challenge is of course how to not make another tourist cliche; I think I got too caught up by the obvious beauty at times and consequently failed abjectly with this set. Perhaps it will require another visit to rectify.”

    I am curious to see what you would have liked to capture since you feel that you failed with this set, especially since it calls to me more than other recent posts. Perhaps I am just drawn to night photography, but I really like how you worked with the color, shadows and reflections in the images.


    • Conceptually, the question is one of completeness and faithfulness: does it accurately represent Prague at night? Am I missing something unique and distinctive by not knowing any better?

      • On one level, I completely understand and agree with your concerns. I try to avoid what some call cliche (or “tourist snapshots”) as much as possible, and like to be faithful to my surroundings as best I can understand them. On the other hand, photography is also capturing what you see. If you are out at night and see what you have shown in your images, then if you do not feel these images to be somewhat cliche, you should not feel bad about them. When I saw this series, I really did not see them as cliche. Rather, I saw a great display of colors, shadows and reflections, which happened to be in Prague. If you find yourself back in Prague and happen to be out in the evening and are able to capture what you were seeking, I think it would be an interesting discussion to compare the photo sets.

        I felt the same way when I was in Venice years ago. In some ways, the whole place is one big tourist snapshot. But, I remind myself that like all of the (seemingly never ending) remakes of classic stories like Romeo & Juliet, that it is the interpretation that makes or breaks the story. The subject is somewhat classic, or a standard as they like to say in the world of jazz.


        • A fair way of looking at it. I think this is the nature of globalisation: a lot of these older historical cities are just becoming massive theme parks…but yes, it’s the idea, the interpretation, and the romance of it that makes it work – or not.

      • Alois Lazecky says:

        I find your photographs quite interesting, but since I lived in Prague I know you would have to be there at least few months to get the best of the city. Just too much to see and too many magical places that are hidden from nousy distructive tourists. Spring is by far the best time of the year when apple and cherry trees are blooming all the way through the old city and Prague castle area.

  3. jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    I am fascinated by night photography, Ming, and these shots include some of the best Ive seen – thanks for sharing them

    • Thanks – I think the interesting thing about night photography is that it’s very easy to see something you can’t otherwise manage with your naked eyes…

  4. If that’s failure, I want my fair share. Now!

  5. I don’t know whether the sheer amount of material you’ve produced during that week is depressing or encouraging. I guess it helps to shoot several themes during a trip and then curate each, instead of trying to perfect just one. Maybe I’ll try that on the next trip (SF and North California coming up soon). Also, shouldn’t compare myself to pros 😛

    • Well, I generally go into a trip with a few ideas I want to try, define those clearly, and then work when the opportunities present themselves – it isn’t always successful because it depends on what presents itself. 🙂

  6. One of my favorite cities. I first visited shortly after the Velvet Revolution, and it has really changed in some ways since then, If I ever get nostalgic, I just go to the Prague Tram Cam for a fix.

  7. Roger Wojahn says:

    Such a gorgeous set, Ming. Sometimes you have to go for the obvious beauty! You’ve absolutely mastered that HB too!

  8. Caught up in the beauty and poetry. Great work Ming.

  9. Wow! Your photos made my morning! Thank you for sharing your art.

  10. mylifestorymyway says:

    Gorgeous captures.

  11. Wow !!! What an incredible series ….

    Thoroughly enjoyed this post and thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    It’s so hard to pick one image over the other, but the images with swans and the city skyline as backdrop is my favourite.

    Have a beautiful day ahead 🙂

  12. richard majchrzak says:

    like the swans and number two long shadows , the tram is okay. thanks for showing. you are a busy man.

  13. So poetic and romantic aswell !!!

  14. Beautiful images Ming! I especially like the compression in the elevated shots of the buildings (1, 3, 10 & 14). And I feel that it’s often best to give in to the “obvious beauty” shots to aid in your visual digestion of the place, especially if it’s your first visit, and then move on to make the images that show more of your vision and signature to complete the meal! :^)

  15. Prague, where beer is cheaper than water! Magnifique.

  16. Fabulous images and a fabulous looking city. Sigh!

  17. These look fantastic, makes me want to save up to travel here and experience the place myself too someday 🙂

  18. These are all exquisite images. The swans, though, I fell in love with ❤️

    • Thanks!

      • Are you using a CC40m filter to compensate for the green channel clipping? My H6D 100 green channel always seams to want to clip before the red and blue making it hard to balance the exposure in high dynamic range or low light images. When I inspect the histogram in FastRawViewer I will often see the the blue is half a stop to the left from the wall while the red is about 1 to 1.3 of a stop to the left of the wall. But the histogram on-camera shows red and blue channels touching the right wall. I have ordered a Cc40 M magenta filter to hold back the green channel. I have contacted Hasselblad about CWB but no answer yet. I notice you have many images where the green channel would clip what is your solution?



        • No, I didn’t find it necessary – but I haven’t shot the kind of subjects where the green channel would clip yet. It’s also possible it might be a calibration issue with your particular camera (though unlikely if colours otherwise look right to you). If I did encounter it, I’d probably just pull exposure back a little and recover the other two channels – there’s more than enough latitude. Easier than dealing with another filter…

          • Yes pulling back the exposure is a quite underexposed image, I think it’s how I got into this Abiss, shooting last minuet light seascapes not to blow out the sun I watch the histogram in camera. But as I in spect the raw file only the green channel clips. Colors from the cameras are fine, but most need a magenta correction. Always try to hold back blowing out the highlights though. Went to a .9 reverse ND that helps a lot but as you say 150 x 170mm glass filters are a pain! Have you shot the 100 yet and if so have you checked any of your files in Rawdigger and compared them to your in camera histogram?

            • Yes, I’ve used the 100. No, I don’t bother with Rawdigger – never have. What I do know is that if only one channel clips a little, and there’s a reasonable amount of info in the rest – it isn’t a disaster, because ACR can still do a very good job with recovery. If two clips it’s harder; if all clip harder still – but in both cases still not the end of the world if there’s some surrounding area that isn’t clipped. However, if most of the scene lies in the clipped channel – then you have a problem because there isn’t enough remaining information left to interpolate from.

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