Photoessay: Postcards from a wintery Gothenburg

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This set has had a little sitting time – shot in March, just about on the cusp of spring. I was in Gothenburg for Hasselblad-related things. The usual hotel near the office was booked out, which I initially resented, but it did give me the pleasure of a nice walk of a couple of kilometres down the waterfront from the hotel to the office and back. Living in the tropics, you really miss the seasons – the whole year passes pretty much the same, with some variations in precipitation as about the only clues as to which month you’re in. It’s strange, but there’s definitely pleasure in getting such a strong feeling from your environment that change is about to happen – you can see the brilliant sunshine and warmth trying to break through slightly more each day and chase the vestiges of winter misery away, though there are still moments during the day where you’re not quite sure what season it is (especially towards dusk, if there are clouds). What was that old saying again – we always want what we can’t have…MT

This series was shot with a Hasselblad X1D and 90mm lens, and post processed with Photoshop and Lightroom Workflow III. Roam vicariously with T1: Travel Photography. and the How to See series.

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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. Very beautiful images Ming. I am from Gothenburg and it is so inspiring seeing my home town from a different perspective. If you´re coming here again I would really recommend taking the ferry out on the island in the southern archipelago. It is just a 30 minutes trip and the morning light is so rewarding. Just let me know if you need any great locations. I can send you a couple of links in that case.

    Love following your blog,

  2. Bipasha says:

    Beautiful photos!

  3. jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    I know what you mean, saying we miss what we can’t have. I grew up in a colder region, with four seasons – moved to the tropics for a while – and now live in between, but there’s no spring or autumn. And none of the vibrance nature attaches to the roll out of the four seasons. No such thing as autumn leaves, even on deciduous trees – just live or dead ones. But if you have “the eye”, there’s still plenty to see as the months roll past.

  4. Beautiful set of images Ming!
    I own the X1D +45&90 since a few weeks and I am still in the learning process.
    Did your use a tripod for most shots?

  5. Enjoyed these! Very Scandinavian, but with some new perspectives on a familiar (style of) environment.

  6. Bit heavy with the “resented”, no? Disappointed, I get.

    Oh, and “wintry”. 😉

    • Well, a 2km walk in let’s say…brisk temperatures and winds isn’t much fun especially when compounded with tropical origins and jet lag, not to mention being not as nice a hotel… 😉

  7. A beautifully executed set with wonderful expression and feeling. These photos really deliver and the colors are gorgeous!

  8. Beautifull set. Really captures the look of the bleak, nordic winter light.

  9. It’s always interesting to see your own country through the eyes of a skilled photographer from another part of the world. You choose different scenes compared to Swedish photographers. I hope you will come back and take more images, to show more of this country from an unexpected angle

    • Not sure my curation/observation is representative – I shot what I had time to see/encounter, as opposed to what I had time to go out and find 🙂

  10. The subtle colors and the crisp sharpness in the pictures make them outstanding for me. Using MF is the right decision for your way of shooting, the pics are the proof for it.
    Maybe a litte extravagant using MF for Postcards, but why not. It just works. Print them and send me one for Christmas, please ;-).

  11. Kristian Wannebo says:

    Hi Ming!
    Very nice!
    You did get around quite a bit in Göteborg (as we say.. , 🙂 ).

    The modern houses at the northern waterfront:
    That is where all the large warfs used to be until their crises in the 1970s.
    #6: Fishing boats like that – although very different above deck – were very common when I was a kid.

    “.. where you’re not quite sure what season it is ..”:
    It’s called “April weather”. Cold and warm regions of air compete for our air space. (We still have it, half a week of rather warm weather followed by risk of snow..)

    • No choice – the usual hotel was full, and it was a longish walk to the office 🙂

      Didn’t get to see the rest of the city though – perhaps next time!

    • I worked on a stern trawler in 1980-81 and we still had a couple of “eastern rigs” like that #6 in the fleet. They were pretty slow and hard to work. Many of the boat builders and fishermen in the 1920s were immigrants from Britain or Scandinavia and brought the design over to the US. See:

  12. Nice and resting pics !!!

  13. Jeff Chester says:

    These appear to be much sharper than I’m used to seeing on your pages. Also seeing some sharpening artifacts. DoF is impressive for f 5.6 — where was the focus… on the distant trees or hyperfocal? Does the cool crisp air make a difference? X1D appears to be the mirrorless for those of us who prefer something other than the diminutive a7rii and a9.

    • Sharpening artefacts are almost certainly host downsizing; there aren’t any at full size (click through).

      Focal plane depends on subject, but you can see the limits of DOF in the full size image. No free lunch unfortunately, limits of optics and all that!

  14. richard majchrzak says:

    postcards, indeed. how different they were not so long ago. something printed in black or colours on heavy white paper , you could write on it and then you had to wet kiss a stamp to glue it on the reverse…and now…???i for one miss them….what a nice medium they were…Nice shots of a European environment, Mr Ming , exotic indeed.thanks

    • Convenience – why post when you can email? I suppose the romance of actually receiving mail other than bills or advertising junk is nice…can’t say I miss the stamp licking, though! 🙂

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