Photoessay: Doha to London

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I always try to get a window seat if I’m flying, and if there might be the slightest chance of anything to see (night photography from an airplane has so far proven highly challenging, with few exceptions – either your ISO is cranked so high that any subtle tonality in the widespread blue palette completely disappears, or you have motion problems). In those cases, it’s probably advisable to take an aisle seat if you’re the insomniac type, or stick to the window if you prefer not to be climbed over by your neighbour. Usually, the Middle East to European routes have something worth seeing; you overfly desert, mountains, and cities, and there’s at least eight hours of boredom to kill. I can’t imagine what else the answer might be if not photographic, to the point that I’ll try to sit on the ‘correct’ side of the plane for light and likely opportunities – beats 20 reruns of Friends at any rate. Whilst perhaps airline travel doesn’t quite have the same immediate connection with the changing landscape as driving or taking the train, it simply happens at a much faster pace and larger scale – which sadly is all too often overlooked by most travellers.

The opening image proves again that the adage ‘the best camera is the one you have with you’ is true: whilst the H5D was on my lap as usual for takeoff, I had completely the wrong lens on (100mm) – iPhone to the rescue. MT

This series was shot with a Hasselblad H5D-50C, various lenses 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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London, looking south


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. beautiful, a poetry in motion

  2. Is that a plane chucking out black smoke over the clouds in the 3rd one?

  3. nice photos

  4. El Ojo Inoportuno says:

    Good series. Funny thing, my last set of photos -Lofoten in Norway- was taken from either plane or bus. Never underestimate the chance of taking good pictures even if the conditions might not be the ideal ones.

    • Absolutely – I always have one camera rigged handy and ready to shoot regardless; often you get nothing, but sometimes preparedness has rewards!

  5. jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Those are the most remarkable and interesting in-flight photos I have ever seen. Thanks for sharing them, Ming

  6. You must be one lucky duck, I ALWAYS get stuck with filthy windows.

  7. Andrew Franta says:

    Any advice on shooting out the window? Other than cleaning it first.

  8. Stunning photos Ming. Lovely series!

  9. Beautiful images. But this sentence made my day: “the H5D was on my lap as usual for takeoff”. Perfect! 🙂

  10. Alan Dargie says:

    Pretty good pictures given they are through the aircraft window! The one of West Bay very good!

  11. stanis riccadonna zolczynski says:

    Ultraprint from opening picture? Why not.

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