Photoessay: Evening in Manchester

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For reasons I can’t explain, the weather on this particular evening kept making me expect Sherlock Holmes (or his modern equivalent) to pop out from behind a corner, especially as the sun set. Not a bit of fog in sight, and I wasn’t in London, but perhaps it was the combination of the architecture and a slight drizzle. Unfortunately, the only afternoon/evening I had free to shoot wasn’t exactly the best for light, but we learn to make do (and curate ruthlessly, knowing that the locals will always be playing with a light advantage). This was the first time in some time I was travelling light – just one X1D and a couple of lenses. I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t have my photography brain switched on since that wasn’t the point of this trip, but this is the specific reason I’m posting this set: almost everything you see here in photoessay form is the curated result of a conscious effort at taking pictures; very rarely do I not do this. However, I recognise that this is probably closer to the way most readers’ photographic opportunities arise – a spare hour here and there – and I thought it might be useful to see what can be done even with limited time. MT

These images were shot in Manchester with a Hasselblad X1D-50c and 90mm, and post processed with PS Workflow III and the Weekly Workflow. See more on your journeys 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. Fantastic light (the beauty of northern cities) of which you have taken total advantage. Nice set, with the first two and last two images in my mind the strongest as they really showcase your color work (and I guess the X1D sensor).

    • Thanks – the strong hue shifts are nicely cinematic (and yes, work well with the X1D…or any Hasselblad; their strength has always been color rendition.)

  2. Brian Nicol says:

    Hi Ming, I absolutely love your first image – it speaks on so many levels! I like the other images as well and it shows that that a talented and skilled person can capture interesting if not great images by being out there. I have been on a break from photography due to health but you have inspired me to get out more and to work on my skills.

    I would suggest you do more to review the X1D as it has had incompetent negative reviews and you have exquisite images! Cheers, Brian

    • Thanks. As for the review – I would have published it before joining Hasselblad, but FW wasn’t really complete. Now that I have joined – I’m pretty sure I’d get panned for being not objective, so why invite trolls?

      • Brian Nicol says:

        Why restrain a valuable viewpoint to your appreciative audience because of trolls-they are inevitable. When you provide full disclosure of your corporate relationship you are being transparent. You are honest and a skilled reviewer that would help someone make an informed and balanced decision on whether it suits their needs. There is no perfect camera system but I am delighted that we have so many amazing choices that make photography such a satisfying experience and are way beyond the skill level of the vast majority including myself. I realize you are unable to review competing brands but at least review Hasselblad cameras and your experience on using medium format for various applications. I have not seen a competent review of the X1D and lenses and in particular digloyd would have convinced me not to buy the camera and lenses but my subscription to his site ends soon and will not be renewed as he seems to me to be severely biased against anything not Nikon. Your blog is a breath of fresh air in expertise and inspiration and educating. Cheers, Brian

        • True, but it still puts me in a difficult position: as you say, nothing is perfect, and suitability often depends on one’s own personal needs. I wouldn’t recommend the X1D for a sports photographer, for instance. But so long as I’m employed by the manufacturer, I can’t say things like that because somebody, somewhere, will misconstrue or take those statements out of context and then it’ll come back to bite me. What I can however do is go one better and put my money (and work) where my mouth is – by making pictures with the gear. 🙂

  3. Ming – if I may ask you something: when you have found a good spot, like the pictures above, how long do you wait in the street until the right person steps into the frame? I always think waiting in the street makes me look suspicious, especially at night – people may think that I’m up to no good. On the other hand, nighttime is when I prefer taking photos, and some images need a pedestrian, a car or a cyclist – especially a cyclist with his lights on.

  4. Bill Walter says:

    This is a solid set Ming, but I must say, that second shot really knocks me out!

  5. wow. those are beautiful. these are the best results i’ve seen yet for the medium format craze. i wish i was a good enough photographer to justify buying the x1d.

  6. Anatoly Loshmanov says:

    Hello Ming !
    Definitely evening atmosphere.
    Very interesting color palette.

  7. That’s a lovely set. You were lucky to encounter a fairly mild winter this year.

  8. Nice set, Ming. I really liked the second shot in the series of woman (and her shadow) walking down the street. The series reminds me a little bit of Todd Weinstein’s early work in the 90’s for Canon.

    Seems like you have been on the road a lot these days. Hope you are also able to spend some time with the family.


    • Thanks – yes, way too much travel…it just isn’t fun anymore especially given the paranoid state of today’s airports…

      • Sorry to hear. It’s funny, we work really hard for those rare opportunities, and when we do take advantage of them, it often seems that something comes along and mucks up a bit of “the dream”. I hope that you can find a good work/life balance.


  9. Rebel Girl says:

    Wow! These are great shots!

  10. visitoutdoors says:

    Amazing! You inspire me to hone my own photography skills. Just Beautiful!

  11. These are the most enjoyable images I’ve seen in a long time on your site. They seem to have a warmth or emotional (sorry I can’t find the exact word I want) component to them. Of course the processing is exquisite. Just curious if they were taken with tripod or handheld.

  12. Thanks and congratulations for another excellent series.
    I am particularly intrigued by the sense of ‘volume’ (my possibly inept word choice) in #2 (running girl), and to a lesser extent # 8 (yellow train).
    I don’t know how to analyze a picture to know what creates it, and I don’t know how to achieve it. If you are ever searching for a tutorial topic…..!

  13. Great series! Very inspiring!

  14. PAUL TIRAJOH says:

    Just two words : Excellent Composition

  15. Ian Carroll says:

    Glad you enjoyed your brief time shooting in Manchester, and honoured to share the rare time, and rarer weather! And we never even got to the best bit, Castelfields! Next time….

  16. Show-off 😀 You forgot to mention the level of practice needed to execute this within a few spare hours 😉 Very nice.

  17. Really like this set Ming…handheld if you were travelling light?

  18. This is the Manchester we know and love…….. well done!

  19. Actually, as a native of somewhere near Manchester, you were very lucky with the weather – I see hints of blue sky, something I haven’t seen there for some time, despite regular visits there when seeing family! Anyway, as always, your photos are an inspiration for what can be achieved with the right approach, no matter what the circumstances.

  20. Oh, I’ve been missing the genes out of which these crackers have been derived. Bravo Ming 🙂

  21. Well done and very nice:

    finally someone who can still see (composition & vesper lights ) and shoot as professional photographer. Bravo.

  22. What kind of grey does Ming find in Manchester?
    ——— The sebastiangrey!!!
    Har har har! 😉

  23. Emanuele Olivetti says:

    I really like these pictures and – is it too rude to say? – I prefer them to the usual “perfect” ones you publish, or at least to most of them. Most probably, it has to do with what you say at the beginning of your post: “I recognise that this is probably closer to the way most readers’ photographic opportunities arise – a spare hour here and there”. Indeed, this is how I am used to taking pictures and, maybe, my personal preferences are shaped accordingly. Food for thoughts.

  24. The dampness of the scenery is making the scenario somewhat illuminating. Love this set, Ming!

  25. beautifull and interesting.

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