Photoessay: Watercourse

X1D5_B0002671 copy

Being an island, water is of course unavoidable pretty much everywhere you go in Iceland – it shapes the country and often emerges in spectacular form from the least expected of places. Volcanic rock is of course extremely hard and resilient, but eventually the water wins; what I found most mind-boggling about the landscape wasn’t the scale, spectacle or extremes – but the fact that it will continue to change dramatically. What we see is but an instantaneous snapshot of a work in progress that will only get more spectacular with time, assuming a) we as the human race are still around to see it, and b) we haven’t somehow messed it up ourselves. I do realise the irony in that thought – and I’m sure many people will point out that I’m directly contributing to b) by merely visiting. Yet without more of us going and exploring to know what ought to be preserved, we can’t preserve it – or more importantly, give the landscape enough visibility in the wider social context so that people are aware that it needs to be preserved. Curiously, quantum mechanics is correct again even at this scale: we influence the outcome by measuring (recording) it…MT

Shot with the Hasselblad X1D Field Kit and processed with PS Workflow III.

X1D5_B0002644 copy

X1D5_B0002633 copy

X1D5_B0002722 copy

X1D5_B0002696 copy

X1D5_B0002473 copy

X1D5_B0002602 copy

X1D5_B0002477 copy

X1D5_B0002484 copy

X1D5_B0002679 copy

X1D5_B0002594-2 copy


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 unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved


  1. John Pangilinan says:

    Excellent and enjoyable as always Ming. I was curious if the shadow detail in #3 is a product of having more dynamic range with the X1D, your workflow #3 (which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of since getting it over a year ago)? Or, probably a combination?

  2. Brandon Feinberg says:

    Well I know where my next destination is going to be. Thanks for the spectacular work.

  3. Anatoly Loshmanov says:

    Hello Ming !
    First and Last simply astonishing !
    The rest is excellent in their own way.
    Thanks for sharing ,

  4. I look briefly at your page each morning immediately after my morning News ‘shot’ and before having breakfast – frequently the short order breakfast cook ( my wife of almost 60 years ) gets interrupted to ‘come see’ and today there is a wet trail from the shower so urgent was the ‘summons’ . We both especially love your architectural/structural abstracts but this morning’s first image, whilst very different from those, is absolutely gorgeous.
    Thank you.
    p.s. recently my guilt at not paying anything for the regular pleasure that we enjoy here led me to become a regular small subscriber to your site – it is just a pittance but I hope it helps in some way … anyway it assuages my guilt just a little !

  5. the first and last pictures are really unique ! Many many thanks for sharing and allocating time to show us your work & tips!

  6. Michael Fleischer says:

    These photos represent a new level of seeing/capturing Iceland. Stunningly rich and saturated colours – still looking natural! Can feel Iceland “breathing, on the move and alive” as it does when being there…! Unfortunately, there need to be some regulation of visitors in the near future – else the experience-frenzy may ruin many places soon, but how without harsh restrictions? Some of my favourite photos are _B0002679 with turquoise/orange colours and _B0002633 with subtle rainbow and strong foreground. Ps, do you use filters to slow down water movements?

  7. X1D5_B0002696 copy is my favorite. There shutter speed is slow enough to show motion and fast enough to retain structure in the falls. Is this a panorama or crop? It seems like it was intentional composed for this aspect ratio. There is a lot of high frequency detail. Have you look at any ultraprints of these? Lovely work!

    • It’s a crop, but composed for this aspect ratio from the beginning. Ultraprints are always available 🙂 Personally, I am running out of walls…

  8. Robert Estiandan says:

    The third one from the last is magical! Which lens did you use?

  9. Richard Majchrzak says:

    the first pic is……lost for words, because it is a reason why photography was invented….great and wonderful, thanks and cheers

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