Photoessay: From the mountains

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Following on in the series of Icelandic landscapes, today we go inland a bit and bring you a series from the volcanic mountains. Strongly directional light, unfiltered by clouds, plus ‘sharp’ underlying topology that’s relatively new (and thus in places uneroded) in geological terms leads to some very interesting textures. I found the challenge when working in this kind of landscape to be one of context: interesting textures and shadows only remain interesting when seen against other elements to gauge relative ‘hardness’ and size; isolate one element and you somehow the whole thing doesn’t work; yet often light wasn’t dramatic enough to really make a single small element clearly pop against a much larger canvas. 90mm (about 70mm-e) turned out to be the most useful focal length here; mountains are relatively far apart, so some compression is required to avoid emptiness; yet some width is also required because of sheer scale. I kept wondering if some shift might be useful to give the mountains a bit more weight, but to be honest – we’d probably need far more than possible without a technical camera and large format lenses. MT

Shot with the Hasselblad X1D Field Kit and processed with PS 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 unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved


  1. I love the greens on Iceland. It’s really something else.

  2. Beautiful! I love the way you combined some “detail” shots with contextual shots, but with a layered view for the contextual shots rather than just going really wide.

    • Thanks. I’m not personally a fan of ‘wider’ – it’s a bit of a one trick pony, and gives up the interesting layers you see in the background…

  3. Frans Richard says:

    Given the date I was expecting something else, but this series certainly is no joke. Very, very nice! 🙂

    • 🙂 Out of curiosity, what might that ‘something else’ have been?

      • Frans Richard says:

        Something silly about gear that would be absolutely essential to become a better photographer and make images like these. Some secretive annoucement that these images were made to test a new camera you could not say anything about. Something April foolishly. 😉

  4. Hello Ming !
    First and Last image Unforgettable.

  5. Egmont Bonomi says:

    Coming from someone who primarily loves to shoot landscapes, I must applaud your efforts in Iceland. You have managed to go where seemingly everyone else has gone and yet come away with a host of images that when viewed for the first time, don’t necessarily remind the viewer of Iceland as the go-to photography destination that it has become. Furthermore, your post-processing is unintrusive as well as faithful to both the scene and to what the camera saw, which is more than can be said about 99.999% of photographs floating around the web these days… Only wish you would take trips like these more often!

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