MT’s scrapbook: Duo

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I happened to be staying at the hotel in this rather interesting property a couple of months back; whilst I don’t think I’d want to live here (there are apartments in one of the other towers) because it feels a bit cold and impersonal – the architects did a good job breaking up the potentially overbearingly massive geometric forms with cladding and ground landscaping, so you never feel that dominance at ground level. There’s no question some very clever structural engineering was involved to make the masses balance (and to install that curtain wall). The interior spaces are strange though – despite the size of the building, they never feel very large inside; I don’t know if this is due to the internal space division or the very non-square geometry. Still, it made for a pleasant half an hour or so’s worth of diversion wandering around and hunting for images. MT

The Scrapbook series is shot on an Olympus PEN F, with unedited JPEGs straight from camera bar resizing (and of course some choice settings). One or two were reprocessed to match the rest of the set using The Monochrome Masterclass workflow, for visual consistency and correction of verticals.

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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved


  1. Not really my type of architecture but it’s by Ole Scheeren architects which has a bit of a pedigree. Former partner (i believe) at Office for Metropolitan Architecture [OMA] headed by Rem Koolhaas. Compared to much this is architecture. I have to admit despite my reservations.

    • Personally leaves me a little cold because it’s not very human/warm design, but I agree: at least they tried to do something different.

      • Rem Kolhaas has said that he wanted to take modernism but make it *more* alienating… (probably intended to be provocative) Ole is furthermore, in my opinion, more commercial and less critical/artistic. So your appraisal sounds fair enough! The cold qualities with repetition and difficulty of reading scale can, perhaps counterintuitively, be critical in moderating the experience of size and density. Not my kind of work though!

        Nice (mostly) sooc images! Postprocessing is becoming more and more of a burden, would be nice to minimize time spent.

        • I think it worked very well, in that case. Not sure why those are desirable qualities unless you’re designing a space that you want to force people to transit through quickly and not stop to interact with each other or environment…or maybe that was the point?

          With other more and more other things demanding attention these days I’m trying to make as much stuff SOOC as possible…

  2. Very nice set. I love the geometry of these photos. I think a lot of users don’t realise that (with certain cameras) you can get excellent black and white with minimal effort. No need for SilverFX. Instead, just select monochrome and decide which filter you want the JPEG engine to simulate. Up the contrast (if you’re not going to do that in PS). Job done.

    • Absolutely – and with the flexibility of the PEN-F’s settings, even better. The Nikons comes close (and closer, I discovered, if you can decipher the UI mess that is their picture control software). Worth the initial setup pain to save you PP time, even if you can’t replace dodging and burning. Never needed SilverFX though – too little flexibility/ customisation for my liking.

  3. Great exterior architecture! Out of curiosity… did you employ an orange “filter” or the dark skies come from the reflectivity of the buildings?

    • Thanks. Bit of both actually – there’s a bit of red filtration and the buildings were very very bright against a (surprisingly for Singapore) clear blue sky.

  4. Enjoyed the photography here. Though I am not quite sure what I would make of these buildings if I were to chance upon them in flesh!
    Incidentally what lens or lenses didd you use in this photo shoot?

  5. Craig Carlson says:

    Craig here again. Apologies, i see you did note these were SOC Jpegs from a PenF. Impressive. Can you consider my previous question then as it pertains to your other B&W work you have posted on this site? Thanks, Craig

    • Thanks. My workflow is in PS because there are no real dodging and burning controls in LR, and adjustments aren’t sequential. I’ve been asked this enough that I produced a step by step tutorial here.

  6. Craig Carlson says:

    Ming Thein,

    These are gorgeous…great composition but the beautiful tonality also really stands out and above to me. (I’m a fairly recent discoverer of your site and work (found my way here from some of your Nikon reviews that were mentioned in NikonRumors). Can you share a bit on how you process these? I read in your reply to one commenter (if i understood correctly), you adjust exposure to protect highlights and work from there. Are you doing your editing in Lightroom? Thanks, Craig

  7. These are fabulous MT, really good. On a related note, do you recall what time of day it was when you shot these?

  8. Where is this?

  9. Really like this set Ming. Are you still spot metering or do you find the ESP + EC a better option with the Pen?

  10. There’s clearly a negative dog in there.

  11. stanislaw zolczynski says:

    No bees around?

  12. jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Brilliant photography! And yes, I agree – very imaginative architecture!

  13. Amazing set of photos

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