Photoessay: NYC cinematics, part II

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Continued from the daytime series

In a way, I actually found it more fluid to shoot the first set, even if the varying color palette here carries a bit more emotional weight. In some ways I also felt this set was a bit more stereotypical ‘New York’, given there’s not much control the photograph has over timing affecting light and mood – daylight is a lot more transient than neon. That said, I’m still quite happy with the individual frames capturing the mood of their particular corner of the city – sometimes a couple of blocks really does feel that different… MT

This series was shot with a Nikon Z7, 24-70/4 S, 50/1.8 S and my custom SOOC JPEG profiles.

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Prints from this series are available on request here


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


  1. Really nice series! Enjoyed it very much.
    Looks like you stayed at the Ace Hotel? I hope you enjoyed an almond croissant at Stumptown Coffee next door. They are legend – to die for!

    • Thanks. Yes, we were at Ace – far too hipster and basic for my liking (and price paid) but the event space was the best we could find. Yes, Stumptown was the morning ritual when we were there!

  2. Kurt, Meier says:

    Hi, Ming,
    great NY day and night set. A lot to discover and so much to learn from.
    Beside masterful Exposure and composition:
    All these little Story’s and Details let me rest for a while.
    That coffee shop! PIP; NY Black and White; The hand on the glass and her face,the mirror……..
    But on thing Ming:
    In Order to get much faster shutter speed you have to race your ISO from 64 to let‘s say 6400.
    The cut-into-two-peace’s-HOT-DOG-Girl isn‘t that sharp to my eye. (Hihihi)
    Anyway: No one cares: None of the persons in that picture is watching her..
    But you should buy a big Double-Hotdog the next time; because Mr. HOT-DOG knows you are there.

    • The motion blur was deliberate to introduce a sense of rush and anonymity…

      • Kurt Meier says:

        Oh, something went wrong.→My language is my limitation / border
        The picture works great, and of cores that motion blur was deliberate.
        I am a long time reader of your side and I (we) know you clearly have the eye and full control
        of all the buttons of your tools.
        My good “advise” was ment in a humorously way and went wrong.
        (bad humor ?;bad English at least…)

  3. Pierre Lagarde says:

    This 50mm gives a very special feeling. Great again 😀

  4. This is a very nice series so far Ming. The SOOC results are remarkable (are there mild edits in post?), but I’m guessing most of it is subject and light selection, so one still needs an eye for the right (whatever that may mean) light.

    • Thanks Andre. Some minor trimming at edges and of course the auto-border action, but that’s about it, actually. Yes, you 100% need the right light to start – even heavy PS won’t fix shadows…

  5. Jim Winkelmann says:

    Ditto what Ken said! It would be fun to see the original file straight out of the camera.

  6. These are terrific. The blacks are … rich … and for me as important as the saturated colors. Stark contrast to what we’re seeing in Wuhan now.

  7. Ming, exquisite images in both of the portfolios shown. How does the cinematic ratio compare to that of 16:9?

    • Thanks – these are 16:9.

      • Ha, Ha. So I’ve been shooting in the cinematic style without realising this ever since I purchased my little Panasonic LX3 in 2008. I feel very comfortable viewing 16:9, although I don’t select this as an alternative ratio on my 3:2 cameras as it involves a crop at the point of capture and I like the wide angle shots, out to 24mm equivalent, that the LX3 affords me. I do find myself cropping in post processing, strangely, but then this gives me more control.

  8. Thanx Ming. There is a wonderfull atmospheric feel to these because the exposure suits the lighting conditions so well. We tend to over brighten everything in post processing or at the time, maybe because we often exaggerate one form of sight to the detriment of the other senses. It could be the new historical stamp on our photography. A world where it is uncomfortable to listen to every sound, to face every thought, to engage every responsibility and to participate in the lives our paths cross.

    • Thanks – nothing more than as seen, or at least as experienced. Yes, there will definitely be a ‘HDR era’ in modern photography…not the nice smooth gradient kind, but the over-bright tone mapped kind…

  9. This cover shot is amazing. I am not sure what you did, but it seems to defy the laws of exposure based on the EXIF data. It is a wonderful shot.


    • Thanks – there was a lot of ambient light and recoverable shadows at ISO 64…

      • I was very surprised at the images shot at ISO 64 and would like to build my experience with scenes like this at lower ISO myself. Lots of ambient light doesn’t hurt but I was still surprised when I looked at the data. “Coincidentally” I very recently shot in indoor lighting at moderately high ISO; with a fairly modern sensor yet I still ultimately found myself regretting it.

        • NYC (and a lot of other cities) at dusk and with artificial lighting is much brighter than it looks…add that to a fast lens and you’ve got plenty of light. Plus, remember you can’t overexpose else you lose the neon. Shadow recovery is another thing entirely at base ISO on a modern sensor.

      • Ming, not being very familiar with the Z series, but seeing that you utilized your SOOC JPEG profiles, were you able to recover the shadows in camera, or did this require some post-processing in Photoshop?
        Thanks – Jim

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