Photoessay: Duomo

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It’s hard to believe these were shot not quite six months ago. The world today is a very different place, and some places have been hit harder than others – like Italy. Looking back, I am thankful to have visited in times of vibrance and life, even if it meant crowds, queues, noise and my wife getting pickpocketed. Hang in there, Italy. MT

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

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And one final one for a little light heartedness…

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Prints from this series are available on request.


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


  1. What a shame there are virtually no inside shots.
    the Vasari artwork on the inside roof of the Duomo in my view outshines the architecture (and is a pretty full-on representation of heaven and all the awfulness of hell)

    Treat yourself to another visit Ming

    • I did appreciate it, but didn’t see any way to photograph that without it turning into merely a reproduction of somebody else’s work…

  2. KL Chan says:

    A wonderful series Ming. I’m amazed how you managed to get so much variety in terms of ‘angle of view’ (forgive me if I’m using the wrong term/idea here) with just the 24-70.

    • Thanks – just a question of how you position elements in the frame to give you relative distance/ scale cues…even a 50mm can ‘read’ as a wide or tele depending on this.

  3. GD Morris says:

    Thanks for sharing. Cool shots particularly the title or theme shot. That gives a good sense of what you’d find walking up for the first time. Six months ago seems like a lifetime.

    • Pretty much, since it’s my first encounter with the place. Six months ago feels like an age because of everything that’s passed in between; if not, I suspect we’d still think of it as ‘recently’. Somewhat related, but it occurs to me new camera sales are likely going through the toilet also because most of the population can no longer travel (and thus not be able to justify purchases)…

  4. This is a great series Ming! And that first photo is very quintessentially you! I love the light and textures as well as the very interesting framing throughout the series. As another poster mentioned, it’s almost unbelievable that the SOOC JPEGs can get tones like this.

    • Thanks Andre! I could probably do a bit better tonally from RAW (as well as adding some microcontrast bite) but I don’t think it would be justified for the end use of these images – I’d probably rework for print, but for reduced size digital use, the JPEGs are just fine.

  5. Your photos are dramatic, clear, and artful. I’ve been to this cathedral. Loved it. Took a million photos. But not sure any of them stack up to yours. Thanks for posting these.

  6. Michael says:

    I’ve often wondered if between the times of lockdown and reopening there’d been a pack of guerilla photographers at large, finally getting the iconic scenes of Europe without the crowds. The opportunities are so few.

    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      The Taj Mahal, as an architectural photo, with not a human in sight? 🙂 And without using the multiple exposure/time lapse trick, on the tripod which of course all of us carry, all over the world?

      • You beat me to it. I was thinking the same thing, but with an ND filter to drag out exposure time. Other than the emptiness and perhaps some signage, there are no immediate visual cues that signal the time period/ surrounding contextual events in question.

    • I’m pretty sure there were, because there were also reports of people getting arrested for it. Thing is though, I’m not sure how it would look that different to using say a 10 stop ND and an exposure long enough to blur out people entirely.

      • You will always have at least one person meditating and not moving. 😀
        I am also not sure whether it is desirable. People add context. Architecture without people is a novelty but not necessarily better.

        Beautiful pictures btw! Can’t believe they are straight from the camera.

        • Thanks – Nikon has done as good job with the processing engine, helped along a bit with some judicious setting choices.

          I am torn like you on the question of architecture vs context of use – I think in cases of abstract detail/form it’s fine and preferable not to ahve any visible people, but if it’s to be a functionally descriptive image in which you can see how the constructed environment is used, then you need to have at least one or two people to give scale and sense of flow. The people can’t be too specifically individual though, lest the focus shift from environment to individual…

  7. jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Superb photos of a wonderful architectural masterpiece!

    So creative that they provide a free tutorial on photographing cathedrals!

    Sorry about your wife’s pocket!

  8. beatrice bardi says:

    Well done! You can find new angles on something like the Duomo which has been photographed to death. The neon by Fontana in Museo del Novecento is another classic which you show from a new perspective.