OT review: a thousand kilometers in the 2019 BMW M5

_Z716715 copy

A thousand kilometres (or five days, one long distance trip and some regular urban use) might sound like a lot, but it really isn’t that much time to get to know a car as complex and layered as the 2019 BMW M5, codename F90. It’s like a couple of hundred shots with a Hasselblad, or maybe an handful of tracks with a high end pair of headphones. A taste, an impression, nothing much more. I’m not a car reviewer by any stretch of the imagination, nor do I have the driving skills of somebody like Chris Harris; I merely have some interest and probably a bit too much obsession. For reference, I’m coming from a 2018 F87 M2 as my daily driver, on which I’ve barely passed the 12,000km mark and feel like I’m just about getting to understand it to the point of late night friendship terms, but not quite familial contempt. A description of the character in question thus follows.

[Read more…]

On Assignment Photoessay: Koenigsegg, part I

H6800-B9999897-905 copy

Today’s photoessay contains the stills from the video of the shoot – there are also high resolution versions available for your pixel peeping pleasure at Hasselblad.com. There aren’t that many images simply because the setup for each one was quite extensive, and we were limited to a small window of time where ambient was dark enough for a long exposure, and bright enough to have some trace; too dark and I also had problems composing. You’ll notice a few other tricks in this series – there’s high speed sync flash involved, a little PS merge in one case (we only had one car!) and some interesting lighting…enjoy! MT

A big thank you to Koenigsegg for support and logistics, and Angelholm Airport for air traffic control. This series was shot with a Hasselblad H6D-100c, 50, 100 and 150mm lenses, several Broncolor Siros 800Ls and a DJI Matrice 600 drone. Postprocessing was completed using Workflow III.

[Read more…]

On Assignment: Above and Beyond – a collaboration with Koenigsegg

Above and Beyond: Ming Thein x Hasselblad x Koenigsegg from Ming Thein on Vimeo.

This one has been some time in the making – planning started at the beginning of the year, with the shoot in May to balance weather and sunset/sunrise times, for release only now – today’s video and post is a taste of what goes into a production of this size. Please click the link above to watch it in full 4K glory.

In a nutshell, the concept is pretty simple – but as far as I can tell, unique to date – long exposures, cars, aerial perspective, twilight, Swedish locations for a Swedish car and camera, high speed sync flash to freeze. It is a way of visually describing the journey: the light trails are the past, the history, and the future; they’re not smooth because there are bumps in the road and and paths can diverge significantly due to small changes in causality*. The clearly frozen car is the here and now, and the moment we should be enjoying: it’s the immediate manifestation of the present, with viscerally clear details. The past and the context fade and blur away, dtails blurred by the biased lens of memory. After a little discussion with Christian von Koenigsegg and his team – they bit, and we were in business. Since we were going for the best of the best all around – the only choice was to use the flagship H6D-100c and DJI M600, of course.

*Physics reference.

[Read more…]

On Assignment: new car launch, part II

30s cut – for air

Continued from part I.

Right after the last file was returned from the retoucher, checked and sent off, I packed myself up to go on the tech reccie for the next part of the job: the TV commercial. Unusually, I wouldn’t be behind the camera this time: instead, I’d be occupying the folding canvas director’s chair. (I was surprised they existed, too). Read on to see life behind the lens from another angle…

[Read more…]

On Assignment: new car launch, part I

_8049451 copy

An enormous amount of visual material needs to be generated before any new car launch; both stills and motion. The first part of this article will look at something I am very familiar with – normal studio photography.

[Read more…]

On Assignment: shooting a car

_8039291 copy

It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these – partially because of respect for client embargos, partially because my recent assignments have been so hectic that I haven’t had time to pause for breath let alone b-roll; however, I’m hoping to rectify that today with a report from one of my larger recent shoots. In Malaysia, Nissan is phasing out the current 2013 Teana to make way for the all-new 2014 model. I was brought in originally with the intention of consulting on the 2014 campaign creative direction and shoot for the new car, however, at the last moment I got roped into the final campaign for the current car, too. And that shoot will be the subject of today’s post.

[Read more…]

Photoessay: New car time

I don’t normally shoot cars – I leave that to my good friend Darren Chang – but my wife recently got herself a new ride. Since I photograph everything that moves or doesn’t move as a matter of habit and for practice, I couldn’t help myself. The 6R Volkswagen Polo GTI is one of the best bang for the buck cars you can find here – 185bhp from a 1.4 turbocharged and supercharged four; it gets to 100km/h in the mid-six second range, and has a great growly exhaust note. Also, it’s a lot of fun. MT

This series shot with an Olympus E-PM1 Pen Mini and 14-42 kit lens.

_PM07912 copy

_PM07976 copy

_PM07919 copy

_PM07889 copy

_PM07960 copy

_PM07961 copy

_PM07903 copy


Visit our Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including Photoshop Workflow DVDs and customized Email School of Photography; or go mobile with the Photography Compendium for iPad. You can also get your gear from B&H and Amazon. Prices are the same as normal, however a small portion of your purchase value is referred back to me. Thanks!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and join the reader Flickr group!


Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards. All rights reserved

POTD: Step on it

_7019573bw copy
Speeding is illegal. Acceleration isn’t. Nikon D700, 28-300VR. BMW 135i M sport.

POTD: New car obsession

_8001335 copy
New car obsession. Nikon D800, 28-300VR

On a photographic note: the T stop of the 28-300 is much lower than the f stops would suggest, requiring higher ISO. If you want to know the difference between the two, I suggest you come back later for today’s article 🙂 What you can’t see art this size is that this was shot at ISO 1400 – yes, there’s some fine grain if you look at 100%, but guess what – it could have been ISO 50 for all intents and purposes on the web. Downsizing large images (even if noisy at the pixel level) averages out the luminance noise and leaves you with a much cleaner print than you might think.

A mark of today’s blind consumer society: I was attending the launch for the new BMW 3 series locally; overheard was a conversation between two other customers:

Person 1: “It’s so huge inside!”
Person 2: “Really? Doesn’t seem much bigger than the old one to me.”
Person 1: “But it must be, the salesman said so!”

There’s a moral to this story: firstly, don’t believe everything you read or hear: go and verify it with your own eyes, especially if you’re going to be spending your own hard earned money on it – more so these days, since inflation seems to have had a very visible effect on the pricing of goods. Or maybe it’s the aspiring middle class, or both. If something is fit for your purpose, then go ahead and disregard what others – especially those with a clear bias, like salespeople – are trying to tell you. That’s the whole benefit of choice! Remember: this applies equally to anything, be it luxury cars or cameras. 🙂 MT

Photoessay: The Ford GT40

This car is a bit of a legend – the weapon that Ford used to beat Ferrari at their own game at Le Mans in the late 60s and early 70s. I was lucky to find an original, still-raced example locally, and even luckier to get the chance to photograph it. MT

Series shot with the Fuji Finepix X100.

_DSF1793 copy

_DSF1783 copy

_DSF1886 copy

_DSF1874 copy

_DSF1860bw copy

_DSF1806 copy

_DSF1891bw copy
Every special race car comes with a cute grid girl in a short skirt.