Apr 042014

A photographic journey through New Zealand

by Cuno von Hahn

Māori: Aotearoa – New Zealand


The beauty and grandeur of New Zealand has captured the imagination of movie-maker and photographer in the past years, and the country is a dream destination for many around the world. It is a land of majestic snow-capped peaks, pristine lakes, glaciers descending to rainforest’s, fiord’s, geysers and volcanoes.There are only a few countries that have such a geographical diversity – a reason for me to travel there.


Of course, photography in New Zealand was as important for me as traveling around. All photos from Newzealand were shot with the X-Pro1, fujinon 14mm and fujinon 35mm.

Many people were asking me, if the New Zealand photos were made in HDR . I always try to avoid shooting HDR. Firstly, it is really complex and a time-consuming process and secondly, in my opinion the pictures become better and more natural, if I use graduate filters for more dynamic range. Surely that is not enough for getting a higher dynamic range. Shooting in RAW is also necessary.



All my pictures are carefully exposed. While shooting I am always using the histogram as a control tool. I performed almost no post production and no cropping at all. Every correction is made in Adobe Camera Raw (There are enough tools and options integrated). But my maxim is always: Digital darkroom techniques should only be used to adjust the dynamic tonal range and color balance of an image so that it more closely resembles what you saw, and that it communicates the mood of the scene.


I was also asked if I have encountered the X-TRANS RAW conversion problem. Yes – there are still problems. 20% (low settings) sharpening in ACR and the rest I`m doing in Photoshop. That works for me very well and I get rid of the swirlies. Have a look by yourself – I think the foliage looks nice and crisp.


If someone would like to see some more scenery images of New Zealand (also shoot with the X-Pro 1) please visit:



Finally, if New Zealand is not on the top of your list of countries that you want to visit, change your mind trust me!

Cheers, Cuno

Apr 012013

Leica M Monochrom in New Zealand by Chaiporn Vithessonthi

Hello Steve,

I’ve been thinking of whether to send you my images to be posted in your “daily inspiration” section for a long time. It was a tough decision because my images are not as good as those published on your site. At the end of the day, I’d like to receive comments from fellow photographers on my photos. So, I take a chance. Hopefully I will take better photos in the future.

I’d been shooting with film cameras for a long time before other activities took my time away from my cameras for years. To keep my story short, I bought my first digital camera, a panasonic GF1, when I came cross your review in 2010. Then, I bought a Leica X1 which I enjoyed a great deal on the road. Images from your Leica M9 inspired me and, indeed, led me to buy an M9 to compliment my M6 and M7. As I decided to move to New Zealand, I got myself an M Monochrom before leaving Thailand. I fully agree with you and others that the Monochrom is overpriced, way overpriced, but I really like B&W photography. So, I went for it and have been very happy with it ever since.

After having mainly shot with the Monochrom for almost a month, I have realized how lousy a photographer I had been over the past few years with my GF1 and other digital cameras. I can’t remember when was the last time I shot with color slide film. Getting the precisely correct exposure hasn’t been of great importance in the digital world (in relative terms) but it is of importance when shooting color slide film. Post-processing could save the day when I had my images wrongly exposed (say, half to one stop over/under) with digital cameras in the past. But the Monochrom has forced me to expose my images right. Overexposing the image is not an option. It’s not easy, and it’s still a long way for me to consistently get the exposure right. I have to improve my other photo skills too.

I am not good at post-processing and would appreciate any comments that come my way. All of the images below were processed in LR4. Photo 3 & 6 were also tweaked in Silver Efex Pro 2. With the exception of Photo 1, all photos were shot with a red or yellow filter on.

Photo 1: A mother took care of her baby at the Artist House in Bangkok, Thailand


Photo 2: Middlemarch, New Zealand


Photo 3: Dunedin Train Station, Dunedin, New Zealand


Photo 4: High school students performed a haka at the Octagon, Dunedin, New Zealand


Photo 5: A Scottish piper, Dunedin, New Zealand


Photo 6: A young boy was enjoying the performance of a Scottish pipe and drum band, Dunedin, New Zealand.



Best regards,

Chaiporn Vithessonthi


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