New Zealand’s South Island with the M9 by Jason Howe

New Zealand’s South Island with the M9

By Jason Howe

In the last couple of weeks we got the chance to visit Queenstown in the South Island. My initial excitement around the photographic potential of this trip was again tempered by the realisation that, taking lots of photographs, whilst on a short birthday celebration break with friends, may not make me the most popular person in the South Island. With this in mind I initially decided against taking my gear however at the last moment after the tiniest bit of encouragement I had a change of heart.

I’d travel “light”, for me that is…..and I’d try to take images that would enable me to do a post based around vintage Leica glass on the M9.

In the Bag –

Leica M9

35mm Summicron f/2 (Pre Asph) v.1

50mm Summicron f/2 (Rigid Type II)

15mm Super Wide Heliar f/4.5 – Yes I know it’s not vintage!!! Here’s the thing, this lens is so small and versatile that it now comes with me whatever…..

As I suspected the opportunities were few and far between and it soon became apparent that on this occasion I wouldn’t be able to do justice to the intended theme of my post. Time, weather, light and to some degree my lens choice were all conspiring against me. Whilst the vintage Leica glass is superb it does lack contrast, leaving you struggling when the light is less than favorable.

Things just weren’t going to plan, all I could do was hope that at least one opportunity would present itself , if it did I’d be ready to squeeze every available image from it. Eventually, in failing but favorable light we approached the shores of Lake Wanaka, time was short but I gave it my best shot!!!

Lake Placid – Leica M9 – 35mm Summicron f/2 (Pre Asph) v.1

One of the real surprises that photography has given me is the ability of an image to tap in to the darkest corners of the mind and evoke a memory, in the instance of the next image it was the first verse of a poem I’d read in secondary school (more than a few years ago)….obviously I couldn’t recall the entire poem, that would just be weird!!

Ripples – Leica M9 – 35mm Summicron f/2 (Pre Asph) v.1

The full version of the poem by James W. Foley can be found here

I’ve championed the merits of the Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide Heliar f/4.5 previously, an extensive user report can be found here. It’s worth me mentioning that I always code this lens as a 21mm 11134, you can read why in the aforementioned user report. Simply put, the more I use this lens the more I wonder how I ever managed without it!! I believe continued evidence of its capabilities and justification for taking it everywhere can be seen in the image below.

Awakenings – Leica M9 – 15mm Super Wide Heliar f/4.5

A Dream Within A Dream – Leica M9 – 35mm Summicron f/2 (Pre Asph) v.1

Isolation and Exhilaration – Leica M9 – 50mm Summicron f/2 Rigid Type II

So, there we have it, another amazing New Zealand destination that I have only scratched the surface of…….another place to add to the ever-increasing list of places I have visited and to which I would love to return with the sole intention of photography. They say that the further south you travel in this country the better the scenery gets, it’s so very true.

Thanks for reading.

Jason Howe

Aperture Priority – Photography by Jason Howe 
find me online: Website | Flickr | Twitter | Facebook


  1. What a great post, stunning pictures!.

    I do not know a lot about leica photography, do these kind of images require (a lot of of) post processing?

    • Thanks Debaser, I have a processing rule that I impose on myself, if I can’t get an image to look the way I want in 5-10mins then I call it a day……I find it hard enough to get out and shoot as often as I’ like so time at the computer is time wasted. Cheers, Jason.

  2. Wow, absolutely inspiring and beautiful. Thanks for sharing, and Steve, thanks for posting these.

    • Thanks Denis, the 35 cron f/2 V1 and the 50 cron Rigid Type II lack contrast when compared to their modern day equivalents, so I’d have to answer PP…..cheers Jason

  3. Awakenings is the most beautiful image to me, because of the foreground elements that lead you into the scene! Did you use a polariser filter on this photo, or was the water that clear!

    Leica for me are the b&w images from the past, so seeing them here in b&w seems natural to me.
    But shooting a lot of b&w film makes me a bit biased!

  4. To me, a picture is really good if I’d frame it and hang it on the wall. Several of these should definitely be framed and hung.

  5. Gorgeous! One of the BW landscape posts ever!

    Would you mind sharing the software and processes you used to turn them to BW?

    • Hi M3, Thanks.

      I’ve thought about this for a while now as I see processing all the time from other photographers that I would like to be able to recreate. In truth, I still consider myself to be developing a style but at some point I will do a post on my blog about B&W processing.



  6. Holy Crap!!!! Someone who uses Leica and is also a good photographer!! 🙂
    Seriously though, these photos are awesome…especially the one with the 15mm…really great work.

  7. Quite inspirational I have just acquired a mint 1960 version 1 -35 mm summicron I could only hope to
    Get such great results thanks allot for the post

  8. The Heliar lens certainly performs. Maybe it was the clarity of the water which helped but the Heliar captured that so well.
    Good to read the appreciative comments, but I sometimes wonder about those who proclaim with every new guest posting that they’re the greatest snaps they’ve ever seen. When something really great comes along, will they have any words left to do them justice? ))

  9. Great shots! I am a professional photographer and also organise and guide tours for photographers visiting New Zealand. The most common theme is that there is never enough time!
    I have had clients who want to try and fit it all in within a week, even, and that is just not possible (although we do a good job of getting as much in as we can, weather permitting!).
    I always think that to do it justice, the South Island warrants 3 or 4 weeks and the North 10-14 days. I just returned from 14 days on the road with a client from the UK – 3500 km touring the North Island and we had a great time.

  10. Very different to the usual shots of the stunning scenery of our country. I like the moodiness of the shots.

  11. Amazing shots Jason! Simply just wow:)! #3 is my favorite and I really love the B&W conversion of all images. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Wow! I love these kind of images, dark, moody and a hint of danger =o] Also, a bit appropriate considering Halloween is creeping up on us =o]

    • Sigma DP1 28mm F4 (& upcoming DP1M 28mm F2.8)
      Closest thing to them is M9M (Monochrom) + Elmarit ASPH 28/2.8

      Both cameras have no CFA
      thus the image has no calculations of 2/3 colour :
      resulting B& W are the purest from any FF, APSC digital camera.

  13. Very nice pictures.

    But I have a question for everyone. Why are almost all Leica M photos posted on Steve’s website in B/W? I know B/W is an art form but it seems like people are not showing colour photos from their Leica M cameras. Is there any reason for this? Thanks.

  14. Some of if not THE best landscape shots I’ve ever seen in B&W! Man I hope Leica announces something sensible this week so I can get more use of my Leica glass gathering dust.. LOVE #2 and #3 but all are amazing!

  15. Jason, absolutely spectacular. You may not have produced much by way of volume, but you certainly hit the jackpot in quality. I’ve seen a few of these on LFI – congratulations.


  16. Absolutely stunning pictures.. breathtaking. Congrats, Jason to those timeless pictures.
    Any chance to get them as a bigger version for my desktop?? 🙂

    All the best and greetings from Germany, Holger

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