New Zealand – East Cape Revisited by Jason Howe

New Zealand – East Cape Revisited

By Jason Howe – His website is HERE

Sometimes “real life” has to take precedence over photography and I’ve just experienced one such period. Having gone a few months without touching a camera I decided to brush off the cobwebs and take a trip out to the isolated East Cape of New Zealand. This is really one of the most beautiful regions of the North Island, relatively unspoilt, in parts like time is frozen. I first visited the East Cape last year on a road trip with my son’s, you can see those images HERE.

Despite knowing full well that keeping things simple and travelling light is the best way to go I found myself in a bit of a predicament. I had lenses that had arrived over the last couple of months that I hadn’t used and I was obviously very keen to try them out. So, I packed as much as I could, I wouldn’t carry everything all the time but at least I’d get to try the glass out on various bodies.

Therefore my bag looked like this –

Leica M9

Leica MM

Leica M6

21mm Voigtlander Ultron f/1.8 Asph

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

50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 Asph

90mm Summicron f/2 III (1984)

There really was quite a lot to go at here, the 21mm and 50mm VC are obviously both fairly recent releases, I’d not taken them out of the house……..the 35mm Summicron v.1 I’ve had for a while but felt I’d not given it adequate camera time. Finally the 90mm I picked up from a friend because I knew it would challenge me and there is nothing wrong with that!

21mm Voigtlander Ultron f/1.8 Asph

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

Image 4

Image 5

Image 6

The 21mm Ultron is considerably larger and heavier than its cousin the 15mm Super Wide Heliar f/4.5 which I also own. The truth is, all of the images I took here could quite easily have been captured with that lens. The real benefit of the 21mm Ultron is of course it’s speed, I didn’t really get an opportunity to explore the lens at wider apertures where this would come in to its own, I’ll need to experiment more with that. One real positive was the external finder, these are always a little painful but at least it is reasonably accurate in terms of framing the shot. I don’t have any other 21mm lenses to compare performance against but I found this lens to have excellent sharpness and no determinable distortion.


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

Image 7

Image 8

Most of the time I had this lens on my M6, those rolls of Portra 400 and TRI-X 400 are currently away for processing. What I had noticed before with this lens was reitterated once more, it exhibits exceptional sharpness and the transition between the in and out of focus areas is beautifully smooth. Despite it’s age this really could be one of the best 35mm lenses you can buy, the current 35mm Cron Asph is also fantastic, just in a slightly different way.

50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 Asph

Image 9

Image 10

Image 11

Image 12

Image 13

I had high expectations for this lens, at the risk of sounding like a Voigtlander advertisement their lenses just keep getting better and better, I have plenty of Leica glass but these VC offerings really do represent some serious value for money and that can’t be ignored. This 50/1.5 Asph is no exception, it’s really everything you could want and more in a 50mm lens and when you factor in that price I’d be bold enough to say it’s right up there with the best of them.

 90mm Summicron f/2 III (1984)

Image 14

Image 15

I knew this would be a challenge and I’d have to say it was, focusing was tricky even with the 1.4x magnifier and I have a lot more work to do with this focal length.

I have to say I really did feel a little rusty initially, however by the end of the trip I began to feel like I’d got some of my photographic “mojo” back. I’m now looking forward to spending a couple of weeks in the South Island, just me and my cameras, happy days.

You can read the full post and see more images from my trip on my website HERE.

Cheers, Jason.



  1. Nice images!
    These end results are really nice, I love it.
    However i was wondering if you can share one before and after image, so I have some idea how much is achieved out of camera, and how much is post processing…

  2. Overprocessed. Indeed.
    Strong compositions, strong processing.
    And I really like it.

    For some unknown reason, the first two photo’s of the trees felt like portraits to me. As if these trees could just walk out of the frame the next second.
    Then I saw the third trees photo and I knew it:
    The walking trees from the end scene of the Lord of the Rings!

  3. Excellent landscape shots. I*ved learned to love this part of New Zealand’s. Wonderful photography

  4. Wow, fantastic shots and a nice body of work on your website Jason, thanks for joining. I’ll be revisiting your website on a frequent basis.

  5. The shots are interesting, and mixing digital and film, as the occasion suggested, made for a more “complete” point of view. Congratulations!
    But… ” Sometimes “real life” has to take precedence over photography” gives the impression that, for you, photography is a nice hobby, but one that is disconnected from life, one that requires a time allowance allotted to it…
    I would feel lost without my camera in my little bag hanging from my shoulder…

  6. Great images of a great landscape. the way those pics are processed is a matter of taste but to me they dont look overprocessed (and if so then it is in the right direction). really nice work. ejoyed them all.


  7. I enjoyed looking at these images of a magical place. Me and the missus went round the Cape on our honeymoon: good memories. And this reminded me of a fantastic photo book “Highway 35” (photos by Peter Quinn) we picked up for ten bucks in Tauranga.

  8. Nice work with them all.
    The last shot is so bleak that it captures my attention more than I thought it would.
    The shots have done justice to your eye.

  9. Long time no see Jason,

    Another nice post from ‘The Land of the Long White Cloud’. That 50mm Voightlander Nockton and 21mm Ultron are a choice lens combination. Thanks for helping me make up my mind to purchase or not! And by the way, your images make me homesick.

    Regards, Mike Briggs

  10. Great compositions! For what kind of photos did you use the M6 – and not one of the digital M cameras? 🙂 Is there a “philosophy” behind that choice?

    • Thanks, there most certainly was at the time I shot them……in truth I can’t recall all the shots though. I know for sure on some occasions I replicated shots taken with the digital cameras for comparison later as this still interests me.

      One of the joys of film is the surprise you get when the negs turn up….:-)

      Cheers, Jason.

  11. I really like the colour drift wood photo. The processing is great highlighting the subject matter.

    • I presume you meant to say that you personally would prefer less post processing, and as it happens so would I. But the compositions are very nice nonetheless, and it is somewhat rude to state your opinions and preferences as if they are fact.

    • I happen to enjoy the processing on most of these photos, and I thank the photographer for sharing them with us!

    • Thanks, apologies…..

      All B&W’s with the exception of the horse shot (M9) are from the MM. Colour images M9 no film developed from the M6 yet.

      Cheers, Jason.

Comments are closed.