Beautiful Hawaii with a Hasselblad CM 501 and a Leica M9 By Valeria Breveglieri

Beautiful Hawaii with a Hasselblad CM 501 and a Leica M9 

By Valeria Breveglieri

Hello Steve!

Our family got the chance to go to Hawaii in December 2015, we accompanied my husband who had to go for work. We visited 3 islands: Oahu, Big Island and Maui. These are some images from Oahu, our first stop. The trip was very long from Europe, but it all does not matter any longer when you step out of the plane and get to see those magical landscapes with a great weather.

I am using to capture these places a Hasselblad CM 501 with a CFV-39 digital back and a 40/60/80/160/250 mm and a Leica M9 with a 28 and a 90 mm. I use the Hasselblad for the beauty of the images and as often as I can, and the Leica M9 to capture low light/street/fast action (as my Hassy shutter speed is topped at 1/500). And yes, I travel with 2 big and heavy backpacks 🙂 I have recently bought a Leica SL, because with 2 children speed and autofocus were something I was heavily missing. I’ll see how this small beauty behaves during our next trip!

It was Christmas time there – and Santa Claus does look Hawaiian there!

A walk up Diamond Head is a must to contemplate the beautiful coastal landscape

It is not for the faint of heart – a lot of steps and a breathtaking view! Oahu is also the place where a lot of movies and series were shot – including some scenes from the Jurassic Park and Lost: you almost feel like dinosaurs would take a walk with you at Manoa falls

Pearl Harbor is another very special place on the island

Oahu is also known for the Dole plantation

A fun place with children and interesting to go back in history and get to know the story of canned pineapple. Last but not least… sports!

Anything actually where you can use waves and wind to have fun.

Lots of things to do in Hawaii… and lots of photo opportunities. If you like this, I have some more for next time – volcanos, whales and dolphins, and more!

Kind regards


  1. Beautiful set of images.
    Amazing when i think about all the equipment carried plus the your kids!
    i have been there and one morning, realized that less is more!
    Am I a photographer or a porter?
    Age was catching up, vacation and kids more important.
    Realized i was not a Nat-Geo shooter. sigh.
    No assistants.. I started (film days) to use my Leica M3, 50mm.
    My wife most happy with Leica” ” Please No, not the Nikons and all the lenses!”.I worked faster and simpler. Actually better images plus the kids. The latter more important as i am now old.
    The Hasselblad system stupendous but size and weight a weighty burden.
    Go with SL, look forward to more pix.

    • Funny that you mention the Nikonos… I used to carry it around as well with the 15 mm and its big speedlight, but yes, that was before children! .
      I have been in love with my Hasselblad since 20 years now, it will be difficult to leave it home, but yes, you have to make choices… and the SL is a very nice camera too. I will submit to Steve a few more reports… I shooted macro photography as well with the Hasselblad and diving pelicans with the M9, stay tuned!

    • yes… holidays is when I have most time to shoot!!! as for the expensive… some put money in the bank, others under the mattress, it’s clear where mine goes. I try to build on the systems I have… I got my Hasselblad as a university degree gift almost 20 years ago now. I bought the digital back in 2009 as it was becoming far too expensive to shoot film… and although the price for the back was quite high I don’t regret it, because I use it and enjoy it a lot. The lenses for Hasselblad are actually quite reasonably prices, at least compared to Leica… and I admit I almost always buy used equipment, that makes for quite some savings on list price. But for the next holiday… I think it needs to be the Leica SL alone, with the new baby it is becoming more difficult to bring heavy gear! For the next posts (if Steve likes it) I will share macro with Hasselblad…

  2. I’m seeing a lot of Hawaii on this site recently. 😉 Maybe when I travel again I’ll put Hawaii at the top of the list.

    Those shots are very crisp, indeed. The wide shot overlooking Diamond Head makes me feel like I’m right there. I get a tranquil vibe and I could stare at it for ages.

    One question: is it really worth carrying a Hasselblad while travelling? 😛

    • yes by all means!! IMHO at least For the next time, I will take a picture of the Hassy, LeicaSL and M9 side by side… that makes the SL look really small (and light!) . I find that the quality of the Hassy digital back (only up for to ISO 200) is remarkable, even after 10 years from its release, like the M9. The images are so beautiful… one day I’ll think about the X1D, as it overcomes many limitations of the 501 CM (and well… it’s 37 years younger), in particular fast shutter speed and very good low ISO. But for now, it is just not fast enough for my needs, my kids get out of the EVF during the blackout between one frame and the other… anyway. As for Hawaii… one of the most beautiful places on earth

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