Back to Hawaii by Valeria Breveglieri

Back to Hawaii

by Valeria Breveglieri 

Hello Steve!

It was about time I sent you the follow-up report for Hawaii! (See the last post HERE) .

This is the second report about the beauty of Hawaii captured with manual cameras only – Hasselblad CM501 and Leica M9. I was asked in the first post why I bother carrying with me so much weight when I travel to distant places… well the thing is that I completely agree with Steve here, you have to be inspired by the equipment you use. In my case, I am definitely very picky in terms of IQ; the image needs to be sharp, really sharp, to make the difference for me. I need to be able to see that clear distinction between the in focus and out of focus areas, no blurriness, I need to see the “look” that I like. That’s what I have found with the Hasselblad and the Leica M9…. and now with the Leica SL.

Mind you, if I could go down to one camera I would… but the Leica M9 is there for me where the Hasselblad cannot reach – street photography and action shots (being limited at 1/500th of a sec with the Hasselblad does not help much freeze motion! ). Maybe next time with the Leica SL?

So back to Hawaii. It is a dream to shoot – the landscapes are so varied, nature is so beautiful wherever you go – and the weather can change so quickly that the same landscape will give you many opportunities for different looks. We have visited Big Island and Maui. Big Island is where Volcano NP is, you can get to see an active volcano. When we went, the show was not huge (no lava flowing into the sea etc) but still the Kilauea was lighting the night beautifully. Yes, the night, you don’t get to see much during the day aside from smoke… So here it is where your family starts to be slightly unhappy because you tell them to wake up at 5 a.m. to go and shoot the volcano before and with the sunrise (did I mention it was Christmas morning?).

Big Island also hosts one of the biggest (if not the biggest?) telescope field in the world, on the Mauna Kea, which is 4200 m above the sea. As you rise there, you pass the clouds as if you were on a plane and get to see a magnificent, moon-like landscape (we were told that astronauts do train there). Mind you, the weather there changes extremely quickly and wind is strong and chilly. I was able to shoot pictures of the telescopes in perfect sunlight and in a heavy snowstorm within 5 min…

So now off to Maui. We were lucky enough there to spot many whales, one of which even came to say to hello close to the boat :-). So here you go, dolphins, whales, on a volcanic rainbow-glowing landscape. Who could ask for more? Well, if you go in the direction of Hana from Lahaina you will find a few interesting spots. One of best (as they say) location for surfing for example, with impressive waves crashing on the beach and on the rocks. See if you can spot in one of the pictures the surfer on the wave and the observer sitting on a bench surrounded by crosses… it is impressive and risky what they do. Also the road to Hana is well known for its natural beauty… very much worth defying the turns there.

Let me say that the color that you see in the pictures are straight out of camera – I am not a Photoshop fan, except to remove the corrosion spots that were in my M9 sensor at the time. I do process some images in Lightroom adjusting exposure and cropping as needed, that’s pretty much it (I can tell you I am not the best keeping the horizon straight on a boat!).

So I hope I gave you a good idea of what is like shooting in Hawaii….

See you at the next report!



  1. Photography is about light, composition and aesthetics. The latest, greatest, most expensive cameras are irrelevant without these components.
    For snapshots of travel memories I would go with a small, light camera with accurate automatic focusing.

    • If this is what inspires you, by all means go for it! I don’t like autofocus for landscapes, I always use hyperfocal distance, so actually autofocus slows me down. And I like to have some of the images printed and enlarged, so this is the quality I want, again but this is valid for me, luckily we are all different!

  2. I think these are wonderful travel photos. Forgive the term. I use it with the highest praise for your captures. You provide me a clear sense of place in your images, which must be in a good environmental photo. Well done.

    • Thank you! Yes these are travel photos… landscape photos which are travel photos almost by definition.

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