The Producers

The Producers

Feature Image

I’ve discovered a place, the most extraordinary and wonderful place, where people of all ages and backgrounds come together and create what I can only describe as magic!! Yes, I’m in New Zealand, but I’m not talking about some Tolkienesque fantasy world inhabited by wizards and orc’s, I’m talking about the world of Musical Theatre. 

On Tauranga’s 17th Ave there stands the most unassuming of buildings, this is home to the Tauranga Musical Theatre and from what I have witnessed over the previous months, a second home to the cast and crew. Behind the doors to this building alchemy is being practiced, hours of tireless effort is mixed with amazing talent and dedication, the end result being the magic I refer to!  

I need to make a confession at this point and for that matter an apology!! Over the past 3 years I have, from time to time moaned a little about what I perceived to be a “lack of culture” in Tauranga and New Zealand in general, I was very wrong…….It was here all along, I just needed to open my eyes and to some degree my mind in order to find it! 

Several months ago I was given an opportunity by the Tauranga Musical Theatre to get involved in their production of the hilariously funny musical The Producers” When I say involved I should probably make it clear that I was neither singing or dancing…….I don’t even have two left feet when it comes to dancing and as good as my singing is I reserve it for the shower!!  No, my involvement would be strictly photographic, I would record the entire production from rehearsals through to the live shows at the Baycourt Theatre in Tauranga.

It’s been really difficult to choose photographs for this post, ultimately I have chosen images that strike a chord with me for one reason or another,  just my favorite ones……..there may be better images among those I’ve taken but best and favorite are not necessarily the same thing! 

For this post I’ve decided to leave out the more technical information in relation to camera gear and settings, needless to say high ISO, wide Aperture and slow Shutter Speeds………….quite a challenge. Don’t worry cast, there are a lot more photographs!!! 

The Rehearsals - These images are a few months old now, it’s funny looking back at photographs of people that were strangers to me at the time but whose faces are now very familiar. 

Leica M9 – 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Rehearsal 1Rehearsal 1

Leica M9 – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.1

Rehearsal 2Rehearsal 2

Leica M9 – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.1 

Rehearsal 3Rehearsal 3

Leica M9 – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.1 

Rehearsal 4Rehearsal 4

Leica M9 – 50mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Rehearsal 22Rehearsal 22

Leica M9 – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.1 

Rehearsal 16Rehearsal 16

Leica M9 – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.1 

Rehearsal 15Rehearsal 15

Leica M9 – 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Rehearsal 14Rehearsal 14

Leica M9 – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.1 

Rehearsal 13Rehearsal 13

Leica M9 – 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Rehearsal 12Rehearsal 12

Leica M9 – 50mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Rehearsal 7Rehearsal 7

Leica M9 – 50mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Rehearsal 8Rehearsal 8

Showtime has been selected by the Editors as a Leica Fotografie International (LFI) Master Shot.

Leica M9 – 50mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Rehearsal 21Rehearsal 21

Leica M9 – 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Rehearsal 19Rehearsal 19

Leica M9 – 50mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Rehearsal 20Rehearsal 20

Leica M9 – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.1 

Rehearsal 17Rehearsal 17

Leica M9 – 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE  

Rehearsal 18Rehearsal 18

The Program - This was a significant moment for me in several ways, whilst the opportunity to do the photography for the program had been mentioned at the outset I privately felt I would decline the offer. I hadn’t really done anything like this before and I hate the thought of getting something wrong or letting people down…… the end, well it just kind of happened by default. I’m really pleased it did, I got a chance to do something completely new and whilst I would do a couple of things differently should the opportunity arise again I learnt a great deal. More than anything else though, it made me feel connected to the production and in a small way I felt like I was a part of this wonderful team of people.

Leica M9 – 50mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Program 1Program 1

Leica M9 – 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Program 2Program 2

Leica M9 – 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Program 3Program 3

Leica M9 – 50mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Program 4Program 4

Leica M9 – 50mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Program 8Program 8

Leica M9 – 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Program 6Program 6

There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward – Kahlil Gibran

Showtime - The rehearsals are over, the hard yards have been done and the reward is seven evening shows and three matinees. The benefit of hours spent in rehearsal are obvious to the eye, it’s refreshing to see people so invested in something they clearly love.

Leica M9 – 50mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Showtime 18Showtime 18

Leica M9 – 50mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Showtime 1Showtime 1

Leica M9 – 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Showtime 2Showtime 2

Leica M9 – 50mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Showtime 3Showtime 3

Leica M9 – 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Showtime 4Showtime 4

Leica M9 – 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Showtime 5Showtime 5

Leica M9 – 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Showtime 6Showtime 6

Leica M9 – 50mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Showtime 7Showtime 7

Leica M9 – 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Showtime 16Showtime 16

Leica M9 – 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Showtime 8Showtime 8

Leica M9 – 50mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Showtime 9Showtime 9

Leica M9 – 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Showtime 10Showtime 10

Leica M9 – 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Showtime 11Showtime 11

Leica M9 – 50mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Showtime 12Showtime 12

Leica M9 – 35mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Showtime 13Showtime 13

Leica M9 – 50mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Showtime 15Showtime 15

Leica M9 – 50mm Summilux f/1.4 Asph FLE 

Showtime 14Showtime 14

The Final Curtain - I’ve witnessed nerves and excitement in equal measure, I’ve seen first hand the professionalism and pride that goes in to the production of a show, make no mistake this is amateur theatre in name only. I’m by no means a “theatre buff”, however I have seen show’s in the West End and on Broadway, as you’d expect these were spectacular productions, but in many ways, what I’ve witnessed here has been more impressive and the memory will stay with me for longer. A good measure of enjoyment is how quickly time passes when your doing something, this time has passed in the blink of an eye, I’m going to miss everything about the theatre……

Your too numerous to mention by name but I’d like to thank everyone involved with the Tauranga Musical Theatre, It’s been such a pleasure.



  1. Adam MalcolmAdam Malcolm09-26-2012

    These are really, really stunning…

    I once did a bit of theatre, about 5 years ago. Just the dress rehearsal. It was amazing and so varied… but I didn’t go back stage like you did.

    You are not helping my Leica lust… ;)

    • janrzmjanrzm09-26-2012

      Hi Adam, thanks I appreciate that. It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable experience. A used M9 will be within reach soon maybe? Cheers, Jason.

  2. Bruce EsplinBruce Esplin09-26-2012

    Jason – great work – you get a real feel for the show and the preparation. I am hoping to take some shots of the Melb Chamber Orchestra at rehearsal and performance time in November – you have set a high benchmark – Bruce

    • janrzmjanrzm09-26-2012

      Thanks Bruce, you’ll have a great time I’m sure. Preparation is everything, that and fast glass! Cheers, Jason.

  3. sallysally09-26-2012

    great photos. what lenses were you using? when is there another production?

    • janrzmjanrzm09-26-2012

      Thanks, 35mm & 50mm Summilux f/1.4 mainly, also the VC Nokton f/1.1. The show is running nightly until Saturday, it’s such a great show which I really recommend. They really deserve as much local support as we can drum up!! Cheers, Jason.

  4. Kaushal ParikhKaushal Parikh09-26-2012

    What a fantastic series Jason. Must have been a really fun assignment and you have done it full justice covering so many different aspects of the entire production. The cast and crew will certainly be elated!

    • janrzmjanrzm09-26-2012

      Thanks Kaushal, its certainly been interesting and fun. Hopefully I’ve captured some of the atmosphere. Cheers, Jason.

  5. Dieter GroblerDieter Grobler09-27-2012

    Stunning set Jason. Most certainly tells a great story.

    • janrzmjanrzm09-27-2012

      Thanks Dieter, I really appreciate your feedback. Cheers, Jason.

  6. John LockwoodJohn Lockwood09-29-2012

    Tremendous tonality, composition and of course bokeh. Would it have been possible with film or were you at very high ISO? Can you share what conversion software you used?

    • janrzmjanrzm09-29-2012

      Hi John and thank you. Initially I thought I would include more technical details in the post however as I was writing it I decided against this because I did not want it to dilute my thoughts on the theatre experience.

      Anyway, in response to your queries…..I did shoot some rolls of Ilford HP5 plus 400 which I pushed to ISO 800, the results were good but none of the images made my final selection. I also shot a couple of rolls of TMAX 400 which I pushed to ISO 1600, I wasn’t quite happy with my developing on these, also the content wasn’t strong enough. It’s a shame because I would have liked to include a couple of film shots in the post.

      With regards to processing I have tried a few different things on this post, the reason being that I have a Monochrom on order and I want fully explore the B&W possibilities from the M9 as part of me is thinking I should get a M and continue to convert my B&W’s……so, OnOne Perfect Photo-suite 6, Aperture 3 and something I have not tried before which is the B&W .jpgs straight from the M9, to save me some time!!

      Cheers, Jason.

  7. GuyGuy10-02-2012


    I can only imagine your excitement when you first saw the images you had captured. They are just so wonderful. They leave me with a sort of contented glow after browsing through them. I have seen them popping up in my flickr feed, but seeing these all together here is the most rewarding.

    Your composition, viewpoints, closeness and post processing is just superb. In fact I feel a stirring to get my cameras out again .. they’ve just been sitting around for the last few months getting very little attention.


    • janrzmjanrzm10-02-2012

      Hi Guy,

      This was a bit of a strange one because I have been sat on some of these images for several months, not wanting to post anything until I could complete the story. I’m really pleased you viewed the full post and hope you feel compelled to pick up your camera again!!!

      Your comments mean a great deal as I think we have a similar appreciation of imagery.

      All the best, Jason.

      • GuyGuy10-04-2012

        Jason, that’s incredibly generous of you to say. All I can say is that I look at an image and then react to how it makes me feel . The images which make me feel alive — whether happy, full of love, excited, aware, whatever — are my favorite, and you have many of those.

  8. Jason ByrneJason Byrne10-03-2012

    Hi jase

    Awesome set of photos. Really enjoyed going through them. I really liked the colour photos, but think the mono version of the portrait posted on Facebook works better.

    The show must have been very pleased with these photos!



    • janrzmjanrzm10-03-2012

      Thanks Jay, Yes I agree the B&W version of the portrait is better, tI just wanted to post my favorites here, not necessarily the best ones…..:-) I’ve had lots of wonderful feedback from the Theatre and met a lot of great people, I’m going to help them with the photography from now on. Cheers, Jason.

  9. JaneJane10-03-2012

    Great pictures Jason! Theatre is a great subject! I enjoyed viewing them. Just picked up a viewfinder for my X1 so have been reading up about using it, and want to explore using different lenses next… so much fun!

    • janrzmjanrzm10-03-2012

      Thanks Jane, It’s such a magical place. That viewfinder will make a world of difference to your X1 experience, talk of “different lenses” alludes to a new camera, I’m thinking M9!! :-) Cheers, Jason.

  10. MattMatt10-07-2012

    Hi Jason
    Great set of images and love the look you’ve made from it. What range of apertures were you working with?
    We used to go to most of the 17th Ave shows, not been for a while for some inadequate reason. Always studied the show photos on the wall there and thought helping there with the photography would be a good one to do. Especially with the right kit. Delighted to see you’re doing this.

    • janrzmjanrzm10-08-2012

      Hi Matt

      Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment. In the rehearsals where there was minimal light the shots are f/1.1 – f/1.4 although for a short time I had a Hyperprime 50mm f/.95 but it was front focusing so I returned it. For the program and show, between f/1.4 – f/4, the Leica M9 does’t record aperture in the exif data so you either remember or write it down……also I don’t like to take the camera over ISO 640, 800 at an absolute push. I’m not sure if you’ve used a manual rangefinder before but it’s quite a challenge in low light with a moving subject.

      The theatre is a great place, I’ve made lots of friends and as they’ve asked me to continue taking images I’m definitely staying involved. Cheers, Jason.

      • MattMatt10-08-2012

        Hi Jason
        Have never shot with a rangefinder, would love to but the stuff I do demands a different tool kit. And theres a wee thing about the $. And I can only imagine f1.1 let alone f0.95 ! I also realised since my first comment that we have been followers of 16th Ave theatre , the neighbours as such, , so must get to some of these folks shows sometime.

  11. Dear Jason,

    Such an enjoyable collection of images… I viewed these with great joy. I wonder if the cast realizes how fortunate they are to have these moments preserved with such skill and with such clarity?

    Either way, I understand that an M Monochrom is on its way to you? If true, this will greatly aid your ability to shot in such a light-challenged environment – not that you need the extra help, but it doesn’t hurt!



    • janrzmjanrzm10-15-2012

      Hello my friend, your generous thoughts and comments are always welcome here. The cast were very appreciative, I understand all they usually have is a handful of blurred mobile phone images, which to me seemed like such a tragedy given the skill and effort being put in to the production.

      Yes, after much soul searching I have opted for the Monochrom, I think/hope it will suit me and as you say give me more flexibility in similar situations. My decision has been hastened by the camera becoming available a little sooner than I initially thought. Hopefully it will complement my M9 and film M’s, just another creative option.

      Thanks again and best wishes. Jason.

  12. Josh PereraJosh Perera10-30-2012

    I have found all of these images spectacular. Great work Jason.
    I had too laugh. I too had said the same of Perth as to it’s lack of culture and well interesting things to do. However, since really looking and challenging my self to find new subjects to shoot, I too have found there is more on offer, you just have to look a little under the surface.
    Still this series has both great artistic-ness and Wow factor at the same time. Love it. :)

    • janrzmjanrzm11-01-2012

      Thanks Josh, thats really kind. Yes, a valuable lesson learnt there, certainly never judge a book by its cover as they say! I’m pleased you enjoyed these, Cheers Jason.

  13. DougDoug12-01-2012

    Came here via Steve Huffs site. I am more and more loving black and white. Might try and shoot with my X100 or 5D in BW mode for a while. Could be interesting to ignore the blue sky and colours of sunny Nelson but it is always good to get a fresh perspective. Maybe I should get down to the local theater too. Great material. Thanks for your posts. Cheers Doug.

    • janrzmjanrzm12-01-2012

      Hey Doug

      I love B&W, you may have guessed….for me, with the colour removed you can really see the true image. Crack the X100 out, I got some lovely B&W’s out of that camera. Also, I’d recommend making contact with your local theatre company, if they haven’t already got someone I am sure they would appreciate that.

      Cheers, Jason.

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