The New Petzval Art Lens is the perfect portrait lens. But have you ever wondered how it performs in difficult situations with low light and unpredictable movements, such as a concert? Viennese rockstar photographer Matthias Hombauer proves that such a challenge can be surpassed with exceptional results. In Linz, Austria he met the American rock band Portugal. The Man and shot excellent black and white photos! Check out the gallery below and let Matthias teach you how to work with the lens during concerts.
Name: Matthias Hombauer
Profession: Rockstar photographer
City: Vienna, Austria
Hi Matthias! Tell us something about yourself that not everyone knows.
I think only a few know that I have a doctor’s degree in molecular biology and that I started photography when I was only 28 years old.
With your book “Guide to Rockstar Concert Photography” you teach people how to become a Rockstar photographer. What’s the secret about being a Rockstar photographer?
In my opinion the secret is the passion you have for a project. If you make the decision to start your work with full energy and you are 100% convinced, half the battle is won already. That was one of the reasons why I started writing “Guide To Rockstar Concert Photography”. I want to help people who are passionate about music and photography to move on with their hobby. I, myself, started from the scratch and I know very well how hard it is to become established in the music biz. Besides that passion you have to be prepared to work hard, always keep your aim in mind and sometimes you just need a little luck. But if you start working without any passion you won’t make it far as a rockstar photographer.
Which bands were you able to shoot throughout your career as a photographer? Which ones did you like the most?
I think I shot almost all bands on stage that are important to me. Among others are Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, The Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, Leonard Cohen and so on. Bands I remember in particular are the ones I worked with directly like Iggy Pop, The Prodigy, Fatboy Silm or The Darkness. It’s an honor to photograph artists that influenced my life with their music and it’s something very special to meet Liam Howlett, Keith Flint and Maxim (The Prodigy) in the backstage area and have a little chat.
In Linz, Austria you were able to shoot the Portugal. The Man concert with the New Lomography Petzval Art Lens. How was your experience shooting with it?
Yes, that’s right. I took the opportunity to test the Petzval lens on my Nikon D800 camera. The lens does not only a very special look, the handling is quite unique too. You set the aperture manually with special aperture plates that you stick into the lens and with a knob at the bottom of the lens you set the focus. The lens itself seems very well-manufactured and draws attention with its brass finish. I’m used to working with analogue lenses and therefore working with the Petzval lens was very intuitive. In an instant I grew familiar with it and it had fun working with the lens.
What do you like the most about the Petzval lens?
I like how pleasant and precisely you can set the manual focus with the knob. At the Portugal. The Man concert, where you have almost no light on stage it was very tricky to shoot with manual setting. When you’re using the Petzval Lens with a Nikon camera, you can use the internal focus control in your viewfinder to get a better overview over the best focused shots. For the concert I worked with an f-stop of 2.8 and really liked the results. In my opinion the photos have a special look but check them out and judge yourself.
Did the band say something about the lens?
Yes and they were thrilled. I did many portrait and concert shoots for Portugal. The Man and among others, a four-page story with my photos got released in VISIONS magazine. We have become good friends in the meantime and therefore I met them backstage in Linz. Zachary (bass player) is an enthusiastic lomographer too and he showed me his LC-A immediately. But he hasn’t seen something like the Petzval lens before and he was super excited about it. Both the band and the audience at the Posthof in Linz looked at the golden piece respectfully.
Do you have any tips for Petzval newbies? What do you need to keep in mind if you want to take pictures with it at concerts?
For photographers who haven’t been working with manual lenses it’s definitely a change. You need to put the camera in a manual mode because no aperture settings will be transferred and therefore the camera cannot determine appropriate exposure times or ISO settings. But it’s a good opportunity to learn more about your camera. For all who have been working with manual lenses before it’s a real pleasure to work with the Petzval lens. At concerts the focusing is the biggest challenge you have to obtain. But as soon as you find out how to work with the focus knob your amount of pictures that are in focus will increase drastically. It’s better to shoot many pictures in the beginning, you can delete them afterwards anyway.
In what situation would you like to use the Petzval lens again? Or is there any musician you are planning a portrait shoot with anytime soon?
I would love to use the Petzval Lens for more portraits. Actually I wanted to do a portrait shoot with Portugal. The Man but they just arrived shortly before the concert in Linz after an eight-hour car ride and they were obviously stressed.
Portraits of Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails would be really interesting because it’s a band that influenced me a lot in my life.
What’s next? Any upcoming projects?
I’m going to fly to Canada in July to accompany Shantel during his tour in Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec as photographer. Besides that I might start an analogue project with Portugal. The Man and support them on their US tour.
Wow, that sounds exciting! Thanks for the interview, Matthias.
The Lomography x Zenit Petzval Art Lens is a reinvention of the iconic Petzval Lens that blew the lid of photography many years ago. It comes in its signature brass and black finish. Use it on Canon and Nikon mounts and enjoy its effects whenever and wherever. Grab a Petzval Lens at the Online Shop now!