As more of our New Petzval Lenses find their way to their lucky owners, more amazing first snaps start surfacing for us to ogle and marvel at! Today, we're thrilled to share with our readers and fellow community members some Petzval fashion portraits coming all the way from Hawaii, taken by fashion and editorial photographer Dallas Nagata White!
Last week, we stumbled upon the blog post of Ed White telling about his wife Dallas Nagata White playing with her new toy: the New Petzval Art Lens! The highlight of the post certainly is the beautifully swirly portrait above that Ed took of his lovely wife. With such a stunning portrait making rounds in the Internet, we simply couldn’t resist getting in touch with Ed and Dallas to ask them about their New Petzval experience!
Ed decided to let his wife, a commercial, fashion, and editorial photographer who hails from Hawaii, take center stage and show us some of the impressive fashion portraits she has taken so far with her New Petzval Lens. For those who have been musing about how this quirky lens will perform in fashion projects, let the snaps and insights of Dallas be your guide!
Please introduce yourselves to the Lomography community, and tell us about what you do.
Hi! I’m Dallas Nagata White, a commercial, fashion, and editorial photographer in Honolulu, Hawaii. While those pay the bills, my husband Ed and I are passionate about all kinds of photography, so we love adventuring and experimenting with new ideas in our spare time. We especially love getting to show the sides of Hawaii people don’t usually get to see through our photos.
What were your first thoughts about the New Petzval Art Lens? What made you guys finally decide to get one?
Ed is a Kickstarter fan, so he’s always on the lookout for interesting projects. One day he came across the Petzval campaign, so he brought me over and we watched the pitch video together. We recognized the iconic bokeh pattern right away and just knew we needed this in our toolkit.
Our first impression was really positive. We took portraits of each other to test-drive the lens and were surprised at how much more pronounced the effect was compared to how we thought it would be—it almost looked like the background was spinning! Using VSCO’s Lightroom plugins to get an authentic-looking classic film effect added an extra something to our final images that made us really fall in love with the lens.
How did you find your first shooting experience with the New Petzval Art Lens?
The Petzval is really fun to shoot with. Besides the striking bokeh, we were especially impressed with the contrast and saturation of the lens. The center isn’t perfectly sharp when in focus unless you’re close to your subject, but it’d probably feel less authentic if it were. It’s sharp enough that I’d feel comfortable using it for client work, though, if they were going for that look and feel.
Tell us about your favorite New Petzval Art Lens + camera setup. Do you use it for both work and personal projects?
Right now I’m using the Petzval with my 5DmkII. It’s so new, I haven’t had a chance to use it with my film body, but I’m open to doing that, if only to be surprised by what comes out later. I think I’d still use it mostly with with my DSLRs, since my manual focus skills aren’t the greatest and I can use live preview to get the fine focus just right. I haven’t used it for work yet, but I would with the right client!
What kind of photo opportunities or subjects are you thinking or dreaming of shooting using the New Petzval Art Lens?
I think the shoot I just did (and which you’re seeing now!) with my friend, Allison Chu, is pretty high up there: Vintage dresses in high-character places! But, since I already did that, I’d say the next step is to see whether I can do a Petzval shoot for a brand like Free People or a publication like Nylon Magazine.
Can you share with us and tell us about some of your favorites among the snaps you’ve taken using the New Petzval Art Lens?
I haven’t gotten to use it for too many shoots yet, but I definitely loved my latest fashion shoot using the lens, especially the more portrait-like shots that are taken with foliage backgrounds.
Have you ever considered shooting with the New Petzval Art Lens using film cameras?
Definitely! I love the feeling of surprise that comes with getting a roll of film back, especially when using some of the funkier, more unpredictable stuff that Lomography carries! I’ll probably be breaking out my 35mm Canon Rebel and taking some film Petzval shots before too long.
What do you think is/are the most challenging aspect/s of shooting with the New Petzval Art Lens? What about the most rewarding?
I’d say the most challenging aspect of shooting with the Petzval is the lack of autofocus, and having to rely on live-view to get the sharpest shot possible, as I don’t trust my eyes yet. A lot of my work incorporates movement, and catching beautiful moments as I have the models I work with move around. Shooting with the Petzval requires me and the models to slow down if I want to get a really sharp shot. But it’s rewarding to work around that limitation and learn how to use this tool to fulfill my creative vision, instead of letting it define me and how I shoot.
The most rewarding part of shooting with the Petzval, though, is just the excitement of exploring new creative territory with a new “friend.”
Lastly, any tips for our readers who are thinking of getting or have already received their New Petzval Art Lenses?
It’s a lot easier to get your subjects in focus by using live view. The “swirl” is a lot stronger when you’re in front of a busy background, and even stronger when you have your subject step away from the busy background just a bit. Be careful with your compositions: I usually shoot very weighted, but I quickly learned the edges of the lens are almost as swirly as the background, so watch out for that! Don’t put your Christmas lights away just yet, the star bokeh is a lot more fun if you bring them along! If you have Lightroom and VSCO, use the Film 02 pack, turn up the saturation a bit, and watch magic happen. If you have this lens and aren’t out shooting all the time yet…what are you waiting for?
Big thank you to Ed and Dallas for squeezing in an interview with us and sharing their favorite Petzval snaps so far! We have more exciting stuff coming up from them in the coming days, so stay tuned!