Frank Petronio photographer

Atlas Titan 1911

I’ve been lucky to be shooting this custom Titan 9mm 1911 pistol from Atlas Gunworks, it’s really nice!

Yet I’m a little on the fence about it… I wanted to try it for sure but I’m not sure how much I’ll shoot it? And I’ve already spent a lot on the precision rifle kit and photo gadgets so I’m feeling conservative. 

Almost Lost My Drone

Lake Ontario, Hamlin Beach State Park

Once my Mavic drone flew above the tree tops the increased wind threatened to take it downrange and out of reach. Considering my behobbled state I’d have a hard time trudging through muddy farm fields even if I were able to locate it (electronically using “Find My Drone”) before the battery expired. Luckily I was able to lower its altitude and fly home through the trees.

Movie Critic

During my recuperation I’ve watched 5-10 minutes of a hundred movies on Netflix, Cable, Hulu, Amazon, etc. and most all have sucked. The movies that I’ve truly enjoyed over the past two months have been Mel Gibson’s masterful Apocalypto, Michael Ritchie’s Downhill Racer and Sydney Pollack’s Jeremiah Johnson (Robert Redford x2), and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part II (but not 1 or III). I’ve also liked Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca and Antoine Fuqua/David Ayer’s Training Day (Ethan Hawke x2). Peter Weir’s Master and Commander (Russell Crowe) and Danny Boyle’s T2 Trainspotting were entertaining; Eli Roth does dark comedy and horror best of anyone, i.e. Knock Knock with my favorite Keanu Reeves (I also enjoyed him in Chad Stahelski’s John Wick movies, finally semi-realistic gun play.) The John Ford classic The Searchers (John Wayne) and David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia proved far too slow.

When the highlight of the movie is the rape scene you know it sucks.

I’ve forgotten a few good movies but like what I had for breakfast last week I can’t remember them… pfft. The women volk watched some decent chick flicks… like Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird with Saoirse Ronan (who is good in everything). Later I showed my daughter The Host (also by Andrew Niccol) which was better than average teen sci-fi due to Ronan’s performance. And Greta Gerwig is probably the best new and upcoming director, even though it pains me to acknowledge any hipster from Brooklyn. 

Speaking of hipsters, it’s enlightening to observe their paranoia and fantasy in Bushwick, a failed Netflix video attempt about a mysterious right wing attack on diversity-enhanced Brooklyn. Lousy movie but interesting for its cringe-worthy propaganda value.

My flavor of propaganda was better served by Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049. Watching Ryan Gosling, Mackenzie Davis, and Robin Wright was compelling, the futurism was novel, technically the movie was very well done, but it still wasn’t as good as the original. Far more disappointing was Dunkirk as Christopher Nolan has always been reliably based and supremely competent. Yes the British rescuers were brave but only because Hitler spared them in hopes of negotiating a peace, somehow this was left out of the story. Worse, Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour, in spite of Gary Oldman’s excellent performance, was inaccurate corny dreck. 

Funny, I usually hate Sylvester Stallone but James Mangold’s Cop Land was excellent and Rocky outclassed the flaccid De Niro and average Keitel. That led me to watch Ryan Coogler’s Creed. Then I found myself watching The Boondocks and Jordan Peele’s Get Out (the first half of which was great, then it got stupid). Apparently the movie industry must decide whether to make a movie marketable to either Blacks or the Chinese market (i.e. The Great Wall disaster…), if they ever figure out how to combine the two it’ll be quite the payday. 

While I love episodic series I haven’t found any to latch onto amongst the new Netflix or Amazon offerings. Usually the first episodes are so damn boring I lose interest versus say, The Walking Dead which opened with a bang. I suspect these series are so inexpensive/fast to write and film that they forget to build a hook into the beginning? The upcoming AMC show The Terror looks promising.

Tastes change, I used to eagerly await every Quentin Tarantino film but after deciding I didn’t like him as person I reevaluated his films and now I think they’re pretentious and way-too-long…. Granted it’s hard to separate your feelings once you decide certain people are assholes but I’ll still watch MiraMax films and enjoy Kevin Spacey’s performances. I detest Meryl Streep as a person but she’s a fine actress… I watched Woody Allen’s Manhattan and while I love the filming, especially the B&W cityscapes with the George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue accompaniment… I couldn’t help thinking that if you don’t realize the guy has sex issues and wrote the story so he could make out with a 17-year old then you’re either dense or complicit. 

Still most “good” movies with popular stars are dreck once you actually try to watch them… they’re only good for multi-tasking, when you give them a fraction of your attention and glance up from time to time. 

I’m also sick of being preached to. I’m open to watching movies from all sorts of people but it shouldn’t feel like Sunday morning or Soviet Roosevelt reeducation….

Not to rant anymore than usual ;-p but if the services simply had a better user interface I might be able to find some decent movies… filters, listing the principals, genre, date.

Howa Bravo

Howa Bravo 1500 in KRG chassis with Vortex Razor II

My lone accomplishment during this recuperation has been to educate myself on long range shooting and to assemble a proper 6.5 Creedmoor rifle. Admittedly I went a bit overboard as I tend to do, one thing led to another and I spent several times my initial budget (not unlike a military contractor!) Yesterday I hobbled out to the range, wearing my open toe walking boot in the snow, not yet able to walk out far enough to hang a target… but I managed to fire ten rounds into the berm and everything worked properly. Came home to ice my ankle and order yet more gear (a Kestrel weather meter with a ballistic calculator and a Leica rangefinder). 

I’m signed up for a two-day precision rifle course at the end of April and I may have found a local farmer who will allow me to set up steel targets at ~400 yards for practice. There are a series of precision rifle matches in the Southern Tier over the Summer, as well as matches in neighboring Ohio and Pennsylvania. I also bought a large Pelican case and will set things up so I can fly with this kit, for instances when I visit my son out West we can shoot at Colorado Springs or out in the boonies. Unlike my semi-automatics these bolt action rifles should remain free from most gun control hysterics for the foreseeable future. 

The one thing I managed to avoid is reloading, luckily with 6.5 CM there are good match grade ammo options from Horandy and others. It still works out to over $1 per round (even with reloading if you use new match grade components). Broke my ass to save my Brass…. 


Not that I have a lot of readers but you may have noticed that I archived my political writing (and rants). I figure that it’s nearly impossible to influence people and change their quasi-religious belief systems. And there are many far better writers with alternative, unorthodox viewpoints should anyone be curious. Rather the value of my writing is personal development, stating my opinions forces me to define exact positions which clarifies my thinking. Having done this, I’ve developed a solid platform and world view that answers my questions. If I had to debate, I may still stammer and be slow witted… but I am equipped to counter arguments with reasoned responses. Given that my influence on others is negligible, there’s no point in alienating people and exposing my family to potentially negative consequences. The future is uncertain and the chance of having an authoritarian state (or “private” internet service) clamp down on free speech and punish dissent is credible.

Writing well is hard as this modest blog continues to remind me. I’m more adept with images and believe I can have a greater effect on the world using photography. For years I’ve had notions of writing screenplays and novels but it hasn’t happened, whereas I’ll make pictures instinctively and without hesitation. 

Two months ago when I got injured I figured I’d use the time to learn how to edit video and write a political manifesto. Instead I built a gun and took pictures of it. The play between idealistic fantasy (I’m going to make sophisticated art) versus pragmatic reality (I’m going to go shoot my guns!) is a persistent struggle… and reality always wins. 

A Face in the Crowd

Wow… I finally saw Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd and am blown away… first with the younger faces of well-known actors: Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal, and Walter Matthau. Then with the story as well as set design and photography. What a fascinating and relevant film. Now to watch more of Kazan’s movies…. 

I’ve only know of Andy Griffith from sleepy television shows but he was electrifying. It’s a shame his career went the way it did, he probably would have been one our greatest actors. Likewise I only knew of Patricia Neal from her matronly roles but in her youth she was very appealing ~ smart and beautiful. Walter Matthau was true to form at the relatively young age of 37 as he was in his later, more prominent roles. Also Lee Remick made her memorable baton twirling debut, talk about perfect casting. 

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