Frank Petronio photographer


I mainly show the PG version but the Mono is not forgotten. Handheld 4x5 film in a cheap Crown Graphic with the brilliant Aimee, who survived her stint with Suicide Girls and is now a Mom, writer, teacher, and editor. Things do work out more often than not. 


Holimont, Ellicotville, NY

I’m guessing this is from Spring 1986, three years after my climbing accident and when I still skied the super small Lange shells. I used those race stock Rossignols for many years (they were 213cm with the old Rossi Roc 550 construction… basically slabs of Aluminum wrapped in Fiberglass), still had the 70s Vaurnets. I know I felt slow and pudgy at the time but Lordy, considering the subsequent abuses this was peak Frank. 

It’s hard to describe just how much I identified with being a skier, and a ski racer at that. I did coach the University team in Oregon; qualified for pro race against some World Cup guys, and for one brief weekend I was 176th in the world for Giant Slalom if I read the points right. But I had a late start (age 15), physical deformities (really messed up feet), and when I took a 60-footer climbing fall in 1982 that pretty much put the kibosh on my ski industry career (why be underpaid if you can’t enjoy skiing everyday?) 

Still, this was probably one of the hero days I so fondly remember. I still ski those same trails and when the snow and sun cooperate I can create those same G-forces and arcs, it really is like flying. I have skiing dreams and I often fall asleep thinking about skiing, it’s burrowed deep inside. Which is why we put up with all the ridiculous things we do in order to do it. 

NYC Dawn

Manhattan is at the upper left horizon.

Yesterday we flew into Newark before dawn, on our way to Florida to celebrate my Father’s 80th birthday. The United Airlines commuter flight had tiny seats and filthy, scratched up windows, this is the only aerial shot, I could barely twist to point my camera out of the window. Flying East-West usually gives me better results as we pass through weather systems with farm fields and elevation changes showing more geometry and contrast. But it’s always a crap shoot, you never know what you’ll get. I used to try to figure out which seat of the airplane to sit for best light and clarity but I’ve found that sometimes the flare and even engine turbulence are enhancements… I’ll never get precise, perfect aerials shooting through thick airliner windows so I’ve learned to utilize imperfections that would otherwise frustrate me. 

More Fall

I have a couple of expensive lenses coming that I want to compare to my more modest ones (Nikon 28/1.4e versus 35/1.8G; 105/1.4e versus 135/2.8AIS). While I am sure the newer “e” lenses are superior I want to see by how much? Especially in practical use. 

A factor that makes or breaks a lens for me is how it handles horizons, specifically the tree line where small branches and leaves create a high contrast edge that can be problematic. Some lenses handle this better.

And here’s the Mavic shot, I rushed home and launched it to quickly grab the shot from 150 feet. 

Next day as well….

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