Frank Petronio photographer

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….

Fall Film

A few Falls ago I had sold all of my photography gear and bought a Nikon F100 film camera and 50/1.8 lens, along with a couple bricks of Kodak Portra 400 35mm color negative and two Konica-Minolta Dual-Scan IV 35mm scanners*. I shot the forty rolls of film throughout the Fall and made some of my favorite photos with no complaints… eventually an obligation forced me to buy a stupid digital camera and then I got back into 4x5. But it was a refreshing period. 

* These are my favorite 35mm scanners because they capture a wide dynamic range but impart a grittiness to the files that I never achieved with similar Nikon Coolscans. However they are cheaply built and often fail so whenever I would find a cheap (but working) one on eBay ($150 is a good price) I’d snatch it up. But I’ve grown to hate film scanners, I’d like to toss my Epson V700 in the trash, I wouldn’t bother with an Imacon, Creo, or Aztec even if they were free. I greatly prefer my 35mm lab to simply scan frames on their Noritsu and accept whatever funky jpg results… to Hell with it! If I want perfection I’ll use my digital camera. 

If you do contract the 8x10 film disease and are curious about the absolute highest end of film and scanning capabilities do a search for Massimo Vitali and CastorScan. Lenny Eiger also used to do nice scanning but I see his website is offline so IDK his status? Personally I found that carefully done Epson scans were sufficient for moderate reproduction and never wanted to invest more. My take on scanning is that most people are too timid with adjustments and don’t understand that we need white and black points with the curve in-between being the artistic interpretation. Some prior darkroom experience helps one appreciate the power of digital imaging…. 

As I’ve stated elsewhere, I no longer print unless it’s for sale. A quality high-resolution monitor is the ultimate photographic viewing platform. And I rather look at a modern website with large jpgs than a book. I think students should print and I admit to being lazy and cheap, but I rather be making new pictures as I get older, let the kids waste their time. 

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