Frank Petronio photographer


My wife and daughter are really into Harry Potter so last week we were going around Universal Studios/Orlando where we did a little side jaunt through the Dr. Suess section (my favorite). Couldn’t help but think that these blossoms were rather Suessian themselves. 

These were made with the Zeiss 50/1.4 Milvus lens on the Nikon D810. I really like this combination, I find it easier to focus the longer manual focus lenses (it’s hard to tell when a 21mm is in focus by simply looking through the finder). For super critical work I will switch to Live View and tripod mount but for most things I can follow along with traditional focusing. 


Five frame panorama from Nikon D810 with Zeiss 50/1.4 Milvus lens. It’s hard to display really wide pans (this is 6:1) but if you go full screen on a large monitor (like an iMac 5K) it looks fantastic. 

Sigma 135/1.8 ART Lens Samples

So I took this lens to Universal Orlando and these are simple grab shots. It is very sharp, has pleasing bokeh, excellent build quality – and this is key – fast, accurate auto-focus thanks to a more powerful ring motor. It burns my ass that a $1600 pro Nikon f/1.4G lenses have pokey mediocre auto-focusing. I tried the Zeiss 135/2 ZF2 shortly beforehand, that is also a superior lens but it is manual focus only.

Still I’m not in love with the 135mm focal length so I’m selling it along with the Sigma USB dock (which is very useful! I wish other companies had similar products). 

Harry Potter and amusement parks… meh, my familial duty and it put joy in the hearts of the women but I feel for the working class stiffs obligated to take their kids to these overpriced amusement parks in the same way they save up for outrageous college tuitions. Both are huge rip-offs. 

Perfect Last Day of Skiing

Greer Hill, cut in 1939

Had my best day of skiing in years yesterday. 40-50 mph on firm snow means 6-7 giant slalom turns over a 500’ vertical drop, 30-second runs. I come into it with tight decisive arcs, fall over the headwall and crank three hard fast ones at maximum angulation, then open up to cruise the flatter half one turn per lift tower. You have to remind yourself to breath and unclench your toes to press as hard as you can into the turns. Hard snow, almost ice, lets you feel the edges float then the tips drawing you into the new turn. Pressure builds and you feel the turn build until it pops and kicks you into the next flow. 

This is why I can not ever own a motorcycle, I love the hard turns so much. 

Friends know that I’ve been battling swelling and pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis so much that I’ve been barely able to ski more than a handful of runs at a time (some days I’ve only done one and done). But by doing yoga and changing meds I’ve gradually improved. Luckily I hit Holimont on a perfect bluebird day, just below freezing. Their grooming was top notch and I am not shy about admitting I like making GS turns on fast, smooth cruisers. Now the weather calls for a week of warmer, rainy days and my knees don’t abide by slush, so I’ve stoned and waxed my skis and washed and treated my ski clothes to be ready for better season next year. Kudos to Holimont for their superb operation, it’s really the best skiing in New York.

Me on Greer Hill

The far image was with the 300mm, the photo of me is from my old iPhone 5s. 

As for skiing, I didn’t start until I was 15 but I loved it. When I was 19 years old I was ranked 176th in GS points. I qualified for one Summer-time pro-race at Mt. Hood when I think I was on ABC’s Wide World Sports opening clip (but nobody had VCRs then so we’ll never know for sure). I fore-ran some FIS downhills that were awesome and scary. I did better as the youngest fully EPSIA certified ski instructor and Level II racing coach. I worked at Alta, Utah; Mt. Hood, Oregon; and Sugarloaf, Maine. And at the University of Oregon I coached their NCAA team in exchange for a partial scholarship. A climbing injury curtailed my ski career, got married, etc. but I still am a diehard even if it is only for a few good days per year. 

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