Frank Petronio photographer

Strobe Kit

This was my last strobe lighting kit, lovingly assembled over several months at a more than modest expense. It consists of two Dynalite M-500xl power packs, three regular heads, one bare tube head, Minolta Flashmeter IV (last model), two PocketWizard set-ups, spare parts, barn doors, flags, Lowel gaffer tools, multiple speed rings and extension cables and cords. And two Paul C Buff Lithium batteries that could power everything (in addition to AC). All in a rolling case that weighed under the airline limit of 50 pounds. 

I had to test, experiment, and modify everything to work reliably with the batteries as this was relatively new technology at the time. Finally I had it perfected and rolled up the the airline check-in. And found that the only way I could fly the case was if I disposed of $800 worth of my heavy duty Lithium batteries*. 

Defeated. Now I use continuous lighting for digital or rent strobes if I must.

Dynalites are great mid-level professional strobes, even 40 year old kits still work and provide functional light. I made a lot of money traveling the world with a kit based on D-804II packs and 2401 heads. About ten years ago I bought a usable set of two packs and four heads for only $150. They’re solidly built and reliable.

That said, it is a real pleasure to rent ProFotos. You can shoot quickly and maintain a consistent color temperature, their focusing heads are also very nice. The contrary is that Paul C Buff gear is weakly built and ugly, torturous to have to use. Made in America but almost as bad as the Chinese lighting crap flooding the market. Yuck! (Hiring a good industrial designer and bumping the price slightly, they would have market dominance.)

*This has since been clarified by the manufacturers and TSA so that you mostly can fly with the larger Lithium Ion batteries that are properly labelled. Do your due diligence. 

Escape From NY

A freezing Winter night wandering around the city waiting for the late flight home. I was using the Nikon D810 with the compact Voigtlander 40/2 lens. 

I sold that lens because I thought the bokeh was too busy but looking at these wide open pictures (I think they were all @ f/2) I don’t see anything objectionable. It certainly is compact. 

Frost Ridge

Frosts Ridge

In 1975 I learned how to ski with my High School ski club at Frost Ridge in LeRoy, New York. It was a small rope tow ski area. Now it’s a trailer park. 

Oh Frost Ridge was laughable but we had a lot of fun and skiing became a life long sport for me, one I suffer great pains to continue. It’s really a shame we’ve lost these inexpensive blue-collar kinds of community ski areas that made skiing a growth sport. 

Alta Powder Day

I shot these in the Wildcat liftline on a powder day at Alta, Utah about 20 years ago. I was using a Rolleiflex medium format twin-lens reflex and had to send it in for cleaning and lubrication after getting it wet with snow. 

Back in the day I was a ski bum at Alta as well as Sugarloaf, Maine and in the Summer at Mt. Hood, Oregon. I did multiple jobs, from being a ski racing coach to a maid, concurrently. 

Design Background

These are from my portfolios, early 2000s. 

From 1990 to 2005 I was primarily a graphic designer. I started as Macintosh computers were beginning to replace traditional paste-up methods. Through trial and error I taught myself pre-press and produced some of the first desktop color separations. I also was active in the grunge typography movement and a beta-tester for Adobe Photoshop. Was one of the first to make large IRIS prints on alternative media, bought my own printer. Lectured at Palm Beach, ICP/NY, the Eastman House, RIT, Visual Studies Workshop, and the Kodak Center for Creative Imaging. Wrote for and was profiled by PRINT, HOW, Communication Arts, and Photo District News. Developed some of the first Fortune 500 websites, built over a 100 sites in all. Designed numerous coffee table books, posters, trade shows, billboards. Won ADDYs and other awards for advertising. Worked for Saatchi off and on but mainly I built up a small design studio located behind the Little Theater in Rochester’s East End. Hired and fired, started several careers, always made payroll even when I didn’t pay myself. For a few years I made a lot of money. You don’t want to know how many computers I’ve been through and yes, I stayed up working all night all the time. 

I worked my way up from knowing nothing to becoming one of the leading solo designers in Upstate New York with national work. I did this by working hands-on, reading and asking questions. There were no courses to take until I taught them. I don’t mean to be bragging so much but that’s how it happened.  

During this time I was a pre-press technician, graphic designer, art director, and creative director (when I needed a title). Towards the end I became a consultant advising clients on marketing and writing business plans. I tried to show people how not to waste their money on stupid advertising and trendy design. Eventually I became skeptical of the whole enterprise and became a “less is more” minimalist. Now that I am not financially dependent on advertising I’m extremely cynical about it and reflect that many of the people I met in the industry were moral cripples and degenerates. More so I despise preening effeminate designers and am glad to be divorced from the industry. 

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