Frank Petronio photographer

Current Workshop

It’s OK, I’m satisfied and don’t want to spend anymore time or money futzing around. I really want one of those nice workshops like you see in Fine Woodworking magazine but I think you need to figure that out before you build or buy your house. For a modern block basement it’s fine, just not a lot of character and patina yet. 

The Tormek sharpener is great, it changes my relationship with knives. I like “normal” steels that are easier to maintain, also blade profiles that lend themselves to sharpening. I sold my fancier knives and now rotate through a few Ontario RATs and made-in-USA Kershaws. I prefer serrated blades even though they are harder to sharpen because in a real emergency you have to saw through stuff. Otherwise 90% of what I do is box cutting. I’m currently wearing an Esee shirt but I found their folders to be too thin and hard to open (the RATs are also slow). My remaining ZT is a beater I’ve screwed up by over sharpening. I may still buy a few more attractive knives but I swear I’ll never drop the big bucks on another Medford, Reeve, Hinderer, etc. 

Notice the Powers Irish Whiskey. I’m not a drinker, that bottle will last all year. But an alcoholic friend recommended it and it really is the most drinkable of the hard liquors, smooth and no hangovers. There is probably a good Kentucky Bourbon that’s equivalent but not for the same price, trust the drunk’s judgement on this. 

Last year I replaced a lot of worn out of junky tools. Sold my old Disston saws and bought Japanese pull saws. Junked the worn out screwdrivers and crappy keys in favor of Wera brand. The Channel Locks aren’t as nice as the Knipex (I have some) but they’re still made in Meadsville, PA and that counts for a lot in my book. 

Whenever I can I try to buy American-made products but German, Japanese, or Euro brands are my next preference. If I can I rather buy something from Taiwan than Red China, at least in Taiwan they pay a living wage and follow environmental regulations versus the Chinese using political prisoners as slave labor and worse.

Cutting Room Floor


Here’s an image I wanted to include in my Italian portfolio but I gave up after trying multiple edits. This is just me being fussy but I have a hard time with the mottled skin texture on her legs not jiving with her face, as well as the overall weird color cast (probably time of day, color of skylights, weird reflections from the floor… I’ve gone up and down with controls and specific colors but I’ve never found a pleasing balance.) Still I could apply brute force and “paint” her legs and everything else for that matter but then I ask myself whether it’s worth the time? It isn’t.


I have issues with magenta and since the stone was magenta I didn’t know which way to go.  

Farm in Tuscany

Should have been bold enough to remove that draping rubber molding. I’m too timid.

Milan, white Kydex and Beretta 92s with anodized blue baseplates

The Zeiss 35/1.4 Milvus is superb, the best 35mm lens ever, but manual focusing for street photography was not its forte. The focus throw is an entire revolution and it’s heavy (2.5#). Rapidly swinging the camera to sneak a grab shot rarely works, even @ 1/250th. Almost…. 

Illegal Photo


Hare Krishnas piggybacking off the Catholics, lol

Again, not quite working but perhaps some Magnum hack can swipe them? (birdie finger emoji)


Doing the classic Italian tour (and we were on a tour) you can’t help but spend a lot of time in dark churches and museums. Lighting is marginal and this image needs judicious rather than blanket noise reduction. But then I ask myself why? It’s interesting but not that much so. As for artwork, I did snap a few of details I liked but if I was really a fan I’d buy a book with quality reproductions… there is no way my handheld ISO 6400 images are ever going to compare.  

Venice Lagoon


There are many leaning towers besides Pisa

Milan Duomo


Hilton Stucky Venice Pool


I’ll take the tourist photos like everyone else: the beautiful but seen-before villas along the Venice canal, the dimly lit statues and paintings, walking around the colosseum in very harsh sun. Came home with 1200 photos. It took a couple of days to delete all the worst ones. Then I spent a minute or two (per image) editing the rest, putting 322 total on Flickr to share with family (not you. I keep a barrier up.) Then I went back and further edited another 40-50 and finally picked those that you currently see on the home page. Check back in a year or ten and perhaps I’ll have found a few new ones that resonate but it’s more likely I’ll have deleted several instead. 

The idea is that you make so many good photos that you can afford to delete a few nice ones for the greater good. I want to be so admirably ruthless in all ways! (Watch your back!)

Standing on my tippy toes

Finally, to explain better, this was a trip meant to educate and benefit our teenage daughter. We’re fortunate to be able to do this and we booked a quality (expensive) group tour and went on auto-pilot. Peer pressure forced me to “do it all” even though I would have preferred a Noon start followed by siesta then wine. Instead we walked 5-7 miles per day which was great PT for my leg. (I do not recommend going in Summer but that’s the school vacation schedule’s fault, not Italy’s.) All in all we saw far more than most tourists and had a memorable, satisfying time. 

That said I much prefer staying in one place for a week or two and quietly exploring around base camp. I’ve done that in Tuscany and would love to do it again, albeit next time I will bring a small step ladder as almost every landscape photo would benefit from a slightly higher perspective. I’d also like to spend serious photographic time in the Dolomites as I think they are the prettiest mountain range. For a pure vacation I’d like to try the coast (although it looks crowded). And even though I am most of Sicilian heritage (with Greek DNA) I prefer the North and want to avoid the cities.

(Bravo Matteo Salvini! Every young Italian I spoke to was supportive of the Right. All of the busy tourist areas were cleansed of migrants other than a few gypsies. It’s wonderful to see Europe finally develop some backbone as Nationalists triumph.) 

State College

I finally got to do the sort of road trip I love, leaving at 6am and driving four hours to State College, PA where I shot with Larissa, turned around and made it back, downloading CF cards and looking at results until 4am. Lots of Coffee, candy, cigarettes (2!) and podcasts (The Right Stuff, Third Rail) and favorite oldies (Pixies, Sonic Youth, Devo, PJ Harvey, Fugazi, Johnny Cash, Hold Steady, Tool, etc.) Shot too many pictures and have been batting them around, these are the five out of 1000 that I like best. For now. 

The underwater housing worked fine with the 50/1.8G but the water was so opaque that I couldn’t photograph anything from underneath. Luckily it rained and I swam with the rig, I never could have done the same with a dryland camera no matter how careful I was not to dunk it. She’s wearing a green latex dress in the green greasy water too, it worked really well (seriously I planned for this!) The blue cat suit ran a bit too large for her even though I ordered it to her height, so I don’t like any of the front facing shots. Both pieces were thicker and opaque. For the life of me I don’t understand the sexuality of a tight rubber fetish, it seems really uncomfortable and you smell like an inner tube, a sweaty one at that. However it really photographs nicely and it’s a great option compared to being naked in public… yeah it’s definitely weird but nobody’s calling the cops* over it either. 

Anyway I imagine she won’t care for these since they’re harsh and weird but they’re different too, and that’s important to me. I took plenty of ones she will like and my editing will continue ;-p She’s a great model, I’m lucky she’ll shoot with the likes of me. 

Probably holding onto the underwater housing but not adding accessories. In four outings it now has battle scars ~ the lens port is Plexiglass after all ~ so the resale is lousy and it is pretty cool to able to take your camera out in the worst conditions. Switching to the 50/1.8G works well for above water stuff and portraits, I think I’d have to get a domed port ($500) to use with my 20/1.8G if I actually did any Caribbean-type snorkeling. 

*I get police visits every few photo shoots, even when I shoot landscapes. 

Tourniquet Time

أوروبا تستوعب

Been carrying my Dark Angel pocket trauma kit just in case of Allah Snackbar.

Learned that frogs symbolize transformation.

Self-medication. Been walking 5-6 miles everyday six months out from the broken tibia.

Faith in Circles of Confusion ~

Using Format