The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for September 2013

moon cast

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The center of the earth is the end of the world, if you think about it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Night shooting has been something which I have been working on for the last six months or so. The problem presented by lowered illumination is the need for equipment such as tripods and lighting devices such as flashes. Spontaneous moments of joy such as a train entering the elevated station are denied by such techniques. I’m a handheld kind of guy, I’m afraid, but I hate the distracting presence of color noise and the weird oranges it produces. High ISO night shots are necessarily noisy, but produce weird colors straight out of the camera- especially under the influence of NY Cty street lamps which are kind of yellow anyway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent acquisition of a brighter lens (capable of large apertures) than the one I normally use as my general contractor has aided immensely in the pursuit of working around both my limitations and those of the capture device. The remarkable Sigma 18-35 allows for apertures as bright as 1.8, and is sharper than heck, and it is currently jutting out of the camera obscenely- it’s a very nice piece of glass. The problem which I’ve been trying to solve is a purely digital one presented by the camera software itself, and the incongruities encountered between capturing the image and processing it. I’ve long worked as an advertising photo retoucher, what can I tell you, this is the sort of stuff one ponders.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The image, as captured by the camera, is assigned settings whose parameters are determined by an onboard suite of software which assesses and assigns color temperatures when it is written to card. The camera also sets the shot to certain levels of bright and shadow, contrast and saturation. The camera, except in bright sunlight, almost always gets it wrong. Fixing these matters in a compressed format like jpeg is not so easy, so I shoot in raw format which allows me to noodle things around a little bit and get the image a little it closer to what I actually experienced in situ.

What I’ve been working on, feverishly, is using the information typically captured in the raw file (a 16 bit file richer in image data than an 8 bit jpeg) to create a predictive shooting protocol. In English- trying to figure out what the camera sees, and why, and creating a series of moves on the raw image to better represent the real life colors and range of tone which exist within the range of human vision. Nowhere even close yet, but I’m starting to think that the path lays before me.

Here’s a tip- canon’s higher iso settings produce a huge amount of noise on the red and green plates, shifting an image to colder temperatures will reduce the color noise significantly.

Upcoming Tours

Saturday- September 21, 2013
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale now.

Saturday- September 28, 2013
Newtown Creek Boat Tour with the Working Harbor Committee- tickets on sale now.

Saturday – October 19, 2013
The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale soon.

Sunday- October 20th, 2013
The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek with Brooklyn Brainery- tickets on sale now

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

naturally prompted

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Everybody has somewhere they need to go, except me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Traveling back and forth, forth and back, to Greenpoint for meetings regarding my beloved Creek occupies a lot of my time. Along the pathway which leads from blessed Astoria to the “garden spot of the universe” one encounters a whole lot of taxi cabs along the way. Their presence causes shame to blossom within my breast, as the urgency which would justify the usage of such conveyance is not something which currently drives my days. I’ll get there when I arrive, as no matter where you go, there you are.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Complaining about my near daily pilgrimage to Brooklyn is usually greeted with “you should buy a bicycle” by the drinkers of expensive coffee who dwell there. Simply put, I have nothing against cycling. In fact, I used to be a avid bicycle enthusiast, when I lived in my native south east Brooklyn. Problem is that you are moving too fast to actually notice anything, as you are effectively a vehicle. Want to see something cool? You need to walk, not ride. Also, cameras and bicycling do not exactly get along.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve noticed increasing numbers of these new lime green “Boro Cabs” turning up of late around the neighborhoods in Western Queens, by the way. Another change in the landscape, and alteration of the firmament, here in the Newtown Pentacle. Hopefully, this metered fare will alleviate the whole scale rape which local car services perpetrate upon the populace currently. Recently, a private car service driver quoted me a $30 fare to go from Astoria to Meeker Avenue in Greenpoint- a roughly 15 minute trip.

Upcoming Tours

Saturday- September 21, 2013
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale now.

Saturday- September 28, 2013
Newtown Creek Boat Tour with the Working Harbor Committee- tickets on sale now.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 19, 2013 at 10:51 am

fiercely and menacingly

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Darkness reaches out for darkness.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Negativity and the desolation of loneliness can turn an otherwise wholesome individual into a warped and twisted crone, I believe, one whose daily round is described by ignoring their own condition and place while casting a yellowed eye of jealousy about. Those who seek, those who find, those who discover- these are the ones whom these corrupted individuals find loathsome. They close ranks, proclaim themselves to be an elite, and forget the lessons of history.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Corruption is a term bandied about often in public circles, often referring to a “quid pro quo” between a government representative of some ilk and an illicit activity performed by another which is “swept under the rug” in connection with some sort of monetary or social reward. Religious leaders opine that if one is offered a glass of dirty versus clean water, all will choose the latter, but these people believe in a fairy tale wherein an omnipotent entity waits in the sky to adjudicate over and welcome the dead. What one observes in the daily round however, especially over in the Shining City, has nothing to do with that ideal. There, baser desires and other supernatural imperatives are adhered to.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The self appointed elites of that Shining City reel, for their chosen champion has received a sound thrashing in a recent plebiscite, something that was plain to see coming for anyone who exists in this megalopolis beyond the rivers. Corruption as described above was never the cause of this defeat, instead it was a different form of corruption which damned their eidelon, that of hubris. They have feasted long and well, these elites. Meal time is over, and its time for the rest of us to serve them all a rich and well deserved desert.

Upcoming Tours

Saturday- September 21, 2013
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale now.

Saturday- September 28, 2013
Newtown Creek Boat Tour with the Working Harbor Committee- tickets on sale now.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 18, 2013 at 11:13 am

bulging eyes

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In today’s post, preternatural darkness.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Today’s post is as close to live blogging as I get, as these shots were all captured less than 16 hours ago. Your humble narrator attended a meeting of the estimable Newtown Creek Alliance yesterday, one which was set to occur at the sewer plant in Greenpoint. After the conclave, nobody offered me a ride back to Astoria so I ended up walking home again in the dark. The roll on garbage truck pictured above was spotted on Greenpoint Avenue and was fortuitously lit by the head lamps of passing vehicles.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Escorting Newtown Pentacle’s far eastern correspondent Armstrong to the train station at Greenpoint and Manhattan Avenues, I decided to pick a tremulous course toward the Pulaski Bridge. The section of Greenpoint nearby the Pulaski seems to have been in the grip of a wave of violent crime this summer, something which area wags attribute to the recent opening of a large homeless shelter which the City placed in the neighborhood. A vast physical coward and feckless quisling, paranoid wonderings were omnipresent as I mounted the bridge and headed for Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lurking in fear, I shambled and scuttled past the shinier residents of Greenpoint as they headed home, and came across this always amazing view mid span. That’s the infamous Newtown Creek down below, its poison waters gurgling and splashing tepidly towards Bushwick from the East River. The Shining City of Manhattan offers why I call it that in this shot.

Upcoming Tours

Saturday- September 21, 2013
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale now.

Saturday- September 28, 2013
Newtown Creek Boat Tour with the Working Harbor Committee- tickets on sale now.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

always pedantic

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Astoria, Queens rules.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having sense enough not to schedule any walking tours against the Jewish holiday last weekend allowed me to have an actual day off last Saturday. Our Lady of the Pentacle and I decided to take a stroll around the neighborhood, soon finding ourselves nearby Astoria Park. Having company such as Our Lady along on my perambulations is a pleasant change to my normally lonely round, although one does have to slow his gait. Our Lady doesn’t dawdle, instead I walk preternaturally fast.

from wikipedia

A loner is a person who avoids or does not actively seek human interaction or prefers to be alone. There are many reasons for solitude, intentional or otherwise, and “loner” does not imply a specific cause. Intentional reasons include spiritual and religious considerations or personal philosophies. Unintentional reasons involve temperament, being highly sensitive, having more extreme forms of shyness, or various mental disorders. The modern term “loner” can be used with a negative connotation in the belief that human beings are social creatures and those that do not participate are deviant.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Yom Kippur is one of those holidays I’ve never understood. “Day of Atonement” and all. If I need to atone and account for my actions to some sort of extra dimensional super being who invisibly observes all that I do in minute detail, it will be after I’m dead and am standing in front of some supernatural court. Also, I have very little that I feel guilty about, as I don’t go out of my way to screw others over nor hurt them. It meant a lot to my parents, this day of atonement, but I’ve never had any use for all the shouting and jumping about that religions bring.

from wikipedia

Anthropophobia or Anthrophobia (literally “fear of people”, from Greek: ανθρωπος, ánthropos, “man” and φόβος, phóbos, “fear”), also called interpersonal relation phobia or social phobia, is pathological fear of people or human company.

Anthropophobia is an extreme, pathological form of shyness and timidity. Being a form of social phobia, it may manifest as fears of blushing or meeting others’ gaze, awkwardness and uneasiness when appearing in society, etc. A specific Japanese cultural form is known as taijin kyofusho.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We spotted this roughly scrawled graffito over on 20th avenue, on the fenced walls adjoining the ConEd property. Odd, ironic, and frankly- a bit more literate than the stuff you normally see around the ancient village. I did not see anybody wearing a hunting cap lurking about, and kept moving. It was nice actually having a day off, something one such as myself doesn’t get much of these days.

from wikipedia

Holden Caulfield is the 16-year-old protagonist of author J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Since the book’s 1951 publication, Holden has become an icon for teenage rebellion and angst, and now stands among the most important characters of 20th-century American literature. The name Holden Caulfield was used in an unpublished short story written in 1942 and first appeared in print in 1945.

Upcoming Tours

Saturday- September 21, 2013
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale now.

Saturday- September 28, 2013
Newtown Creek Boat Tour with the Working Harbor Committee- tickets on sale now.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 16, 2013 at 10:55 am

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