The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

disturbing to

with 2 comments

Macro fun, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When it’s dark, cold, and rainy outside (a trifecta!) – a humble narrator finds himself stuck indoors. Rather than do something useful, my inclination is to set up a little “stage” on a counter in the kitchen and deploy a tripod. This time around, the stage was a piece of glass that I’d harvested a while back from a dead scanner. A quick trip to the school supplies section of my local drug store resulted in the purchase of a set of kid’s tempera paints, which were applied to the impermeable glass in distinctly separated spots. Water was introduced into the lapses of the various pigments, which caused them to bleed into each other. While the “decay” was under way, a camera was mounted onto the tripod, and placed less than a quarter of an inch from the surface of the swirling colors.

The hard part was lighting it, as there was a quite narrow window into which the light could be aimed and diffused. Additionally, handling the reflections inherent in a “wet media” subject was a bit of a challenge. Can’t begin to tell you how many times I was able to see an exact mirror image of my camera in them before I figured out the right angle to set the tripod head and lights at.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The stage remained on the counter for a couple of days, and I did multiple “set ups” with different piles of and colors of the kid paint. It was paramount to me not to use any sort of “professional” grade paint in these experiments – gouache or proper watercolors, for instance – so the 12 pack of school supply paint was exploited and utilized. I had to break it all down on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving so that Our Lady and I could cook the holiday meal, of course.

The “stage” itself is a jury rigged affair. The aforementioned scanner glass was sitting on top of a sheet of black paper, and was backed up by several other sheets of the black paper held together with gaff tape, soda straws, and pieces of a wire hanger. As mentioned, controlling the reflections in the wet pigment was a real pain the neck.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Today’s post carries three of my more successful shots from this series, and I plan on doing more of them as the winter months play out.

Tomorrow, we get back to business.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 28, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Astoria

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. Reminds me of the Joshua Light Show at the Fillmore East,which was done with an overhead projector.The heat from the lamp made convection currents and the colors would blend and swirl..Really dating myself here

    Richy Franke

    November 28, 2016 at 4:48 pm

  2. In the UK we used to refer to this as a ‘blob show’.

    Joly MacFie

    November 28, 2016 at 6:02 pm


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