The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for December 26th, 2019

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Mind numbingly bored yet?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just a short one today, with a few more shots of Astoria Queens from a recent and quite rainy night. Believe it or not, one of my goals for 2019 was to figure out a decent system for bad weather shooting. By “system,” a general approach to the problem is indicated, not a specific mechanical or device based solution. There’s a lot of technical “making the camera work” stuff involved in photography which becomes second nature, but there’s also a whole series of body postures and other physical matters which figure into it that one develops over time.

That is, of course, the reliable Q18 bus plying its way down 30th Avenue here in Astoria, on one of those gentle rolling hills which I often mention.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the things which I’ve adopted, physical habits while shooting wise, is a technique used by snipers. Frame up the shot, get your exposure figured out, and then depress the shutter button while breathing out rather than in. You’d be surprised at how much bodily movement there is associated just with respiration.

The thundering pulsations of ones circulatory system also come into play, and whereas I’ve managed to pull off handheld shots as slow as 1/60th of a second – that’s a fluke. Your heart beats, while resting mind you, between 60 and 100 times a minute. That means a hydraulic tremor which you are not cognizant of ripples through your arms and into the camera you’re nestling in your hands. My “go to” for low light is about 1/160th of a second, and I can reliably get a non blurred exposure at 1/100th. Anything slower than that, it’s a 50/50 chance that I managed to get the shutter actuated in between heart beats.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Parking is something I hear Astorians complain about constantly. I’ve always opined that it depends on your ride, parking does. Let’s say you drive an excavator… you could theoretically park anywhere you want to. If you can’t find a spot, it’s not a stretch to imagine that you could just dig a hole and leave your wheels in it. If street parking is your bag, it wouldn’t be too hard to just move other parked vehicles out of the way.

The very first time I saw my name in print was in Grade School. The printed quotation from P.S. 208’s Annual gazette involved my six year old desire to drive a bulldozer professionally. This, like many other goals of my younger incarnations, never happened. I can take photos in the dark, and in the rain, so at least there’s that.

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Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 26, 2019 at 2:00 pm

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