The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

universal belief

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Supermoon in Astoria.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One had yet another of the seemingly endless series of community meetings he is obliged to attend occur, and afterwards a friend gave me a lift over to Astoria Park so that I could wave the camera about for an interval. It was that unseasonably warm day we all experienced, and the celestial calendar indicated that a “supermoon” was going to occur. I had already decided, before getting to my location, that I wasn’t going to be trying to record the “astro” shot palaver where you can see all the details on the moon as well as a clear back and foreground, and was instead going to be shooting more of a landscape dealie with a glowing orb lighting up the sky.

To wit, above is the supermoon framed by the Triborough Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “palaver” mentioned above requires multiple exposures which are then combined in a photoshop composite. You expose one shot for the moon, which is actually as bright as the sun to the camera. Then you expose for the sky, and finally for the other elements in the composition. I’ve done this a bunch of times, so I’m quite familiar with the technique. One of the snags you hit with this however, is that despite what the perception of the human eye indicates, the moon is actually traveling at quite a clip through your frame. Depending on where it is in your frame, you’ve got between 2 and 8 seconds to “get it” before it’s movement causes motion blur. Since it’s night time, you need to calculate the other exposures and when compositing the final shot, compensate for the movement of the orb through the shot.

It is possible to “get it in one” of course, but that’s fraught with technical issues as well. I just went for the “ambience” instead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thing is, I wasn’t feeling terribly secure as far as my personage when shooting these images. As is the usual case on nice nights, every “Astoria Boy” in the neighborhood was on station along Shore Blvd. There were hundreds, possibly even a thousand, of impulse control challenged post adolescents milling around down there. Their music, played at top volume, was terrible. The clouds of weed smoke rising from their assemblage and drifting across Astoria Park was intoxicating. If you like the “wacky tabacky,” save yourself a few bucks by just sitting downwind from this crowd.

Just to make sure I’m perfectly clear about this most salient of points – their music was computer generated (badly), irredeemable, and unabashedly terrible. Gah.

Teenagers… brrr.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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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

March 16, 2020 at 11:00 am

4 Responses

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  1. I was in Astoria Park yesterday (Sunday) afternoon and the din and cacophony from speakers in the cars parked under the Triborough and along Shore Blvd. was unbearable. This with police cars patrolling there. Not one cop told these noise miscreants to leave. The noise racket there is compounded by the echoing effect of the overspanning bridge. You’re a CB member. Anything you can do about this?

    georgetheatheist . . . silence is golden

    March 16, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    • I have brought it up, and when we’re back in session will make an issue of it with the bulls

      Mitch Waxman

      March 16, 2020 at 12:24 pm

      • (BOOM. BOOM.BOOM. BOOM. BOOM) . . . t-h-a-n-x

        georgetheatheist . . . silence is golden

        March 16, 2020 at 12:41 pm

      • The bulls won’t touch that issue, it would be racist.

        But anyway, OK boomers.

        However, I have reason to believe that your teenaged self was at least as bad as, if not worse, than the current crop.


        March 16, 2020 at 2:59 pm

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