The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

and beyond

with one comment

LIC and Dutch Kills.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since the Quarantine bubble seems to have autonomously popped last weekend due to the arrival of warm weather, with thousands taking to the streets after the long hermitage, one decided to direct a recent constitutional walk towards the deserted precincts of Newtown Creek. The sidewalks of Astoria were teeming with people, but once I had moved southwards to Northern Blvd. the only traffic encountered was vehicular. That is, until I got to the corner of Honeywell street and Northern, where a wild eyed wackadoodle suddenly appeared who seemed desirous of confrontation with a humble narrator. Either high on goof balls or demented due to a feverish state of mind, the fellow meant me no good, and luckily I managed to brush him off.

As the wackadoodle was walking away, he called me “Pops.”

One continued along his own path, heading towards the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek with the intention of gathering images specifically intended for the focus and exposure stacking techniques which I’ve been experimenting with. To wit, the image above and those below.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Like any other software process involving the capture of raw data using one device which is then processed using a computational algorithm on a second one, reliable result is dependent on predictability. Predictability is formed by experiment. Ideally – You shoot images A, B, C, and then execute steps 1-4 with them on the computer, then you get something you had in mind for the final result. Getting to predictable result, however, requires experimentation, experiential trial and error, etc.

The image above represents something like 24 individual exposures, 12 for the water and 12 for the land, welded together. It’s not a home run, image quality wise. There’s an “uncanny valley” feel to it, but that’s what a learning process often looks like.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The wide open aperture used in all 3 of these shots, wherein the focus point is moved into different areas of the frame, allows for a softer capture of ambient light with “truer” color capture than a narrow aperture does. By combining multiple shots with that point of focus moved through the frame, you can additively assure tack sharp focus through the image, as I’ve discovered. Again, not a home run, but I got on base and possibly stole second.

Normally you’d use this technique in woodland or seaside landscape, or macro photography, and I’m working on making it predictable – as in “I shoot this, I get that.” That predictability is the name of the game, behind the camera.

I’m Pops Waxman, signing out for today. See you tomorrow at this – your Newtown Pentacle. May all your wackadoodles be merry, and all your photos in focus.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, May 18th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates as we move into April and beyond, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


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 blurb.com for $30.

One Response

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  1. Hiya, Pops! Just checking in to say “hi” and “glad to keep following along as you wander, up and about.” I have only the vaguest clue what all this “stacking” business is, but it’s kinda fun to follow along making believe! Stay well!

    Kenneth Furie

    May 18, 2020 at 1:50 pm


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