The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for February 2nd, 2021

close correspondence

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

As has often been asserted, illegal dumping is the unofficial art form of the Borough of Queens. Nowhere else, even in that runner-up section of Brooklyn which the children call Greenpoint, do you see the careful attention to arranging your junk so carefully. Composition is the difference between the amateur and professional leagues in most of the visual arts, and if one considers the sculptural qualities of these ad hoc installations… the mind boggles at the implication. One should spend a moment contemplating their navel – the omphalos of their very soul – right here.

Really, this is a growing problem, and 11 months into the Corona Pandemic a humble narrator can report that there’s observably a LOT more illegal dumping going on. Good news is that the art galleries of Manhattan haven’t figured out a way to charge you admission for this sort of thing yet, so get out there and look for a stack of tires.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m quite fond of this Sunnyside Yards/Amtrak shot. I’m also fond of the official at Amtrak responsible for poking holes in the Yard’s fences just big enough for me to maneuver a camera lens next to. It’s also the first shot I made a 35mm lens I picked up that made me say “huh.” The new camera I’ve mentioned a few times in the last month has been quite busy as I’ve been teaching myself how to use it. There’s a few things – like the fold out touch screen, for instance – that I’ve had to keep on reminding myself to use and that “I can do now.” That touch screen is how I was able to shoot through a fence hole that was maybe 3/4 of an inch square, and in a spot I’ve never been able to get a composed shot through before. The 35mm also easily sees through the diamond shaped apertures of standard chain link fencing.

I’ve also solved an annoying photoshop problem which was plaguing me a month or two back – a distracting cross hatch pattern manifesting in low pixel density parts of photos, specifically skies and water. Turns out that modern adobe camera raw has a weird default which turns off a certain form of “luminance noise” suppression. Suppression of noise used to be a default, but somebody at adobe decided to give you granular control over it with three sliders and set the default state on all three to zero. Sigh.

Y’know, I literally installed photoshop off of 16 floppy disks onto a Mac at my first advertising gig as “Stat Boy.” It wasn’t Photoshop with any numbers or letters after that, just Photoshop. I’m old. Kids these days… changing things for no reason so they can tell their bosses that they fixed something.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Project Firebox. Remember when I used to do that, and there was a sixth post every week at Newtown Pentacle? Wow, those were the days, huh? Seriously, this project spun wildly out of control for me, and I found myself weeping while wandering through the City for miles and miles looking for fireboxes I hadn’t shot yet. Also, there’s only so many portrait shots you can do of fireboxes. Saying that…

Project Firebox is low key underway again, and we’ll be checking in on a few old friends to see how they’ve been weathering the storms of time.

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, February 1st. 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 here, 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 for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 2, 2021 at 11:00 am

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