The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

puerile extravagance

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of several great things about the new camera system I’m working with is that I can pretty much leave the tripod at home when going out for a night time walk. What’s cool about that is that the somewhat laborious process of “stop/set up/shoot” has now been replaced with “hey, look at that, take a picture.” I still use the tripod occasionally, but it’s kind of an intentional thing rather than a necessary thing. For those of you who might not be photography obsessed gear heads, carrying less and doing more with it is kind of the name of the game when you’re on the street. Studio photography, as in the standard three light portrait shot you were likely the subject of during school photos or family portraits, still requires a bunch of gear. Saying that, you can’t instruct a passing Q104 bus to hold still, smile, or say “cheese.”

So, when do you need a tripod or other camera support when packing one of these very modern mirrorless cameras? When you want to do a long exposure, or a time lapse, or any number of photo genre’s that you want to play with which require an absolutely static relationship between camera and composition – that’s when.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Forgive me for rattling on about this at least once a week, but I’m still absolutely astounded by the set of capabilities which Canon has baked into this new gizmo, and am still exploring its limits. Hell, the biggest feature and selling point on this new generation of Canon cameras is face and eye based autofocus tracking and I haven’t even turned that one on yet due to the pandemic and my avoidance of other people. Just the other night I found a tiny button on the thing by accident – that I didn’t even know was there – that allowed me to toggle back and forth between manual and automatic settings. The only reason I found that was because I was wearing gloves and accidentally activated the thing.

The gloves are a step up for me as well, as I’ve finally found a pair that incorporate some sort of material into the finger pads which smart phone and other touch screens can acknowledge. If this process continues to its logical conclusion, I’ll be wearing an Iron Man suit by July.

Actually, I’d love an Iron Man suit, but they don’t have them in the husky department at Alexander’s. Now, how’s that for an obscure reference?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The other day, while presenting a Sunnyside Yards shot gathered at a fence hole I refer to as the “old reliable,” I mentioned that whomsoever it is at Amtrak that’s been put in charge of fence holes at the rail complex during the Biden era has been busy. A couple of new ones have appeared, including one that allowed the shot above, depicting a Long Island Railroad train heading towards Manhattan.

Now, that’s a shot which my older camera would have categorically required a tripod to get. What I would’ve been unhappy about would have involved the train being motion blurred due to the shutter speed. The new unit had zero problems operating at low light and offers the use of a shutter speed which allowed me to produce a sharply defined and quite frozen moment.

See y’all tomorrow at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

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, March 8th. 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

March 10, 2021 at 11:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. Why would you need a tripod with the old camera on the hole in the fence shot? Couldn’t you improvise and steady the camera by bracing it in the hole? The chain link gap would be your “tripod.”

    georgetheatheist ,,, steady now

    March 10, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    • The older camera was a Canon 7d, which had poor high iso noise performance and being a crop sensor model didn’t cause it to gather more light. The new unit has both lens AND in body stabilization

      Mitch Waxman

      March 10, 2021 at 7:06 pm

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