The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for September 2nd, 2021

impatient affirmation

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

So, on the negative front – the Ferris Wheel in Times Square’s gondolas are lined with a kind of flexible plastic that isn’t exactly optically ideal. Additionally, the plastic was quite filthy and covered with greasy fingerprints and “yuck.” Given that a humble narrator was shooting from within this hazed plastic enclosure (it’s also rather snug in there) at a brightly lit scene, photo quality suffered. Luckily, I’m used to brandishing the camera about in less than ideal circumstances.

For twenty bucks, you basically get three revolutions of the wheel to take your photos during. I anticipated the plastic problem, and made a homemade light baffle for the lens out of the sort of foam sealant strips you would use when installing an air conditioner. Didn’t fix the problem, but definitely helped ameliorate some of it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve got a collection of homemade camera equipment, I should mention. All the electronic stuff is store bought, obviously, but there’s all kinds of environmental adaptations which would cost a fortune if I bought it from the camera people. A year or two ago, a screw that attached the tripod mounting plate to my camera got stripped, and the camera store offered a replacement which retailed for $10. For a screw, $10. I got a box of 20 of them from Amazon for $6. I seem to spend more time scrutinizing Home Depot’s offerings than I do B&H’s these days.

A camera’s tripod mount screw is a quarter inch 20 turn screw. A tripod’s head mount is a three eighth’s inch 20 turn screw. Go to a hardware store, and use your imagination. One of my camera support mechanisms has furniture casters for feet. I had a carpenter body of mine cut an ARCA Swiss Mount into a block of hard rubber that another friend – Hank the Elevator Guy – suggested I use for a squared off vibration damper which I like to mount on my camera’s L Bracket. Ever try a string tripod? Cut a rain shield out of a soda bottle? Countersink a screw into a chunk of wood? It’s glorious, I tell you, DIY is, and kind of fun.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The one above is the shot I was hoping to get from up on the wheel. I had to play around with all the settings on my camera, while chatting with the other photographer who was randomly sharing the gondola with me, who coincidentally was using the exact same camera and lens model as I. Wonder how his shots came out.

So, that’s how I spent last Monday night. Minor adventures continued while walking to the train station through the weirdly deserted midtown Manhattan streets. There were plenty of people there, but given what the “normal” density encountered would be on a Monday night on the streets neighboring the 42nd street corridor, it felt like I was either in a zombie movie or it was Labor Day. Not done shooting, by a long shot, one walked away from the subway station which offered the most direct connections back to my section of Astoria. Instead, I headed towards Grand Central Station, where my intention was to board a 7 train. More tomorrow.

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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

September 2, 2021 at 11:30 am

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