The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for December 6th, 2021

crazier people

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned, a new habit I’ve been actively cultivating in recent months has been to commit to an early morning photo adventure at least once a week. I’m a night owl by nature, and it’s quite normal for me to be wide awake at 3 or 4 in the morning. The solitude and quiet offered by these midnight intervals is cherished, but it royally screws me up during the winter months due to a paucity of light and being out of sync with everybody else.

Sunrises are cliche, sure, but the light is nice and there’s that whole Marcus Aurelius thing – “At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”

Whenever you’re feeling lazy, or unmotivated, there’s always Stoicism and Marcus Aurelius to fall back on. At any rate, it certainly does make you seem smarter or better read than you actually are. Saying that, huddling under the blankets sounds pretty nice, if you ask me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Loving portrait compositions of sewers, that’s what I think about. The one above is an exposure stack of multiple tripod shots, actually. That’s how I spend my early morning hours these days, which is why I’m a schmuck with a camera and not a Roman Emperor like old Markey Marcus. My morning had begun with a pre dawn arrival at the Maspeth Avenue Plank Road and from there I walked westwards towards the Kosciuszcko Bridge, and these shots are literally from “DUKBO” or “Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp.”

Another one of Marcus Aurelius’ bits of advice I try to follow is to wear two entirely different sets of clothes – one for inside the house, another for the world at large. I tend not to wear the shoes I was walking around the Creeklands with inside of HQ, and make it a point of changing out of whatever I was wearing while photographing sewers when arriving back home. Saying that, when Zuzu the dog was still around, I would always get a full “sniff” inspection from her when I got home after proximity to this sort of infrastructure.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On this particular day, I had left HQ at 4:30 in the morning, and was on-site by 5 a.m. The shot above was captured at 8:14 a.m., so I was just north of three hours into the session. I didn’t get back to HQ in Astoria that day until about noon, so I guess I was out about 8 hours. I had other stuff to do, in addition to processing all of the photos, and didn’t get to bed until well after midnight. Suffice to say that I slept well that night.

Marcus Aurelius might have been proud, I would hope, but as a Stoic – he’d just expect this sort of effort.

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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

December 6, 2021 at 11:00 am

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