The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for February 2022

devoured avidly

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A long walk to my happy place – Industrial Maspeth – resulted in a humble narrator returning to HQ with several interesting shots on the camera’s memory card. The Kosciuszcko Bridge is all lit up like a Greek coffee shop these days, with outré LED lights that cast a weird luminescence on the surrounding landscape and upon the lugubrious Newtown Creek that it spans.

I’ve mentioned a landscape photography technique called “focus stacking” in the past. You shoot multiple exposures of the same scene, while moving the focus point of the lens about. This gives you a series of “tack sharp” foreground, middle ground, and infinity point images which are then combined into one shot during the developing process. The shot above isn’t one of these, as a note, it’s just a “normal” exposure.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What I’ve noticed, however, when gathering images for these “focus stacking” images, is that if the Kosciuszcko Bridge is going through its lighting sequence while you’re shooting the photo sequence, the changes to hue and color offered by the bridge end up becoming part of the final image. Like many of these sorts of discoveries, it became apparent to me when a sunset focus stacking shot of the Kosciuszcko Bridge formed a rainbow. The image was weird, as it wasn’t intentionally shot that way, but one said “hmmm.”

Hence, the focus stacking photos above and below, wherein I timed the shutter to coincide with the bridge’s lighting package cycling through reds and purples. I was also trying to be conscious of maintaining some texture in the water, rather than letting it turn into a glassy mirror as in the shot below.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

These were shot from the bulkheads of what was once called Phelps Dodge, in Maspeth. I’ve shown you the Hindu god statue that’s secreted away in the piles of this section of Newtown Creek in the past.

What I’m up to in these shots, experimentally speaking, is turning focus stacking into time stacking.


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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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 28, 2022 at 11:00 am

limitless limitations

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whilst scuttling about on a recent evening, one met an Opossum. I have no idea if the critter was a he or a she or a they, but it seemed nice. Are there trans or non gender conforming opossums, and do we have to worry about their feelings? The thing was vamping for me, and since I had just updated the firmware on my camera with what Canon promised as being “improvements to the eye tracking autofocus for animals and people” this situation presented an excellent opportunity for me to test the improved feature out.

Apparently, a big part of this face and eye tracking update involved adapting to the presence of Covid masks. The Opossum wasn’t wearing one, and neither was I for that matter, but there you are. Speaking as someone who has treated Covid with a great deal of respect over the last two years, it absolutely flummoxes me when I see people who are entirely alone – and outside – wearing masks. Same thing with people who are driving solo and wearing one. Why?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Now, when I was riding around on various Amtrak’s in the September and December, and on Subways here in the City, you’d have had to pry the mask off my cold dead face before I’d remove it willingly in an unventilated congregate setting. Outside, though? Unless it’s a truly crowded sidewalk – a protest or maybe a press event – I’m bare faced. Ventilation, people, ventilation. Also, distancing, people, distancing. This isn’t advice, you do you.

Recent occasion found me at the Jackson Heights intermodal subway and bus station at Broadway and Roosevelt Avenue here in Queens, where a masked up crowd formed into tight rows less than a foot away from each other when either boarding the escalator or awaiting the train’s arrival. Me? I was masked up, but stood well away from everybody else and their clouds of cooties. Why crowd in? What advantage is there? Who are you trying to beat out for pole position in terms of boarding the R? I guarantee you’re going to get onto the train, why do you need to be first?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My evening’s destination, which the pursuance thereof had precipitated meeting the nice Opossum, was the Newtown Creek waterfront in Maspeth. The former bulkheads of a long gone copper refinery and chemical factory called Phelps Dodge offer a commanding set of views of the Kosciuszko Bridge as well as a few other interesting things to point a camera at.

As far as Newtown Creek goes, the waters which greasily lap at the Phelps Dodge shoreline are generally considered to be the most deeply compromised – environmentally speaking – on the entire waterway.

Back next week with more – at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


“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.

unsatisfying uluations

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Scuttling, always scuttling, that’s me. Filthy black raincoat fluttering in the wind, camera in hand, shoes scraping along the sidewalk. It’s horrible to behold, my countenance, I’ve been told. I dread passing before a piece of silvered glass.

The good news is that a humble narrator was recently engaging in a bit of calisthenic stretching and one of the tendons in my trick left foot shifted and made a sound not unlike a cello’s base string being struck with a hammer. Ever since, the pain and tenderness in the left foot and ankle has ameliorated a bit, which has just been awesome. Of course, I’m in my 50’s, so my right hip immediately began to hurt instead.

I like to refer to this phenomena as my pain squirrel, which finds a different branch of the body’s tree to sit upon every day. My physical form is like a meaty Yggdrasil, with the Pain Squirrel Ratatoskr found above, and the Death Serpent Níðhöggr chewing his way up through my roots from below.

I have an entirely pedantic inner life.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This time around, I was out for a short walk, which these days sees this shattered husk walking the equivalent of four to five subway stops in one direction and then looping back towards HQ. It’s malevolent, winter weather, and my particular “kryptonite” revolves around cold.

Partially, this is due to the medications prescribed by the team of doctors who labor to maintain my homeostasis. The ichor flowing though my circulatory system tends to run away from cold, rendering the extremities cold and pale. If I’m out for a long walk on a very cold night, it looks a great deal like this when I return home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Nearing HQ, this scene greeted me nearby a construction site. Obviously, somebody does not grasp the concept nor practice of municipal recycling, on a fundamental level.

More tomorrow.


“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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 24, 2022 at 11:00 am

amorphous amenity

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lucky. Just happened to be in the right place at the right time, which happened to be the Brooklyn/Queens border, found on the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge, at about 8 o’clock at night on a Friday in middle January. The tug is the CMT Pike, a 1979 vintage push boat operated by Coeymans Marine Towing.

This was a very, very difficult shot to get the exposure right for, as a note. The difficulty was due to the contrasting environment of bright lights and deep shadow, and complicated by the boat being operated at full steam and sliding quickly across the gelatinous waters of Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One doesn’t like heading home along the same path which he left it from, so my toes were pointed in a generally “Maspethian” direction for the return leg of things. There’s a little park, on Review Avenue at the corner of Laurel Hill Blvd., that was constructed along with the new Koscisuzcko Bridge. One likes to have a bit of sit down there when out for a long walk, and although sitting on a block of concrete in January isn’t exactly comfortable, it’s still nice to be able to take a load off for a few minutes and “unclick” my back.

As long as I was there, why not get in a couple of shots of the bridge? Why be lazy when you’re already out and about, and sitting down on a block of frozen concrete which is draining your body heat away through your butt?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My path back to HQ in Astoria found me walking through Sunnyside Gardens, and looking over my shoulder a lot. My paranoia alleviates around Newtown Creek, given how relatively depopulated it is. Sunnyside, however, enjoys quite a dense population. Using my old rubric that 2 out of every 10 people are straight up evil, what that means is that when you’re moving through a densely populated neighborhood about 20% of that population might screw with you.

My “rule” is that out of every ten people, two are evil and two are good. The remaining six are in the middle, and can go either way depending on whether or not they follow their social cues from the good two or the evil two. “The company you keep” isn’t just something your grandmother warned you about, in my mind.


“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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 23, 2022 at 11:00 am

cliffside cabin

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Intriguing are the bits of property which my Dad always referred to as “community driveways,” like the one in Astoria pictured above. The particular one above is interesting to me as it’s a dirt road. You don’t encounter much in the way of open soil here in Western Queens. A community driveway, for the uninitiated, is a pathway which leads to a “behind your house” parking spot and often a garage at the basement level. It’s an amenity!

Even the laconic Croats, and the other similarly reserved “Yugoslav” populations they coexist with here on Astoria’s southern edge, will get misty eyed when the subject of a private parking spot comes up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wandering around in the cold night, a humble narrator found that the aphorism “All roads lead to Calvary” was quite true when he found himself standing at the gate. It’s been quite a while since my last visit to the great polyandrion of the Roman Catholics, but since this one was well after sunset – the gates were securely fastened, as is the habit of the cemetery management. Couldn’t resist cracking out an exposure through the gate, however.

When leaving HQ, one told Our Lady of the Pentacle that I’d be taking a long walk, but that I didn’t plan on leaving Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not wanting to make a liar of myself, one walked onto the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge over Newtown Creek but didn’t cross the legal border into Brooklyn. Instead, I lingered mid span for an interval, and got lucky with what Queens wanted to show me. As a note, I sort of love the photo above, depicting a fuel truck traveling across the double bascule drawbridge.

More tomorrow.


“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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 22, 2022 at 11:00 am

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