The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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– 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.

“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 28, 2022 at 11:00 am

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