The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

fumbling in

with 4 comments


– photo by Mitch Waxman

June 3rd saw a humble narrator drawn to Astoria Park by the annual Astoria Carnival. My initial intention was to buy a ticket and ride the Ferris Wheel pictured above in pursuance of capturing an uncommon view of the “zone,” but the high price of the ride coupled with the presence of smudged plexiglass on the cars made me reconsider.

Also, the carnival was positively mobbed with teenagers. I decided discretion wasn’t the better part of valor, and headed down to the waterfront along Shore Boulevard instead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was an overcast and kind of humid day, which usually makes for decent sunsets, so my toes were pointed down at Hells Gate.

Really, that’s what this section of the East River is called.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One set up for landscape shots, with tripod and all the other gear deployed. The last time I was down here, I missed a few shots which just sort of “happened” when the camera was configured thusly, and when preparing for this evening’s activities I had a plan in place for the eventuality reemerging.

You can save a set of camera settings, assigning them to a camera dial position which Canon calls “creative settings.” There’s three of these dial positions available. I had set one up in advance for the circumstance of “I’m set up for long and slow exposure and a tugboat shows up.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thereby, when a tug actually did show up, I was ready for it. It isn’t anything obtuse, these settings, unlike the one I’m noodling for creating time lapses. The latter is something I’m still figuring out, which is why you haven’t seen any of that stuff yet.

Time lapse photography involves taking hundreds of shots at timed intervals and then lining them all up as an animated image. It’s different than video, as it’s a series of stills. This allows me to do what I do during the “developing” of the RAW format image files captured in camera. “Shoot for the edit” is the best advice I can give – other than “show up, do the work, go back home and finish the work.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “showing up” thing is a big deal for me. Keyboard Warriors abound in the modern world. They’re generally bitchers or moaners, like to describe the way the world used to be or the way it should be, and you don’t normally see them in person until somebody is handing out trophies or the press is there.

Sweat equity is what I’m built around respecting. Show up. Do the work. Go home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Turns out I was right about the atmospheric conditions producing a pretty spectacular sunset. Speaking of “shoot for the edit,” the shot above is actually three shots. The foreground one received a shallow depth of field and the focal point is right in the middle of Triborough’s reflection. The second shot is focused on the bridge’s Randall’s Island pierage, and the third on the Manhattan shoreline and sky. I changed up the exposure settings for all three as well, and then married them together using an extrapolation of the “focus stacking” technique.

Shoot for the edit.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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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

July 11, 2022 at 11:00 am

4 Responses

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  1. My apartment is on hells gate and is about 200 feet elevated.

    if you’d like to take photos here, i’m more than happy to facilitate.

    The currents, whirlpools and swirls are amazing. and twice a day there is a 3 foot hydraulic waterfall at the south end of wards/randall island.

    Dan Scolnick

    July 11, 2022 at 11:34 am

  2. Gorgeous photos!
    Re:”I decided discretion wasn’t the better part of valor”, didn’t your decision to pass on the teenagers and Ferris Wheel mean that avoiding that situation was better than wading into it?


    July 11, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    • It was mainly about the crowded/non masked up space. Lotsa people jammed into a gig that area negates the advantage of being outside

      Mitch Waxman

      July 11, 2022 at 11:33 pm

  3. […] Court Square in “frequent fumbling,” I went to a carnival in Astoria Park at Hells Gate in “fumbling in,” visited Staten Island’s Fresh Kills in “torn to,” and in “retinue of” I went hunting […]

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