The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Astoria’ Category

mendicant wanderings

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Friday, but published a day late

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, one has been out of town for most of the month of September. Amtrak has been my chariot, although for one weekend in there my pal Hank the Elevator Guy drove his car. The shot above was captured on the first leg of my journeys, depicting the scene from the trackage of the Hell Gate Bridge with Astoria Park in the foreground and mighty Triborough featured prominently. More next week.


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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

September 25, 2021 at 11:00 am

snouted denizens

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Monday

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Experimental in nature, the images in today’s post are actually hundreds of images wound into YouTube video files. I set the camera up to capture time lapses of the storm setting itself up on Saturday night. Was hoping for lightning, but there you go. The one above is looking westwards from Astoria right about sunset.

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

When the storm really got going, and it turns out that Saturday broke the record in NYC for a single day’s worth of rain, I had to move the camera to a somewhat safer and drier position. All of these were captured at HQ – by the way – where a humble narrator was bunkered down, drinking tea and eating toast. This one looks at the sewer grate on my corner as it drank up hundreds and hundreds of gallons of water.

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is from a little earlier in the evening, looking southwest along Astoria’s Broadway as the clouds and humidity built up. One was quite aware of his ear drums at this point in the evening, as the atmospheric pressure built and the storm neared. Back tomorrow with something else.

Also, tonight is the actual, calendrical, Night of the Living Dead.


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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

August 23, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in Astoria

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glutless zeal

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s an example of a Flopwhistle’s Water Hen pictured above. Given that I’m always wrong about what kind of a bird a bird is, one has undertaken the practice of just assigning random names to the various avians I encounter. This particular “bird on a wire” was hanging around HQ here in Astoria during the 72 hours I got to spend quarantining myself from the exposure to Covid which offered by an anti-vaxxer friend of mine. Grrr.

This particular person received a verbal dressing down the other day. For those of you who haven’t experienced what it’s like when a humble narrator drops the facade and stops pretending to be a nice guy… it ain’t pretty. I’ve been told it’s like having a thesaurus yelling at you, since I also drop all pretense of colloquialism and the carefully constructed artifice of my working class persona.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This week, since nobody who works for New York State – nor Con Edison or Spectrum cable – can visualize the hornets nest of dead wire and overburdened utility poles without photos of it, one has to go out and perform a photographic survey of the ludicrous situation hanging over our heads. Literally the entire regional economy hangs off of utility poles, and it can be derailed with a single fallen tree. Y’all want it, you’re gonna get it. Then you can found a blue ribbon committee that recommends things which will never happen.

I am so tired of fighting, lords and ladies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, a negative Covid test for both Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself has ensured that we haven’t been derailed from the extensive travel schedule which is in the works for September. My anti-vaxx friend’s defenses of his perceived “freedoms” came close to attenuating my own freedom – see? I’ve got an Amtrak package which I’ll be spending in that interval, and bringing the camera to new and different locales for a change of pace. It’s been so long since I left NYC…

Vacation, all I ever wanted…


“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

August 18, 2021 at 1:30 pm

Posted in Astoria, birds

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once revolved

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je m’appelle Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, one has reactivated a formerly inactive and semi retired lens back into service. I won’t bore you with the technical details revolving around the camera, instead I’ll just say that this particular lens never performed terribly well on my old camera and it fell out of active rotation in favor of other devices. Saying that, it’s complimentary to the newer camera I’m now using so there you are.

These shots were gathered while hanging around Astoria, carousing and watching the other Queensicans go about their business. This is a telephoto lens, which allows me to get “up close and personal” from about a block away. Its biggest flaw on the RF system is that it’s a fairly “dark” lens, with a variable aperture.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “variable aperture” bit means that as you zoom in or out, its internal settings change. It’s f4-6.3 over the range, if you’re curious. One vastly prefers lenses which don’t do this, and the rest of my current kit doesn’t do variable, but that’s where they get you on price. At the moment, I don’t have any financial impetus to upgrade to a better lens for this particular function. Also, maybe it’s just me, but if you’re zoomed out to 300mm you really want to be working the image at narrow apertures to ensure sharpness.

For those of you who aren’t camera nerds – lenses with wide apertures like f1.8-f4 produce images with narrow focal planes but allow a lot of light into the camera. Think about portrait shots with blurry backgrounds for what that looks like. Narrower apertures produce more edge to edge sharpness, but restrict the amount of light entering the camera, necessitating longer exposure times and or higher ISO settings. Photographers, myself included, drool over bright lenses. Lens manufacturers price their wares accordingly, and – generally speaking – the brighter a lens is, the more expensive it is.

Telephoto lenses with wide apertures are ludicrously expensive, which is why you generally see them employed by Paparazzi, Sports, or Wedding photographers. I take pictures of junk yards and tugboats, so…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Where that narrow aperture really bites you in the tuchas is at night, or in any situation which isn’t “outside during the day.” The rest of my lens kit is very capable in low light conditions, and even at f1.8 I’ve been hitting tack sharp infinity focus with them. The 70-300 I’ve brought out of retirement isn’t really in the same league as these more modern lenses, and its color rendering requires a bit of adjustment and attention that the newer ones don’t need. Saying that, it’s already paid for, so win.

Speaking of winning… what are you doing on August 7th? I’ll be conducting a WALKING TOUR OF LONG ISLAND CITY with my pal Geoff Cobb. Details and ticketing available here. Come with?


“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

August 3, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in Astoria, Queens

Tagged with , , ,

feeble spirit

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Umbrella? Yeah, better bring one. As mentioned in previous posts, one has been experiencing several annoying and somewhat painful conditions which have been getting in my way. One of them is a pulled muscle in the spinal region. This condition is certainly temporary, which is how my experience with similar injuries in the past have played out, but it’s made me question every single item in camera bag from the point of view of weight. Sticking the umbrella in there is a drag, even though it’s only a pound or two. Seriously, when you’re marching along with the gear, even a few ounces of weight make a real difference in how happy you might be.

That’s the view of Astoria’s Broadway from HQ, gathered as one of these recent crazy storms was just blowing in. I was hoping to catch some lightning, but no luck.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Somebody on Newtown Avenue, in another section of Astoria, purpled their firebox. I know for a fact that the guys and gals who ride on the noisy red trucks don’t like when the citizenry do this, but in recent years I’ve noticed that people are taking the painting of fireboxes into their own hands.

This one isn’t too far from The Saw Lady’s house. Maybe she knows who and why. Is there a massive Prince fan living nearby?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another walk, another Tylenol for my aching back. As mentioned in the past, Sunnyside Yards is always in focus around these parts. That’s an Amtrak maintenance facility, as you may have guessed.

Lots of intentional stretching and not repeating the physical behavior which resulted in my back hurting is underway, so everything seems to be on the mend. I still need to sit down more often than normal, and I’ve figured out the exact spot between the shoulder blades to press my thumb into. That causes an audible “click” and allows the trapped muscle to degauss or disengage or whatever it is that’s going on in there.


“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

July 21, 2021 at 11:00 am

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