The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Bronx’ Category

sorry planet

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As described is prior posts, an NYC Ferry ride from Astoria to Manhattan’s 34th street allowed a humble narrator to intersect with a Bronx bound Soundview line ferry. Arriving at a new ferry stop, one navigated his way over to the Bronx Whitestone Bridge and a couple of hours worth of urban landscape photography ensued.

This portion of my day involved using a tripod, an ND filter to slow down and control the very bright afternoon sun, a cable release to negate having to touch the camera’s controls too much, and a Canon model R6 camera.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While shooting these, a bit of a squall was building to the south west and the wind began to kick up. Before long, a solid wall of 15 – 20 mph wind had become continuous. A simple solution for this one is to use your body to block the wind, standing between the oncoming current and the camera rig. This only works so far, by the way, so it’s best to shoot a couple/three exposures for every composition.

This practice burns through the batteries pretty quick, but I’ve always got at least two fully charged extra ones in my camera bag.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You’re already there, so don’t rush. Look up, down, all around. Don’t just show up after traveling somewhere, click the shutter and say “I got it, that’s a day.” Keep looking. You’re there, and there’s plenty of time back at home later to not regret having captured more.

Try different exposure combinations. Do a focus stack. Maybe do a few HDR exposures. Narrow aperture versus wide open one. Keep working, don’t stop until it’s absolutely time to leave.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Go for textural shots. Storytelling involves “establishment shots” which are wide, close ups, mediums. Don’t stop shooting until you have to. Think about how movie directors do it. Try dutching the angle of the camera, put the thing on the ground and see what that looks like, is there anything you can safely climb on to get some perspective.

Shoot from your waist, from above your head. Up, down, all around.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What happens if you underexpose, or overexpose? Can you combine the two as a blended stack in photoshop? Take a minute and burn what the scene looked like visually into your memory. When you develop the RAW files later, that visual memory will come in handy.

Yes, the water actually did turn indigo blue in the late afternoon winter sunlight, as a passing high altitude cloud shadowed it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“One and done” is the statement of an egomaniac or an autist. Keep working. It’s digital photography, not film. Everything you shoot will be malleable when you’re back in front of the computer and processing the shots. Stretch the shutter speed out, or reduce it to a thousandth of a second. Maybe you can combine the two shots? Me? I like making waves look like smokey mist these days. You?

That’s my advice. What do I know, after all, as I’m just some schmuck with a camera, scuttling about. Filthy black raincoat blowing about in the wind, friendless and alone, walking down the waterfront.


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“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

April 8, 2022 at 11:00 am

escaping forever

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The NYC Ferry carried a humble narrator’s horrific form northwards towards the Bronx, where a desire to have a look at the College Point facing section of the “The Undiscovered Country” awaited. “Undiscovered Country” is how I refer to the Bronx. The reason for this is ultimately that if I want to go to that Borough from Queens, it’s a longer train trip than if I wanted to visit Westchester, despite it being a half mile away across the East River.

That’s the price of Manhattancentric transit, by the way. It’s easier to get to the City from Astoria than it is to go to Maspeth or Ridgewood. Forget about the Bronx, you need to go to midtown and then ride a local train all the way through Manhattan. The NYC Ferry negates this, and puts the unknown country within reach.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s Little Hellgate, which crosses the Bronx Kill, a tiny waterway that’s the only reminder of Randall’s and Wards Islands once being separate land masses. Notice the Amtrak train set on it heading north.

The ferry captain really opened up the throttle right about here, and I had to hold onto my hat for fear of having it torn away by the wind.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s been a Soundview stop on this ferry line since the day they inaugurated the service, one found on the south shore of an East River tributary called Westchester Creek. The new stop is on the north shore of Westchester Creek, and the stop is dubbed “Ferry Point Park” after the NYC Parks outpost found there.

Pictured above is the Bronx Whitestone Bridge, which is what really drew me in here. I don’t have many pictures of this one in my catalog, and this day trip involved the beginnings of an effort to fix that situation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s no good choice as to which path to follow along the water’s edge here. Either scuttle on the hard to walk in gravel, or on the muddy grass – it’s your call. I chose to pick out a path in the mud, as walking in loose gravel is sort of like walking in snow.

The park itself was actually quite well used, with joggers and families milling about and doing the sorts of things you’d associate with the human infestation – running, climbing, shouting – that kind of stuff.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A brief trek found me at the edge of the land, and under the Bronx Whitestone Bridge. Opened in 1939, designed by Othmar Amman, the Bronx Whitestone is a suspension bridge which carries six lanes of Interstate 678 over the East River. It’s towers are 377 feet tall, and with the approaches, the bridge is 3,700 feet long. The suspension section over the water is 2,300 feet long, and at the time of its opening this was the fourth longest bridge on the entire planet.

Owned by NYC but operated by the MTA Bridges and Tunnels Authority, it connects Whitestone, Flushing, and College Point in Queens with Throggs Neck in the Bronx.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Once I was happily situated, the tripod and filters were deployed and the camera shifted into its “landscape modality.” Why do I keep on mentioning this sort of technical thing, you may ask?

When I meet younger photographers these days, they are generally geared up for a singular mission and aren’t “Omnivores.” This isn’t the way it works, I tell them. Different circumstances will be encountered at every intersection you come to. Sometimes it’s the zoom lens you need, other situations demand a prime lens with an ND or Polarizer Filter. Be ready for everything that might come your way, and get practiced in the art of quickly changing gears without damaging the gear. Military people practice breaking down and cleaning their weapons blind folded, as an example. Be ready.

More tomorrow.


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“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

April 7, 2022 at 11:00 am

burning curiousity

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Tired and overwhelmed is a humble narrator, who is out taking pictures of the greatest city in the history of mankind this week and not attending any Zoom meetings or frankly doing anything he doesn’t want to do. Thereby, this week you’ll be encountering single images here at Newtown Pentacle, in pursuance of taking a short break from the normal blather.

Pictured above is the Bronx Whitestone Bridge, which opened for business on this date in 1939.


“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

April 29, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in Bronx, East River

Tagged with ,

agonizing mortality

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Three Boroughs today.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Right up there is the very first shot ever published at your Newtown Pentacle, which is an oldie but a goodie. Queensboro Bridge just before it’s centennial parade, and I was the only person on the upper level when this was captured. Archive shots will be greeting y’all for a bit while my smashed toe heals, an endeavor which is shaping up to be quite the ordeal. I’m heading over to the hospital later on to get it properly looked at, since – despite one of my hidden talents being first aid and the ability to tie off a sterile field dressing – things aren’t progressing as I’d like them to and I have to consult with somebody whose first name is Doctor.

I really cannot afford to do this, invoking the broken medical system here in NYC, but you have to do what you have to do and a possible infection related to a broken bone is not something you want to play around with.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m not sure what the name of that rail bridge is in the shot above, but I can tell you that it’s in the Bronx. Another archive shot, I captured it during another one of the Centennial events about ten years ago, celebrating the Madison Avenue Bridge.

Man, my foot is killing me today. The swelling has gone down, but that means that I can now fully experience and enjoy the injury.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s what it looks like when the ship or boat you’re on is entering the Gowanus Canal, and that’s the Hamilton Avenue Bridge. Got this one a while back on a Working Harbor Committee excursion to Gowanus Bay and the canal. My pal Joseph Alexiou was on the mike, who is someone you should be paying attention to on all matters involving the Gowanus and South Brooklyn in general.

Oww.


“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

November 1, 2019 at 1:00 pm

absolute possession

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I’d love to fly somewhere, but I got nowhere to go.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A last few shots from my ferry trip last week are on offer today. One of the interesting things about the Soundview Ferry route is that it crosses right under the LaGuardia Airport approaches for jets. That means you get to see passenger planes descending towards you with their wheels deployed, which is something that you don’t get to see very often without getting to meet the folks at Homeland Security.

As a note, I’ve never liked the moniker “Homeland Security” as it stinks of authoritarian and fascist terminology. Fatherland, Motherland, Homeland… language which propagates an “us and them” mentality, which is the sort of mentality that resulted in this whole “permanent terrorism” threat and “forever war” dealie in the first place. It’s also a lot harder to talk rationally about “abolishing ICE” if you present it as the abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement norms. I advocate for changing the operational orders of these two monolithic organizations, modernizing our immigration system, and spending giant buckets of cash on customs, which are all necessary and wise investments in the future.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve had a weird experience during this very busy first week of April, which is that I’ve been around a lot of people who actually like me. This blows the whole self perceived “hated and shunned outsider” thing. It is necessary for my personal immigration and customs enforcement, as well as my self perception that my psychological “ID” continually reminds my “EGO” that everybody actually hates me and that parties will be thrown when I’m no longer walking the planet.

To that end, I’ve been a wise cracking asshole every chance I get, hoping to make people hate me again. It doesn’t seem to be working. I just got the letter Monday from the Borough President’s office that I’ve been appointed to the local Community Board here in Astoria. No, really.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the dock at Rikers Island in the shot above. Just beyond is the former Politti Power Plant, and the Hell Gate Bridge, and the Manhattan skyline. Seriously, I’d recommend taking a ride on the Soundview route of the NYC Ferry, it’s super interesting and takes you to a seldom travelled part of NY Harbor. On June 15th, you’ll be able to ride this ferry route with me, but I’ll tell you about that outing at a later date.

Scroll down for a couple of announcements for public stuff I’ve got going at the end of April. “It doth begin again,” tour season does.


“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.


Events!

Slideshow and book signing, April 23rd, 6-8 p.m.

Join Newtown Creek Alliance at 520 Kingsland Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for a slideshow, talk, and book signing and see what the incredible landscape of Newtown Creek looks like when the sun goes down with Mitch Waxman. The event is free, but space is limited. Please RSVP here. Light refreshments served.

Click here to attend.

The Third Annual, All Day, 100% Toxic, Newtown Creekathon. April 28th.

The Creekathon will start at Hunter’s Point South in LIC, and end at the Kingsland Wildflowers rooftop in Greenpoint. It will swing through the neighborhoods of LIC, Blissville, Maspeth, Ridgewood, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint, visiting the numerous bridges that traverse the Creek. While we encourage folks to join us for the full adventure, attendees are welcome to join and depart as they wish. A full route map and logistics are forthcoming.This is an all day event. Your guides on this 12+ mile trek will be Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of the Newtown Creek Alliance, and some of their amazing friends will likely show up along the way.

Click here to attend.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 4, 2019 at 1:00 pm

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