The Newtown Pentacle

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bodily dislodgement

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October 21st, and I was continuing my exploration of a few spots in College Point and Whitestone which seemed promising. These were located during a session I spent with Google Maps’ street view feature. The 1961 Throgs Neck Bridge is what it depicts. The Google map said I was in a dog park, but it was actually just a parking lot alongside a parkway.

The hour was growing a bit late, and plans to meet Our Lady of the Pentacle back in Astoria were in the offing, so I packed up my troubles in the old kit bag. Yes, I did, indeed, “smile, smile, smile.”

For those of you under the age of 1,000, that’s a jokey reference to this song.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October 22nd saw me in Flushing, at the Queens Botanical Garden.

There were pumpkins.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

October 25th and I was scheduled to spend a day with one of my closest friends driving around Southern Brooklyn, but it was very foggy when I left the house about 8:30 a.m. My ultimate meetup destination was in Park Slope, and there’s an obvious way to get there by car from Astoria, one which unfortunately involves sitting in a lot of Manhattan bound traffic on a certain expressway that connects Brooklyn and Queens.

I decided to go there via the less obvious but more interesting route, by driving to Ridgewood and then hanging a right and then a left or two in Bushwick and then proceeding through that central part of Brooklyn which nobody ever talks about these days. Along my way to the first right in Ridgewood, I crossed Newtown Creek and couldn’t resist a shot or two of the Grand Street Bridge all cloaked up in mist.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The new car has a moon roof. I don’t know what the actual difference between a sun roof and a moon roof is, but there you are. As I was driving along, whenever I got stuck at a light, I’d shove the camera up through the moon roof and turn the camera’s LED screen to a convenient angle so I could compose and record a quick shot.

That’s Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza, all fogged up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I did the same thing with the camera and moon roof on my way home. The fog had cleared by the afternoon, and the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself had burst into view. I was driving down Flatbush Avenue, this time headed in the direction of the aforementioned expressway betwixt Brooklyn and Queens.

I’ve been doing this sort of shot a bunch the last couple of weeks, as I’ve been driving a lot since receiving the car. It’s an interesting perspective for me, since the position of the lens to the car’s roof as it stands relative to the ground – if it were “eye level” – would indicate that I’m about six inches taller than I actually am.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An errand got me off the expressway and into the Woodside and Jackson Heights zone, where I had to weave an automotive path through the various “improvements” to traffic flow offered by the City in recent years. While driving down Roosevelt Avenue, a splotch of pigeon scat landed on the hood of my car, and I decided that it would be good idea to close the moon roof.

Hey, they say that’s lucky, having a pigeon poop on you.


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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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 18, 2022 at 11:00 am

never swerved

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few more shots from the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn in today’s post. As described, this is one of the areas I’ve been avoiding throughout the pandemic months due to population density. During this interval, an enormous real estate feeding frenzy has taken place and the north western section of the ancient neighborhood has been rendered utterly unrecognizable as compared to its former state.

For context, this shot looks across Newtown Creek at the Hunters Point section of Long Island City where a similar frenzy has occurred.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While shooting these, the tug Sea Fox thrust rudely into my point of view, and I just cannot help myself from cracking put a few shots in such circumstance.

I was mainly using two zoom lenses for capturing these images, both of which were outfitted with ND or Neutral Density filters. This sort of filter acts as a sunglass for the lens and offers a great deal of creative control over the final appearance of the photo. This sort of device is critical for challenging environments like the foggy and misty afternoon of August 1st.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The filters also allow me to “slow down” the exposure settings, which is how you get the smoothed out water with a somewhat misty character along its tide line. Surreal, I say, surreal.

There’s a new public space along this waterfront, dubbed the Greenpoint Landing Esplanade, which offers commanding views of the Manhattan skyline and Long Island City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Of all the new construction, the one project I find architectural interest in is this pair of cantilevered buildings. The development is called 227 West Street, and those are 30 and 40 story towers. My usual critique of the banal luxury towers in this “zone” sounds like this: glass rhombuses thrust rudely at the sky. This cantilever deal is visually interesting.

Given all of the recent construction in the area, and the huge investments involved from both private and governmental entities, it’s a shame that there’s only one project hereabouts where you say “hey, look at that.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just before the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself descended behind New Jersey, the fog and mist suddenly began to break up and rise into the clouds.

I cracked out a few more exposures with the camera set up for the prior foggy atmospherics and then prepared to move on with the gear set up for handheld “photo walk” mode.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You could actually see the humidity rising up out of Manhattan’s canyons and forming into low clouds.

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

August 29, 2022 at 11:00 am

silly reasons

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A low lying deck of clouds and fog had accompanied the arrival of a cold front in the superheated atmosphere of August 1st. NYC had been in the grip of a heat wave for the week prior, and a second interval of high temperature and humidity was forecast to begin within 24 hours.

I cannot resist a foggy or misty day, as it makes for interesting photography weather.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My strategy for the last few years has been to avoid crowded places where the human infestation is impossible to avoid. Accordingly, while I’ve been avoiding crowds, Greenpoint’s Western shoreline has been transformed by the real estate people.

Honestly, it’s shocking how much has changed here. That’s Commercial Street pictured above, looking west towards Franklin Avenue and the East River. There’s even a new series of waterfront paths and esplanades that have accompanied this new construction. The development scheme is called “Greenpoint Landing.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking across Newtown Creek at Long Island City from one of these new paths, that construction site will be a new hospital. Just kidding, it’s going to be more luxury apartment buildings.

That construction area used to be a thriving Asian supermarket warehousing business, the home of “God’s Love We Deliver” which collected unused restaurant food and redistributed it to the needy, and the garages for NBC Television News’ broadcast vehicle fleet. We need more luxury housing, they say, which will cause the wealthy to move out of tenement buildings and thereby free up those spaces for the less wealthy.

Trickle down real estate.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Did you know that the United States destroys millions of gallons of dairy milk annually in order to keep the dairy industry and milk prices from collapsing under their own industriousness and over supply? In light of that, has the price of milk ever gone down in your lifetime, despite the abundance of supply? Just saying.

That’s a new luxury tower rising on the former site of the Jack Frost sugar factory in Queens, right at the intersection of current superfund site Newtown Creek and future superfund site East River.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s all so depressing.

I should mention that it’s a real pickle capturing this sort of misty and foggy atmosphere, photography wise.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Every few minutes, a bank of fog would crack open and piss down a few rain drips. Drips, not drops.

Saying that, as I was shooting, it was growing brighter and brighter and a mild bit of breeze began to pop up. More next week, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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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 26, 2022 at 11:00 am

fumbling in

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Monday

– 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

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 11, 2022 at 11:00 am

blasphemous unthinkability

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My day on the NYC Ferry was timed to coincide with sunset, which has been a bit of an obsession for me this spring. Normally, I eschew the sort of monotonous obsession most photography people have with the solar cycle, but given that my time in NYC is now finite and the clock is officially ticking…

What the hell, why not?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Jamaica Bay is the body of water that follows Brooklyn’s south eastern coastline, and is fairly contained and defined as being north of the Rockaway Peninsula. It’s the water you see when you’re driving on the Belt Parkway, or landing at JFK Airport. Its beaches and tidal channels are where a young but already humble narrator used to go to escape from his parents, riding on his Apollo brand 3 Speed bike.

Funny how a kid used to be able to just ride a bike in NYC without dedicated bike lanes in “car country,” isn’t it?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The NYC Ferry, as mentioned a couple of days ago, really opens up the engines in this area. Given the shallow bottom of Jamaica Bay, you encounter real wave action hereabouts, and the Ferry’s speed couple with that saw me bouncing around in my seat. Let that one sink in, I was actually sitting down. That’s how fast the boat moves on the Rockaway route.

I’m planning on renting a car next month and driving around the old neighborhood one last time. That’s my other news… I’ve got an active and no longer expired Drivers License again. Hey – if you’re planning on moving out of NYC to America, you need a car.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My timing for this leg of my day on the ferry was working out perfectly. Everything according to plan, I would be standing on a dock in Manhattan just after 7 p.m., and at the time of year which these shots were captured – sunset was going to happen just about 8 p.m.

What was also great about this particular day is that I didn’t have to worry about anyone else’s comfort or bathroom schedule or any of that sort of crap. Crotchety bullshit is just difficult for me to suborn these days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m 54 years old. I haven’t exactly taken care of myself over the years and there’s lots and lots of physical issues that I deal with on a daily basis. I’ve been bitching and moaning about my trick left foot publicly, but that’s the tip of a god damned iceberg as far as what I’m feeling on a daily basis, even with my somewhat legendary tolerance for pain levels. I actually get tired now, have to sleep 7-8 hours religiously, and I don’t have the ability to absorb constant punishment that I used to count on anymore. A mild case of frostbite back in February slowed me down for an entire month with numbed fingers, for instance. A month!

I used to heal like the comic book character Wolverine. Not anymore.

Saying that, toughen the freak up and stop complaining about things you can’t control. Get on with it. Stop bitching or just stay home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bah!

At any rate, the NYC Ferry from Rockaway arrived at Pier 11 in Manhattan just as the East River light show began. I had been riding the system for about four hours, spent an entire afternoon and early evening on the water, and all it cost me was $5.50. Even better, the boats have snack bars, and bathrooms.

Back next week with more wonders 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 24, 2022 at 11:00 am

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