The Newtown Pentacle

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equally garrulous

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Merry Christmas, which is also Shabbos.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just a few shots from the walk home, after visiting Hells Gate. I saw a few teenagers walking by, so I hid behind a thing for a while, cowering in apprehension of their intention or attention.

Teenagers… no impulse control.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Bosses renamed Mighty Triborough a few years back, rechristening it as the Robert F Kennedy Memorial Bridge, and this shot depicts the area “Down Under” its off ramp. That would make this “Down Under the Robert F Kennedy Bridge Onramp” or “DURFKBO.”

I don’t know what the deal is with that glowing portal on the Triborough. I’m scared of it, and I don’t know why. It has a sinister portent.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Merry Christmas, Lords and Ladies. Tomorrow is a good opportunity for having a Kwazy Kwanzaa, don’t miss out.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, December 21st. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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

December 25, 2020 at 11:00 am

diverse states

with one comment

Full throttle Thursday, and Merry Christmas.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in some detail yesterday, I’m playing around with the settings on the new camera, and trying to do so in visually interesting but lonely places. Part of this endless drivel about photographic process has mentioned the concept of combining multiple shallow depth of field and varied exposure shots into a single image, like the one above.

There are 38 individual photos incorporated into the shot above, and that’s what it looks like when a tugboat goes by at Hells Gate… what… how are you filling all the empty pandemic hours you’re experiencing? Sheesh, on Xmas eve, too.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My plan for the holiday involves rewatching several episodes of the Star Wars “Clone Wars” series. As I’ve got the time this year, I’m trying to watch all of Star Wars in the order of story continuity, and having suffered through the first two of the prequels, its time to nestle into the winter with the cartoon series (which is arguably the best Star Wars ever done, imho). Don’t judge, I was a nerd before it was cool to be a nerd. The hipsters are nerd poseurs. Imagine giving a shit about how you look or what people think of you. Haircuts, the lot of them.

Pictured is another focus stacked but entirely different shot, depicting the Hell’s Gate Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Mission accomplished, the camera was converted back to handheld mode, which is a process so incredibly simplified with the new unit that I kept on thinking that I missed something. My walk home involved crossing Astoria Park. It was an uneventful crossing with no wackadoodle interaction. I had to pee, and the air smelled like marijuana smoke. After finding a tree to water, and breathing in the atmospherics deeply, one was able to relax and slouch roughly into the scuttle back to HQ.

Merry Christmas, y’all, from the other fat guy with a white beard – the one in the filthy black raincoat.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, December 21st. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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

December 24, 2020 at 11:00 am

rather undersized

with one comment

Woh, it’s Wednesday again, and FESTIVUS!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The images in today’s post represent a great deal of “in the field” improvisation and a minimum amount of in the studio photoshop work. They were done entirely “within camera,” which means that I didn’t do any retouching to them. Saying that, the gathering of these shots saw me changing exposure and focal points all wildly nilly. I still haven’t perfected the technique behind all this – although shots you won’t be seeing until 2021, which I gathered just the other night, suggest that the underlying logic governing what I’m doing here is finally revealing itself – but I’m pretty happy with these results. This is what I was hoping for, while I was freezing my tootsies off at the waterfront in December, so hooray.

Focus and exposure stacking, that’s what this thing I’m working on is called. The shot above was captured at f1.8, and if you click through to the original at Flickr you’ll be able to see individual rivets.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Frequent commenter George the Atheist, who is a knowledgable photographer in his own right, chides me often that I should just get on with it and do a long exposure. One often uses this technique, and long exposure has been a “thing” for me for quite a while now. Problem with long shots involving water, however, is that you lose all the surface detail in the waterbody as the long exposure shots render its as a mirror. This has it’s charms, of course, but I want the mirror AND some detail in the shot as well.

That’s what I mean when mentioning the term “intentionality.” Intentionality is the difference between a snapshot and a photograph, and the difference between “I meant to do that” and “I got lucky here.” Serendipity is awesome, but so is having an idea and then making it real.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If I was a patient person, I’d be photographing birds or something. I’m not a patient person, so I didn’t stand there at the East River (during mid December) long enough for a railroad Locomotive to arrive and cross the Hell Gate Bridge. That would have made this one of my favorite photos of 2020. Instead, I was slavishly punching buttons and moving the various settings about on the new camera, trying to bend it to my will.

There are twelve f1.8 2 second exposures ganged up into that shot above. Around four of them are seriously underexposed, one is highly over exposed, and the rest are on meter. I love that the entire image is sharp, that there are both mirror reflections and surface texture in the shot, and there’s a fullness to its contrast. I’m not stoked about the blown out lights in the Bronx or all along the horizon. I’ve since worked out how to shoot around that. I’m also really interested in the wave patterns, and plan on experimenting with that a bit next time I’m at Hells Gate.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, December 21st. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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

December 23, 2020 at 11:00 am

ultimate step

with 4 comments

Tuesdays are a season all their own.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

During these pandemic months, when I’ve gone out for my constitutional walks, my toes have been generally pointed towards the Newtown Creek industrial business zone. The reasoning behind that is that a) I’m obsessed, and b) people and cooties.

People are infested with viruses, and therefore if I go to places with few or no people I’m less likely to contract a respiratory plague. I know, this sounds crazy to you Liberpublicans or Republitarians, but I’ve given up trying to convince ideologues about anything of late. If you don’t believe in COVID, don’t worry, the virus believes in you. I know 50-60 people who have had it, and by all reports – the experience is quite unpleasant even if you don’t die. Mazel Tov.

A new skill I’ve developed, thereby, during this interval is the ability to completely avoid all other human beings – even when passing through a fairly densely populated area like the 31st street/Hoyt Avenue corridors here in Astoria. I’ve become like a phantom in a black raincoat, a specter visible only to the wackadoodles.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My goal for this particular evening was to randomly point the new camera at different spots around the neighborhood for a bit, and then set up the tripod at Astoria Park’s Shore Road in pursuance of “getting technical” while photographing the wonders of the Hell’s Gate section of the East River.

Along the way, I spotted these two homes sporting rather tasteful holiday decorations, a fine example of what I call “ChristmAstoria.” As a note, I’m always rather uncomfortable when photographing somebody’s home. It would likely freak me out if I saw some ghostly creature in black taking pictures of HQ.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you’re wondering what I mean by “getting technical,” the shot above isn’t it. These were all handheld shots in today’s post, whereas the ones you’ll see tomorrow and Thursday were a bit more intentional in terms of composition and camera technique.

Pictured above is the Hell Gate Bridge in the distance, with a section of the Triborough Complex’s East River Suspension Bridge visible at top.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, December 21st. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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

December 22, 2020 at 11:00 am

inevitable razing

with 2 comments

Merry Monday, true believers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found one wandering about the Astoria section of Queens. While I was waiting for the N train pictured above to enter the frame, some fellow walked up to me and said “excuse me.” Figuring that he was about to ask for directions, I said “yeah, wassup.” The fellow then informed me of his nationality – Egyptian – and that he was hated by the local population of both his nationality and by those Astorians who originate from the nation of Morocco. He continued on, informing me that the North African community of Astoria had forced him to move out of the neighborhood some eight times, and that he intended on buying a gun which he would use to shoot precisely fifty people in pursuit of vengeance for his suffering. I let him know that I thought this was a bad plan and that he should rethink things.

I then said “if you’ll excuse me, I have to take a picture of that train,” which seemed to form a good enough or acceptable excuse for me to stop talking to him. He continued along 31st street in a generally southern direction, whereas I headed north and then west after capturing the image above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Wackadoodle” is the word one such as myself uses to describe the inebriates and sanity compromised creatures of the street I often encounter. 99% of the time, wackadoodles are entirely harmless and fairly sympathetic creatures. You have to worry about the 1%, but part of the skill set of a New Yorker can be described as being “teflon” and not allowing anything to stick to you.

Just the other night, there was a superficially East Asian and quite middle aged woman who was pushing three loaded shopping carts down Northern Blvd. She would move one of the trio of carts forward while laughing maniacally, then as she walked backwards to move the next cart her exhortation mimicked the “caw caw” sound of gulls. Forward motion saw a return to hilarious and somewhat maniacal cackling. By “maniacal cackling” I mean literal the “HA HA HA heh HA Ha” sort of laughter, which was audible some two blocks away.

Wackadoodles abound.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has been looking over his shoulder more often than usual in the last few months. There’s a lot of desperation out there in the world right now, and a significant population of people who struggle with their sanity under the best of circumstances are drowning right now under all of the stressors introduced by the pandemic. Wish I could say I’m being paranoid, or succumbing to my own psychological and mental handicaps, but I’m not.

As a note, long time friends will tell you that a humble narrator is an absolute magnet for the wackadoodles. For one reason or another, I seem to be considered quite approachable by these folks. I’ve had to develop a series of ” Teflon dodges,” accordingly.

My favorite one is to say “Listen, they’re watching and videotaping me right now bro, get the eff out of here before they recognize you too.” “The President has his hand in my pocket, yo.” That usually gets me a knowing look or a wink, and the wackadoodle wanders off, feeling that he’s met a comrade in arms.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, December 21st. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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

December 21, 2020 at 1:05 pm

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