The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘blizzard

anytime, anywhere

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A few shots from last week’s blizzard.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given a humble narrator’s legendary vulnerability to cold, as you might have guessed, I spent most of the blizzard last Saturday firmly ensconced in the steam heated walls of Newtown Pentacle HQ in Astoria. I did venture outside during the afternoon to visit the bodega across the street for breakfast cereals, I like a bowl of Cheerios with a banana cut into it, and to vouchsafe a bar of chocolate for Our Lady of the Pentacle.

When venturing into the cold waste, I discovered that at least one Chinese restaurant was open, and offering delivery services. Early bird gets the worm and all that, but… Jaysis.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There were those who had decided to try and motor about, this was before the Mayor banned automotive traffic, but they were soundly rebuffed by road conditions. It was actually kind of difficult just to crack out a couple of exposures due to wind blown snow, which tended to “spot” the lens, let alone cross the street.

Luckily, most of the neighbors didn’t attempt to drive, and the streets were eerily quiet hereabouts.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The only thing you saw much of were Municipal vehicles like the ambulance pictured above. One neat thing was that everyone in the neighborhood was given the opportunity to recognize the undercover vehicles which the 114th pct utilizes after the Mayor’s ban on travel was enacted.

After 2:30 p.m., anything you saw on Broadway was basically “blue” or “red.” Or Green, Orange, and a White in the case of the sanitation guys.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having purchased my Cheerios and Chocolate, I began to scuttle back towards home, and one of the hundreds of plow trucks operated by DSNY rolled by. The annual Astoria problem has begun again, incidentally. As happened last year, and the year before – recycling pickup was cancelled due to Martin Luther King day. Recycling in my neighborhood is Sunday night’s problem, so it is up to us to store the stuff in anticipation of the following weekend. Now, we’ve got a blizzard’s worth of snow, so recycling pickup is again postponed till next week.

Last year, a series of similar cold weather events and legal holidays pushed the storage of the entire month of January’s recycling trash until well past President’s day in February.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in HQ, and with no intentions of leaving the place, one nevertheless used the fortuitous positioning of the building relative to the prevailing wind in pursuance of a few shots in the evening. As you’ll recall, this is when the storm really got rolling. I set up a tripod and all my night shooting gear, but in the end elected to use low light techniques for the shots.

The long exposure methodology effectively eliminated the falling snow from the shots, and since I wanted to have a “truer” record of the event – I went for high ISO and a faster shutter speed to capture the drifting snowflakes. As is always the case, getting the color temperature of the light was critical, and for the new LED street lights that’s 4300 Kelvin.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Got to hand it to the neighbors, they were fighting this storm while it was at full force and attempting to keep their cars from being completely buried in the drifts. The different technologies of street lighting which were discussed a couple of weeks ago – the old school orange yellow sodium lights versus the new school led blue colored lights can be discerned in the shot above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The new school LED’s actually performed quite well during the storm, I would add.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The buildup of a shelf of snow on my window sill while shooting inspired me to shove a couple of flashlights into it and get a macro shot of the translucent accumulation. These lights are part of what I call my “ghetto lighting” rig. Ghetto as in I have zero funds for real lighting and therefore have been forced to jury rig a set, which given my normal shooting habits – needs to easily portable. The warm light and blue light are formed by identical and quite powerful LED flash lights which can pump out an amazing 300 Lumens and are powered by just 3 AAA batteries each. That’s actually kind of amazing, but I’m a flashlight geek, and will jump up and down if you say “Cree.”

The warmer light is created by the flashlight having an old pill bottle gaff taped to its head.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 29, 2016 at 11:00 am

Scenes from a Snowpocalypse

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– photos by Mitch Waxman

The recent and much commented on Blizzard of December 28, 2010- which we in the frozen zone of Astoria refer to as “The Snowpocalypse”- produced many memorable moments around the ancient village. Made especially clear was that the internet, designed to withstand a nuclear attack, has become vulnerable to seasonal weather in the hands of corporate stewards such as Time Warner Cable.

Here’s a few photos of the experience, and notice the Daily News Truck- which was stuck in the middle of 44th street from 4:30 AM to 11PM and was finally towed out by a block long hydraulic chain. The auto in the second to last shot zipped up the block- the wrong way- and got stuck into the very spot that the truck was in. Some of these shots are unforgivably grainy, as they were captured at extremely high iso speeds.

Incidentally, the iPhone shot of the truck being towed finally out is here.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 9, 2011 at 12:15 am


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Astoria still suffers from an information blackout, as Time Warner Cable and to a larger extent- the City of New York- have once again forgotten we’re here. Most of our streets are unplowed, despite the fact that the citizenry has abided with law and custom by clearing the sidewalks. Vehicles remain stuck, including an ambulance which was mired down for an astounding 20 hours. The Daily News truck in the shot above came to a halt at 4:30 am yesterday, and the tow truck in the shot had just freed it at 11:00 pm. Shots and posts were all done on my iPhone as the main computer is isolated by Time Warner’s inability to forecast that it might snow during the winter.
We’ve seen many interesting things the last couple of days, as soon as I’m web capable again- I’ll be posting.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 29, 2010 at 12:15 am

Time warner cable outage

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Forgive the lack of formatting, and the normal presentation- as this message is being sent via my phone. The snowpocalypse, as manifested in the silken lanes of Astoria, has led to a major Time Warner cable outage. Since Sunday night at approximately 11pm, both cable and Internet connectivity went blank. The natives are restless and deprived of emptytainment, whereas I am frustrated by inability to “do my thing”.
I’ll be back as soon as the very worst of New York’s utility monopolies lets me get online again. Feels a bit like the Great Astoria Blackout of 2006, actually.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 28, 2010 at 2:09 am

Posted in newtown creek

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