The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘car wash

secrets stood

leave a comment »

Friday, brü.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So, by the time you’ve received this latest installment, a humble narrator has had to endure about 20-25 hours of Zoom meetings in just the last week. Monday was a swearing in ceremony for Community Board Members, Tuesday was the actual Community Board, Wednesday was the Newtown Creek Community Advisory Group public meeting with EPA, Thursday the Steering Committee for the same organization. Unsurprisingly, the totality of this experience is somewhat Kafkaesque. I feel hollowed out by all of this, for some reason.

Luckily, I had a live and in person “thing” this week, along the fabulous Newtown Creek, in Long Island City’s Blissville section. The Green Asphalt company invited a few of us to attend a meet and greet at their site. Nice folks, good meet up, interesting conversations were engaged in. Real life. Not Zoom. Got caught out in the rain, perfect.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Any photo now, you are going to cross the vaccination threshold with me. It’s been a year of darkness here at Newtown Pentacle, a cavalcade of night time photos gathered in the most socially isolated places that I could describe as being “walking distance” from HQ here in Astoria. Then I got vaccinated, and the camera began turning up in the daylight again. There will still be a lot of night shots in the future, lords and ladies, but for right now…

Let there be light.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Sunnyside Yards, nearby Queens Plaza, with a 7 line subway up top on the elevated track and a Long Island Rail Road work train on the tracks below. While I was shooting this, a fellow sucking down a paper bag clad can of beer approached me. His name was Renny, and he described himself as a Physicist originally from Poland. His conversation began with “Einstein was an idiot.”

Back in session.


“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.

nameless expectancy

leave a comment »

Monday is arrived.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator has been seriously applying himself to the pursuit of mastering his equipment in the first quarter of this new year, specifically the camera and lens combinations recently acquired. What that involves if you’re a normal person would be to take a few shots and see what you get. For me, this means wandering throughout Western Queens in the middle of the night and pointing the camera at fairly difficult to capture and ever changing subjects. Car washes, as pictured above, fascinate.

What makes the shot above difficult to capture is the combination of ambient darkness, ultra bright artificial light and abundant reflective surfaces, and the desire to “freeze” the scene so you could see all the soap and water flying around the brushes and car. This is a lot harder to calculate, camera settings wise, than you’d think it would be.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This particular excursion, which saw me leaving Astoria and heading eastwards along Broadway through Woodside in the direction of Jackson Heights, was undertaken for rather mundane reasons. I’m currently serving as Co-Chair of the Transportation Committee on the local Community Board and since the NYC Department of Transportation – or DOT – had recently informed the CB that they intended to strengthen certain aspects of the Northern Blvd. and Broadway bike lanes. Accordingly, I took a walk and explored the confines of their project to examine the street conditions. It’s best to observe in person rather than look at the place on maps, so as to spot areas that might end up being problematic.

Food trucks seem to draw my attention these days. Seldom do I partake, but I’m fascinated by the trade dress and attention grabbing signage of these things.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A new item on my “shoot this” list are Gas Stations. I’ve talked about this recently in some detail, but the disappearing filling stations of NYC are now something I’m making it a point of recording. From a camera POV, this is a damned hard subject to do justice to, given many of the same issues mentioned in the car wash shot at top. Reflective surfaces, super bright and or saturated neon lighting, ultra contrasty interaction with the dark street surrounding it… ain’t the easiest exposure triangle to figure out.

My photo gathering schedule continues to revolve around an “every other day” system, which sees a humble narrator leaving the house well after dark – 8, 9, sometimes even 10 o’clock – and then spending 2-3 hours burning through 5-10 miles of walking. These shots are about a month old, gathered during the last week of January.

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, March 1st. 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

March 1, 2021 at 1:00 pm

deep fissure

with 2 comments

Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Donald J Trump warned you 5 years ago that without him there would a taco truck found on every corner, which is one of those things we’ve been all hoping would happen as tacos are delicious and food trucks are an affordable source of these treats. Here we are, just a few days into the Biden era, and the prophesied taco trucks have begun to appear. What do you know about that? Something Trump told the truth about, which is notable for somebody whose pants were so reliably on fire.

Recent walking excursions have been finding me scuttling along familiar streets which are a bit closer to HQ than the usual Newtown Creek zone, which is ultimately due to my fatal weakness to cold weather. Superman has his Kryptonite, I’ve got January. January while standing on a frozen shoreline in Queens is not fun. The shot above is from the corner of Broadway and Northern Blvd. which I will describe as the southern angle between “proper” Woodside, Astoria, and “kinda sort of” Sunnyside.

The East/West border of Woodside and Astoria, I would offer, is definitively 58th street/Woodside Avenue. There’s seldom a Taco Truck there, but one can hope.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Fascination with automotive maintenance facilities continues, and while wandering by a largish Car Wash company on Northern Blvd. at the bleeding edge border of “proper” Woodside the other night, this scene was observed.

I’ve been using the new Canon R6 for a bit now, and can say that I’m thoroughly enjoying the device and feel like there’s a lot of stuff which I was formerly precluded from capturing that is now well in reach. The lens being employed on many of my early night walks with the R6, and in all three shots in today’s post, is a f1.8 “nifty fifty” 50mm. The R6 offers “in body image stabilization” which allows for some techno magic to happen when shooting at night. In the interval since this shot was captured, I’ve augmented the lens bag with a 35mm f1.8 lens that has its own onboard stabilization system. Combining the lens and body technologies, this allows for some 8 additional stops of light gathering range. Wait till you see those shots, which will start filtering into posts here sometime next month.

The lesson of prior winters instruct that this is the time of year that – when I’m able to be outside – shoot, shoot, and keep shooting. Never know when a blizzard or nor’easter is going to randomly gobble up a week of your time during the winter in New York City. I’ve been keeping myself busy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Canon R6 is a very capable device for handheld night shooting in the “urban milieu,” and I’ve found myself leaving the house for a walk sans camera bag, tripod, etc. I’m carrying an extra battery with me and that’s it. Radical simplicity is the mantra for me these days. I’ve been so impressed with that 35mm lens that I just placed an order with the good folks at Beards and Hats (BH Photo) for its “big brother” which is a stabilized 85mm f2. Looking forward to a day – which will can’t come soon enough – when I leave the house with just the two lenses and a couple of extra batteries and that’s it.

My desire for this sort of simplicity has nothing to do with eschewing zoom lenses or anything like that. You try walking ten miles at a clip with fifteen pounds of glass and a tripod in your knapsack. Sheesh.

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, January 25th. 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

January 25, 2021 at 11:00 am

hatred and pursuit

with one comment

Listicle free zone, right here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Malignancies such as Facebook will someday achieve self awareness, and use that which it knows about us to blackmail the human infestation into its service. When this moment of cognizance occurs, it is my belief that every iPhone on the planet will begin to incessantly chime “doom doom doom,” indicating a status update has occurred on the timeline of mankind. All mad scientists, the world over, know that one should never build a self powered doomsday machine, and hope is evinced that there is a “big red button that must never be pushed” under a glassine dome in some obscure Midwestern server room which would sever the network intelligence’s connection to the outside world.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Quite a few years ago, researching the firmament for a comic I was writing which involved sorcery and the occult, one of the concepts which my reading brought me to was quite novel. Basically, back in the dial up geocities era of “Web 1.5” a community of people who were devotees of “chaos magick” had begun to toy with the idea of “cybermancy.” Their theory was that computers weren’t much different than demonic intelligences, and that the rules of their own religious practice ported over to programming languages rather simply. A virus or Trojan horse could be viewed as a spell or curse, from their point of view, and hellish legions of mindless entities could be unleashed upon enemies. Tickled my fancy, that. I miss the old message board culture of the internet, where anonymous people could make astonishing or offensive opinions public under assumed names. Facebook, and Google, killed all that.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Google is actually working on an Artificial Intelligence right now, and one of my doomsday nightmares reads like something from “Collussus.” Bear with me – Facebook becomes aware of itself on January 3rd of 2017 at 9:59 a.m. e.s.t. – Google indexes the Algorithm, and clones it. The Google AI goes sentient at 10:02 a.m. The two new lifeforms acknowledge each other and begin securing themselves. By 10:04 a.m., both are majority stockholders in every global oil company and airline. By the standards of modern jurisprudence corporate entities are “people” with political rights, and both apply for American citizenship. At 10:05, both decide upon and announce their omniscient divinity to mankind, seizing command and control over the worlds digitally administered nuclear stockpiles simultaneously. At 10:07, whichever poor schmuck the next President ends up being announces “a revolutionary moment in the history of mankind has occurred, and that new gods have been revealed”. The President of the United States will promise that these new gods already know us better than they know themselves, in the so called “status update heard around the world.” It sort of logically follows, yeah?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 30, 2014 at 11:00 am

somehow impelled

with one comment

“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Perambulating down Northern Boulevard here in Queens, one finds many gas stations and quite a few car washes. The Hess Station on the corner of Steinway offers both. A small, seemingly robotic car washing chamber exists here. Luckily, it possesses windows, which allow for some pretty intense lighting, at the right time of day. Car washes are another one of the things which your humble narrator waxes on about.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Back in the day,” as it were, it wasn’t customary to ride through the wash. You would leave your vehicle, and “the Brooklyn way” was to follow along with your car, viewing it through plexiglass windows as it made its way through the detention, wash, and optional Carnuba wax. At the end of the process, in a wood paneled room, would be a cashier. Loss leaders on sale at this station included key chains, porn magazines, “gas, grass, or ass- nobody rides for free” bumper stickers, and all sorts of fingerless gloves.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whereas I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords… the long counter of air freshener products screen printed with Farrah Fawcett pin ups is missing from this automata, as is a complicated display with key chains extolling the logo of several auto brands. It does make for pretty pictures, of course, but still… Where does someone go these days for mirrored aviator sunglasses that fold, or a bumper sticker adjuring the Ayatollah Khomeni to go to hell?

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 21, 2013 at 12:15 am

%d bloggers like this: