The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Fall Foliage

wail hastily

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just because I was walking home from LIC’s Dutch Kills didn’t mean I was done taking photos, nor was I done experimenting with the focus stacking technique. Got this one on Thomson Avenue, corner of Skillman, across the street from LaGuardia Community College. I had become so focused on shooting that I had lost track of time, and this is about the moment I discovered that it was well after midnight and that my camera battery only had two bars of power left on it. Thing about this particular technique is that every single image represents 9 or 10 individual shots, so it’s pretty easy to chew through your camera memory cards and battery charge in short order.

Oops. I carry extra batteries with me, of course, so no big deal. Saying that, wow, I was something like 300 plus shots and six hours into the walk and I hadn’t even realized it. Additionally, this is also when I realized that despite the fact that the audiobook I was listening to at the start of the walk had long ago concluded, I still had my headphones in for some reason. Missing time, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My toes were promptly turned towards HQ, and the slogging home section of my night. I had covered a lot of the same ground at the start of the evening, so photo opportunity on the way home was fairly limited. Saying that, there were a couple of shots that jumped out at me – like this little tree sapling that had somehow rooted itself alongside the fenceline of the Sunnyside Yards. I love this sort of sight – indomitability of nature and all that.

I was still playing around with the focus stacking technique mentioned in earlier posts this week, which allowed for a terrific amount of captured light and tint.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This image depicts the western looking pov from Skillman Avenue, where you can see the Queens Plaza South and North truss bridge over the rail tracks, and the elevated 7 line above the roadway. While gathering the focus stacking shots for this one, four distinct passages of rail train sets rolled through the frame, leaving behind light streaks to mark their passage.

Man, I just love Long Island City.

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, November 16th. 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

November 19, 2020 at 11:00 am

chanting mournfully

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dutch Kills is a tributary of the fabulous Newtown Creek whose course runs entirely through Long Island City. The canalized waterway is hideously polluted, and you should thank your lucky stars that photographs do not transmit odoriferous information. These photos were gathered while standing on the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge, and were created by a fairly complicated bit of “Camera Fu.” A regular one shot image is normally captured using some combination of aperture/sensitivity/speed. The images in today’s post are actually several images that are married together using a technique called “focus stacking.” This technique allowed me to use a wide open aperture of f1.8 – which would normally be quite blurry in all but a few inches of focal area. Instead, by moving the point of focus around the composition and capturing up to 9 images in one compositional set up, I’m able to combine them all during the developing phase in photoshop.

Focus stacking in low light allows for dramatically shorter exposure times, and also allows changing lighting conditions to mix and merge. The technique also helps with getting control over a particular pickle encountered in urban low light photos – harsh street and passing vehicle lights.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The wider aperture and quicker exposure time also combats a flaw which long exposure shots suffer from, which is the erasure of any texture for the water in favor of rendering a smooth mirror like surface. The waters of Dutch Kills are typically quite still and mirror like to start with, and they really don’t need any assistance on this front. It’s about getting the photo to look the way you want it to, right?

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, one was ironically seeking out fall foliage here in the concrete devastations of LIC, but then I found some.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m looking forward to experimenting with this technique over the winter months, actually. A few interesting results have been arrived at by mixing exposures during photo stacks, as well as the focal points. A seriously underexposed photo mixed in with a series that had blow out whites due to street lighting saw a lot of that underexposed detail get mixed into the final product that was lost in the “proper” exposures. Interesting. Very interesting.

Never, ever, stop learning and experimenting with your tools.

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, November 16th. 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

November 17, 2020 at 11:00 am

rat tracks

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s fall foliage time in Long Island City, so capturing the bucolic splendor of the Industrial Business Zone is on my menu this week. Admittedly, there’s a definite deficit in these parts – vegetation wise. You take what you can get, I always say.

This shot is from Skillman Avenue, nearby a company called “Propper” which seems to manufacture and distribute military and utility oriented clothing (army pants and service uniforms) that have more than the usual number of pockets sewn into them. I wear army pants most of the time for both comfort and utility, but order a different brand than propper, one that includes a lot of velcro closures on those many pockets. My particular brand also has several internal pockets sewn into the velcro closure outer ones, which comes in handy when I want to leave the camera bag at home. Between the pants and my trusty Scott E Vest sweatshirts, I’m packing (literally) 39 distinct and secure pockets at all times. Literally – I’m Mr. Big Pants.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One lost track of time on this particular lonely walk around a nocturnal Long Island City, what with the unseasonably warm November weather last week. Additionally, the route I chose successfully avoided the presence of any other humans somehow, so possibly my missing time involved an abduction by aliens. Solitude is no mean trick, given how this section of Western Queens which I call home counts amongst the most densely populated sections of North America.

Under normal circumstance, solitude is reached for and desired, during a pandemic season – it’s nepenthe.

This particular route isn’t exactly unfamiliar to longtime readers of Newtown Pentacle, of course, and I’ve been marching along it throughout the pandemic. I’ve actually been making it a point of visiting certain spots at different seasonal intervals, which has been kind of a “thing” for me to do. We’ve all had to find something to do during this weird interval, I would imagine. Adapt or die, right?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given that it looks like the long dreaded second wave of Covid is upon us here in the big City, I’d like to join the chorus and remind all to be preventative and careful as you move around the world in the next few months. I know a LOT of people who experienced the virus during the first wave and even the folks who didn’t end up in the hospital due to it described a pretty undesirable experience. Who wants to get sick, anyway?

It’s going to be a very cold winter, after a very hot summer and a definitively annoying autumn. I imagine somewhere around the middle of December we are going to start hearing about a baby boom, as December 13th will make it 9 months since this all started and “Netflix and chill” became a lifestyle. Damn.

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, November 16th. 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

November 16, 2020 at 11:00 am

very small

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Fall Foliage, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

First off, a brief grammatical note: the word “foliage” is pronounced thusly – foal-e-ajj or “foalyaj”- not “foylyaj.” This is something that drives one such as myself crazy, much like the common mispronunciation (favored by a certain recent President) of the word nuclear which renders it as “nookular.”

At any rate, as it is fall foliage season, when autumnal sprites splash the crimson and oranges about – your humble narrator delivers with a seasonal scene. Of course… it’s me, so I went to the overgrown Meeker Avenue Street end at the Newtown Creek for my foliage.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not living cheek by jowl with the waterway as so many do is certainly a luxury to be enjoyed, just ask anyone in Manhattan.

This pleasure isn’t experienced by the folks who live over in Greenpoint, of course, but there you go. One has been taking a bit of a break from hanging around the Newtown Creek for the last month or so, allowing a bit of detoxification to take place. An interesting anecdote, which several of us that spend a lot of time around the place have commented to each other about, is that we tend not to get sick as often as other people during cold and flu season. Spouses might be on Day 3 of a flu, but we’re fine.

Is Newtown Creek a cure all, or is it merely an antibiotic?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

By antibiotic, I mean anti life in the same sense that the DC Comics villain Darkseid would infer, of course. Best guess would be “environmental adaptation,” presuming that constant exposure to those sewage borne pathogens which find themselves in the Newtown Creek have jacked up our collective immune systems. Whenever I submit blood tests to a Doctor, I always ask if my white cell count seems unusually high.

The answer has been categorically “no,” but I keep on hoping.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 10, 2014 at 11:00 am

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