The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘FDNY

puerile extravagance

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of several great things about the new camera system I’m working with is that I can pretty much leave the tripod at home when going out for a night time walk. What’s cool about that is that the somewhat laborious process of “stop/set up/shoot” has now been replaced with “hey, look at that, take a picture.” I still use the tripod occasionally, but it’s kind of an intentional thing rather than a necessary thing. For those of you who might not be photography obsessed gear heads, carrying less and doing more with it is kind of the name of the game when you’re on the street. Studio photography, as in the standard three light portrait shot you were likely the subject of during school photos or family portraits, still requires a bunch of gear. Saying that, you can’t instruct a passing Q104 bus to hold still, smile, or say “cheese.”

So, when do you need a tripod or other camera support when packing one of these very modern mirrorless cameras? When you want to do a long exposure, or a time lapse, or any number of photo genre’s that you want to play with which require an absolutely static relationship between camera and composition – that’s when.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Forgive me for rattling on about this at least once a week, but I’m still absolutely astounded by the set of capabilities which Canon has baked into this new gizmo, and am still exploring its limits. Hell, the biggest feature and selling point on this new generation of Canon cameras is face and eye based autofocus tracking and I haven’t even turned that one on yet due to the pandemic and my avoidance of other people. Just the other night I found a tiny button on the thing by accident – that I didn’t even know was there – that allowed me to toggle back and forth between manual and automatic settings. The only reason I found that was because I was wearing gloves and accidentally activated the thing.

The gloves are a step up for me as well, as I’ve finally found a pair that incorporate some sort of material into the finger pads which smart phone and other touch screens can acknowledge. If this process continues to its logical conclusion, I’ll be wearing an Iron Man suit by July.

Actually, I’d love an Iron Man suit, but they don’t have them in the husky department at Alexander’s. Now, how’s that for an obscure reference?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The other day, while presenting a Sunnyside Yards shot gathered at a fence hole I refer to as the “old reliable,” I mentioned that whomsoever it is at Amtrak that’s been put in charge of fence holes at the rail complex during the Biden era has been busy. A couple of new ones have appeared, including one that allowed the shot above, depicting a Long Island Railroad train heading towards Manhattan.

Now, that’s a shot which my older camera would have categorically required a tripod to get. What I would’ve been unhappy about would have involved the train being motion blurred due to the shutter speed. The new unit had zero problems operating at low light and offers the use of a shutter speed which allowed me to produce a sharply defined and quite frozen moment.

See y’all tomorrow at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

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 8th. 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 10, 2021 at 11:00 am

sardonic actuality

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Holy shmegoalie, its Wednesday again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Scuttling about in the dark, as I do, there’s a lot of time for thinking. Recent musings found me thanking an earlier version of myself for getting interested in night and low light photography, as this particular passion of mine has been the only creative outlet available through the pandemic. My habit has been to wait until 8 o’clock or so, when the streets are becoming relatively unpopulated and free of humans, and then set out. My paths have become so well chosen that once I get out of residential Astoria and into the “IBZ” or “Industrial Business Zone” section, I’m finding myself completely and utterly alone for hours at a pop. It’s an odd sensation, moving through one of the most densely populated sections of the entire planet in solitude.

Generally speaking, when I’m back there and all by myself, I unmask. My habit is to slavishly wear the thing when moving about during the day, or in populated places. When I get to an area where the only other humans present are driving past in vehicles, or I can see empty sidewalks stretching out in every direction…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The mask is annoying, and fairly uncomfortable, I’ve found. Factor in the fact that I wear eyeglasses, and I’ve got to deal with them fogging up and occluding vision as I’m trying not to get squished by trucks while crossing streets. Additionally, I have a beard, which – since they weather has turned cold – collects the breath condensation contained by the mask and my chin coiff becomes quite moist. Whatcha gonna do?

One of my super powers revolves around being able to prophesy the near future based on current circumstance, which is something I do using branch logic methodologies. Back at the beginning of this I told my friends in the political world that “food and housing security, riots, structural fires, and a vast underreporting of domestic violence” were on the horizon. I told them about race cars and fireworks back at the beginning of April.

What’s next, then, Ezekiel? We’re wearing masks, even with a vaccine, for a minimum of the next two years. Also, based on recent tectonic activity all over and all around North America, I think 2020 might have one last big surprise in store for us.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has just a few more Zoom meetings to get through in the next couple of weeks and then we’re done for the year on both Creek and Community Board. Tonight, the Transportation Committee is meeting, and we’re going to be talking about the absolute mess which is Astoria Blvd. Parking rules vary block to block, sidewalks are inconsistently sized, signage and street lighting is either on functional or missing… There’s lots of fixing to do there, which I’m hoping that the Governmental Agencies which oversee this street will agree with me about.

That’s not Astoria Blvd. pictured above, as a note, it’s Laurel Hill Blvd. in the Blissville section of Long Island City.

Back tomorrow, Lords and Ladies.

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 7th. 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 9, 2020 at 1:00 pm

judicial majesty

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CoronAstoria.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The ambulance pictured above recently spent a fair amount of time in front of the apartment building next door to HQ, here in Astoria. The virus is everywhere. What can you do though? Take photos, that’s what I say! Don’t end up acting like Martin Sheen at the end of “Apocalypse Now,” use your camera to produce images instead! Show, don’t tell.

I’ve counted how many socks I own by this point, and it’s an odd number, which is disconcerting. Additionally, the thing which amuses me more than anything else at the moment is imagining Barack Obama doing a cover of the first Doors album in his particular speaking style. Also, I’d like to discourage those of you who want to attend one of those anti lockdown protests from doing so, but if you’re so hostile to science and medical expertise that you think it’s a good idea to do so… well… Darwin is calling.

Meanwhile, take some photos. Be like Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was going to rain during a recent evening, so my constitutional walk occurred in the late afternoon and I happened upon a firebox which some enterprising soul decided to raid for copper and other valuable metals. Anti social much?

Maybe we can blame the Chinese Government for this? Maybe it was Jared Kushner, or alternately the Democrats or the Mainstream Media, or Bill Gates? Are we supposed to be worried about a sudden infliction of Sharia Law anymore? Socialism? Maybe this is all France’s fault.

Get a grip, folks, go count your socks. Better yet, go take some photos.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personally, I get nervous whenever I’m walking past an entrance to the sweating concrete bunkers of the transit system, which I now refer to as the Covid well. God only knows what’s going on down there these days. Every time I’ve left the house, my travel has been on foot, and no small amount of care has gone into avoiding the presence of the humans. Luckily, they still tend to congeal in familiar spots, so I know where and where not to go. When you skulk about in the shadows during normal times, it’s fairly easy to social distance.

Down there… in those metal boxes…

Count your socks. I’ll take the photos.

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, April 20th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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

April 22, 2020 at 11:00 am

phenomenal softness

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Back in Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A longish night time walk from Astoria to the Pulaski Bridge spanning Newtown Creek, and then over the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge and back into Queens, was punctuated by FDNY activity at nearly every step of the way. A deployment at one of the homeless shelters in Blissville actuated not only the fire house on nearby Greenpoint Avenue, it also pulled in units from Brooklyn’s Greenpoint as well. Engine 238 (pictured) and Tiller Truck 106, if you’re curious about Brooklyn fire units. I can’t help but take photos when FDNY is doing their thing. Firemen, firemen!

This shot is from the corner of Greenpoint and Review Avenues, looking towards Brooklyn across the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My pathway home took the shape of walking along Greenpoint Avenue, where the startling view of a Long Island Expressway with no traffic whatsoever greeted me. Earlier in the evening, one observed something similar at the Queens Midtown Tunnel.

Last time I saw anything like this was in the week or two following Hurricane Sandy. Should one be lucky enough to survive this pandemic business, I hope to be awarded a three disaster ribbon by the City. It’s been one heck of a couple of decades here in the megalopolis, hasn’t it?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Of course, just as I arrived back in the zone of HQ, an ambulance went screaming past. I’m not going to launch into some speech here, rather…

You want to underexpose for a passing ambulance, due to the strobing light. I already had the color temperature of the camera set to 3750K, my standard “go to” for modern day NYC street lighting at night. It’s f2.8, 1/200th of a second, and at ISO 6400. The shot did get noodled around with a bit in the developing process, but most of that involved dealing with sensor noise.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the end of the week of Monday, April 6th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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.

black smoke

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What a nightmare.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Returning from a short constitutional walk the other night, a sudden explosion of FDNY activity drew my attention to the corner of Newtown Road and 45th street here in Astoria. A structural fire was consuming one of the older homes in the neighborhood, a wood framed one set back from the property line. It soon became an all hands fire, it seems, and FDNY units from both Woodside and Astoria were present, as was Rescue Unit 4.

I also captured a bit of video on my phone, which can be accessed here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The neighbors were all coming out of their houses to see what was happening, and lots of them were breaking out in tears over the spectacle. I suddenly realized that dozens if not a hundred people were forming a crowd and one beat it out of there quickly in the name of social distancing. Cooties.

I don’t know anyone who lives in that house, thought I, but as it turns out that wasn’t true. Somebody from the outer ring of my social circle did indeed live there and was now homeless. Under normal circumstance, this is plain horrible, and the normal systemic response would involve the Red Cross setting you up in a hotel for a couple of days while the insurance people figure out next steps. Fire insurance will usually pay for temporary lodging until the house is determined to be fixable or a total loss, at which point repairs are made or you have to find a new apartment.

During the current crisis – this is a nightmare scenario.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I posted the video of the fire to a couple of social media platforms, and made sure that City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer was aware of it, since this is not only his district but the neighborhood he grew up in. The next morning, a message was sent to me from a friend informing that the aforementioned “outer ring” acquaintance of ours was in fact now homeless and sleeping on their couch, and I made sure that JVB’s office had their contact information. Apparently, some sort of shelter for the poor fellow was arranged.

Structural fires are one of the things which I am worrying about more and more with all of us trapped inside. Be careful in your kitchens lords and ladies, and with those extension cords, and if you don’t have a fire extinguisher or two in your house – get some.

Also, on this date in 1909, the Queensboro Bridge opened for traffic. That’s your NYC history trivia of the day.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the start of the week of Monday, March 23rd. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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 30, 2020 at 11:00 am

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