The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘newtown creek

stamped out

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Maspeth!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That recent long walk I mentioned found me over in industrial Maspeth, experimenting with various camera settings, as regarding capturing photos of the Kosciuszcko Bridge and its weird illumination. LED lights, architecturally speaking, are insanely bright. They also produce unnatural colors which wreak havoc on the color theory algorithms in digital cameras. Since the Governor literally flipped a switch turning on the bridge’s lighting system a couple of years ago, I’ve been fairly bedeviled by its idiosyncrasies.

A big part of the problem is that the bridge’s lights rotate through a chroma key, turning yellow, green, blue, red, violet… when all those colors add up on your camera sensor it equals bright white – as you see in the shot above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not wanting to sacrifice the sharpness of the captured image at my lens’s hyper-focal “infinity” setting, one has been playing around with length of shutter speed and sensor ISO sensitivity all winter and into the spring. The shot above, depicting both the Kosciuszcko and the Empire State Building flashing red and showing Newtown Creek as well, represents a set of trade offs which I’m kind of happy with.

When you’ve got a bunch of time on your hands, and all of your summer gigs have been cancelled due to a pandemic, you might as well figure out new ways to configure and work with the camera – right?

That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, with the notable exception of polio. Polio makes a mess out of you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A different set of experiments are at work in the shot above, which is actually three separate images combined into one in a Photoshop process called “focus stacking.” You set up a stable camera base – a tripod or whatever – and then move the shot’s focus point around. One focus point is on the distant Kosciuszcko Bridge, another on the mid ground tomb stones, and the third is on the trunk of that tree. These are narrow aperture shots, so all these elements would have been sharply rendered anyway, but the stacking technique is a skill I’ve been meaning to understand and use for a while, and since I essentially have no there reason to wake up I might as well hone some of my lesser used skills. Also, the “stacking” assures a uniform level of sharpness throughout the image.

Back Monday, or whatever, with something else. I don’t know what exactly, I’m just hoping to still be alive by then.

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 27th. 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.

guards around

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I remember…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There used to be others… They had distinctive faces, but I can’t remember what they looked like anymore. Some were tall and ugly, others short and pretty, and they came in a variety of sizes and colors. That was then, before the masks and the sirens. Now, it’s just me, wandering in wan darkness towards weird illuminations and through the abandonments. The concrete devastations remain the same, as does their odor.

One has finally worked out the correct procedure for capturing the queer lighting of the new Kosciuszko Bridge, but who might know? The shot above depicts the span, alongside the garbage train, on Review Avenue in Blissville and across the street from a polyandrion which is called Calvary by the Roman Catholics.

The weather was chill, my urethral bladder full, and hurt did my left foot do. Other than that, a humble narrator was having a grand old time. I’ve always opined that what this city needed was a good plague, and here we are.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When you really want to embrace hopelessness, despair, and truly commune with how screwed we all are right now – talk to a history boy like me. I’ll tell you about historical plagues – civilization enders all – which lasted for hundreds of years. The so called Plague of Justinian is my go to for that sort of thing, and it really wipes the smile off of listener’s faces. Calvary Cemetery, pictured above, actually owes its existence to a series of epidemics that scythed through early 19th century NYC, resulting in the Rural Cemetery Act of 1848.

Of note during our current collective storyline, the NYS Anti Mask Law of 1847 is going to end up having some dire consequence with all of us walking around with masks on, I fear. NYPD was enforcing that one as late as 2011, during the “Occupy Wall Street” protests. Did you also know that’s it’s illegal to keep a goat in your apartment in NYC? I’m not judging if you do keep a goat, after all what a person does inside the confines of their residence isn’t for me to judge, but it is technically illegal. Same thing with owning a ferret. Sodomy is kosher, though.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Closer to home, and actually on my way back home to Astoria, I was attracted by the glowing white cruciform adorning the fortress like walls of a mega church on 37th Avenue. It’s the New York Presbyrterian church, as a point of fact, and just for the history boy trivia folks – 37th Avenue used to be called Dutch Kills Street prior to the creation of the Sunnyside Yards. The congregation is largely Korean in ethnicity, I’m told, and the building that the church is housed in used to be an industrial laundry operation. In 1999, a 1,500 seat sanctuary was added to the prexisting complex.

Said complex was built in 1931 for the Knickerbocker Ice Company‘s Laundry division, which inhabited the space until 1970. The Naarden Perfume Company was then based in the space until 1986, whereupon the building was sold to the church people. Apparently, the size of the congregation qualifies this as a “mega church,” which is a fun thing to say out loud in full Brooklynese. Try it. May Gah Choich.

There used to be others…

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 27th. 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.

sullen mood

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Dutch Kills.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge pictured up there, which has been described in excruciating historical detail in many, many past posts. Saying that, I think this is the first time that this particular view of it has been offered. One of the virtues of a certain lens which I’ve mentioned in the past, the Canon 24mm pancake lens, is that it’s tiny size allows me to exploit otherwise unusable gaps in fencing or other visual obstacles. In the case of the shot above, my tripod was set up to lean in towards a chain link fence, holding the lens maybe an eighth of an inch away from it. It took a bit of wiggling to get the lens’s focal to sit right in the center of one of those diamond shaped openings in a standard chain link or “hurricane fence.”

It’s also three different photos combined into one, using a sort of exposure stacking process which Photoshop allows. This is one of the things I’m playing around with in my quarantine dotage. Also doing a bit of focus stacking work, which is interesting to play around with.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s just a normal long exposure shot, above, captured on Borden Avenue near the intersection with Review Avenue. Anybody who knows me will tell you that an oft repeated opine is “NYC never looks as good as it does when it’s wet.” In other words, you have a puddle? I’m shooting it. I also like when it’s just finished raining.

For the last few weeks, the Empire State Building has been flashing fire engine red to honor the medical people and the ambulance corps dealing with the virus. Accordingly, I’ve been trying to get some shots of it all framed up with Long Island City’s various wonders. That’s how I found myself back on Borden Avenue, after all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I shot this one twice, from two different locations. For the alternate view, I used a different lens – the Canon “Nifty” 50mm. Check that out here, if you want.

For some reason, I was having a devil of a time getting the 50mm, which is of significantly older age than the 24mm – design wise – to lock focus on the Empire State. I got it, eventually, but wow did it hunt around a lot. The red lights didn’t register as contrast heavy enough, I’d speculate, or perhaps the IR filter glass inside the sensor was blocking this particular wavelength.

The 24mm found focus almost instantly, in contradiction.

I’m still using the “minimum kit” which I started carrying last year during the broken toe drama – a Canon 7D with an arca rail, a couple of extra batteries and memory cards, a 24mm and a 50mm lens, a cable release, some lens cloths, a safety vest, a rocket blower, a flash light, an ultrapod with a small ball head, and a carbon fiber travel tripod with a ball head. The only other things found in my camera bag at the moment are business cards and a few pieces of chewing gum.

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.

unaltered bone

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A bit of detail at Dutch Kills.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One tries to shoot a few abstracted shots in between the sweeping landscape stuff when the camera is up on the tripod. At Dutch Kills the other night, I reminded myself to do so a few times. Check out yesterday’s post for the overview shots, and today’s for the “points of interest” ones. The bulkheads along the 29th street side of the canal have been collapsing into the water for a year or two now, and one particular event carried a self seeded tree down into the water column along with the rip rap and concrete.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The peculiar color of the water at Dutch Kills has always fascinated. I once had a City Council Member in Maspeth ask if I had manipulated an image I was showing her to make it look radioactive, which I should have been offended by the accusation thereof, but given the martian landscape of Newtown Creek… No, I assured Liz Crowley, this is what it looks like. Why she didn’t know that herself, I can only wonder. I have to say, if I was a Council Member, I’d know every square inch of my district like the back of my hand just in the name of not being surprised by anything.

Back to yesterday’s post, I mentioned the abandoned fuel barges at Dutch Kills, one of which is pictured above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Here’s a different view of that collapsed bulkhead, which is a bit of exposed archaeology as to how they filled in and reclaimed land at the start of the 20th century. This area was known as “the Waste Meadows” until the start of the modern era, a tidal wetland renowned for its ability to produce vast clouds of mosquitoes and breed other pests. When the Pennsylvania Railroad Company got busy draining and reclaiming the land which they’d carve the Sunnyside Yards into, the waste meadows were bought up by a real estate speculator and construction guru named Michael Degnon.

The industrial park surrounding Dutch Kills was created, and called the Degnon Terminal. Via Dutch Kills, there was water access, and Degnon built ship to rail facilities which allowed for the transference of cargo from one to the other.

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 13th. 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.

suitable account

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Happy Friday, shut ins.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wandering, always wandering, that’s me. I also formulate questions while walking, along, like “why do the people who have moved into the new developments in Long Island City eschew the use of drapes or Venetian blinds.” Also, while pondering subjects which randomly involve aspects of law, the proper cooking of pork, or societal engineering, one considers both past and future.

The lockdown here in NYC began shortly after the night of a full moon which coincided with Friday the 13th. The Ide of March, I believe, is when the Governor began exerting himself in muscular fashion. It’s now a month later – the Ide of April, as it were – and recent news reports have informed that not only has Krakatoa erupted but there’s also an asteroid which will be passing closely (in celestial terms) past the earth. There’s also a plague of locusts devouring Eastern Africa, but there’s always locusts in East Africa so that’s not really surprising. I’ve got a pot of ram’s blood to paint on my door, just in case the streets begin to fill up with hordes of toads or frogs.

Amphibians come in hordes, no? I know crows come in murders.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One somehow managed to pull off a hand held shot at 1/60th of a second just above, which is a new record for me. Normally, 1/100th is the best I can do on hand held shots before motion blur induced by my breathing and blood circulation obfuscates detail and sharpness.

That’s a near empty LIRR train riding through the Harold Interlocking at the Sunnyside Yards pictured, if you’re the curious type. I am.

Saying that though, my mind is dulling due to all the isolation, and Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself are developing a regional accent particular to our apartment.

Zuzoop the dyg has nary an idear whut we’s be speakins to hur in this new patois, but treats be rain on hur so no worry.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Tripod based exposures continue to be gathered, on the other hand, and a particularly productive walk over to Dutch Kills in Long Island City the other night will be described in some detail next week. It turns out that I had randomly and unintentionally turned up there during a so called “king tide” which saw the turning basin of Dutch Kills full up to the brim with Newtown Creek juices.

There were critters a splishing and a splashing in the darkness, and those disagreeable Canadian Geese are back in town, having ignored all travel restrictions. More on all this next week 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, April 13th. 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.

great purgation

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Greenpoint, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in prior posts, I have no idea as to how the medallion yellow taxi people are going to survive CoronAmerica. They were taking a real beating from the ride share business, as well as predatory financial speculators, before all this started. Here on Provost Street, nearby a taxi company’s HQ, there are hundreds and hundreds of these normally busy vehicles just sitting idle. At a similar facility closer to home in LIC, I noticed that many of the cabs had their medallions removed from the bonnet or hood plate, no doubt for safekeeping or possibly to oblige some obscure regulation.

One didn’t intend to spend much time here in Brooklyn, I was just looping through Greenpoint and circumnavigating the sewer plant on my way back to Queens after walking over the Pulaski Bridge. Incidentally, they’ve changed the name of the sewer plant again. It’s now the Newtown Creek Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility. Accordingly, from now on I’m just going to refer to it as “the sewer plant in Greenpoint” or something similar. Can you imagine being the person who answers the phone at someplace called “Newtown Creek Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility”?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Supply lines,” that’s what I was thinking while grabbing a shot of this semi tractor trailer truck parked opposite the sewer plant in Greenpoint. The “human factor” of our supply lines is something I worry about all the time. You can offer a long haul trucker all the money in the world to make a run, but he’s still going to have to convince his wife that it’s worth the risk for making the run into NYC. Our Lady of the Pentacle is British, and she receives a series of worried missives from friends and family overseas whenever a news report airs describing the center of the pandemic as being in Queens and literally two subway stops away from where we reside. The lurid newscasts are presenting us living in a war zone, here in the City. Can’t imagine how the rest of the country is reacting towards all of our bad news, and “supply chain” or “trucker’s wife” wise, what the effect of that will be.

Will our supply of Soy Milk be interrupted?

The truck carries the corporate branding of a company called Sunland Distribution, a Florida based company specialized in temperature controlled shipping.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One continued back towards Astoria, marching across the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge into LIC’s Blissville section. There seems to be a bit of bulkhead reconstruction going on at what was once part of the Mobil refinery on the Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek. ExxonMobil still maintains an operation or two just up the Creek from here, which are dedicated to operations revolving around the recovery of the Greenpoint Oil Spill.

More of the outside world 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 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.

minor operations

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Up on the Pulaski Bridge, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One was desirous of capturing the current Empire State Building lighting display, meant to honor the efforts of First Responders and Medical Staff during the CoronAmerica crisis, so a longish walk was embarked upon. Well, longish by the current standard… I ain’t exactly walking to Red Hook right now, if you know what I’m saying. One kept to the shadows, walking in a westerly direction from Astoria along streets and byways which are unpopulated during normal times, and soon found myself shlepping and scuttling up the Pulaski’s pedestrian path, connecting Jackson Avenue and 11th street in Long Island City with McGuinness Blvd. and Freeman Street in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section. Annoyingly, new construction in LIC has obscured the view of the Empire State from one of the normal “stations of the cross” which I’ve been visiting for better than a decade, but I managed to get my shot nevertheless.

I wouldn’t mind all of this new construction so much if it was at all visually interesting, or didn’t embrace the banal at every opportunity. Seriously, you invest tens of millions in waterfront development and what you build is another soulless glass box? How’s about a rhombus, maybe? A cone, or cylinder, perhaps?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My beloved Newtown Creek hasn’t dried up or been filled in during the quarantine, which is good news for me. The shot above looks north, towards LIC, along the pathway of the double bascule Pulaski Bridge and its bridge house. When all of this is over, I have got to find a way to get inside of that bridge house and take some photos. I’m fairly curious about the “works” within. I know who to call.

Despite the aforementioned quarantine, there were a substantial number of automobiles crossing the Pulaski, although bicycle and pedestrian traffic was virtually non existent. It was difficult to find a thirty second interval during which to actuate the camera without a passing truck or suv rattling the bridge’s structure.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having to alter the exposure triangle for these shots from my normal tripod/night “go to” actually allowed me to capture the weird luminance of the Kosciuszcko Bridge, for once. The Kosciuszcko is about two miles away, and this shot looks down Paidge Avenue in Greenpoint past the sewer plant towards the thing. My lens was comically zoomed out.

My walk on this particular excursion found me entering Brooklyn for the first time in at least a month, whereupon a circuitous path was followed. Avoiding population centers is a big part of the game plan for my constitutional walks.

Cooties.

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.

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