The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Photographing photographers

without cause

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Photographers photographed while they’re photographing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A short break, wherein offerings at this, your Newtown Pentacle, will consist of lighter fare than that normally served is underway. Obligation and a series of deadlines have dominated all attention, and accordingly – for the next few days, singular images with a pithy yet abbreviated description will be supplied. One must render unto Caesar, after all.

There are now four public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in Queens and one in Brooklyn and two that walk the currently undefended border of the two boroughs.

Plank Road, with Newtown Creek Alliance, on April 19th. This one is free, click here to get on the list.

Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura, on April 26th. Click here for more info and ticketing.

DUPBO, with Newtown Creek Alliance and MAS Janeswalk, on May 3rd. Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor, with Brooklyn Brainery, on May 18th. Click here for more info and ticketing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 16, 2014 at 11:00 am

terrible phantasms

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Photographing professional photographers while they photograph.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pro photographers, particularly the press folks, are know for… ahem… sharp elbows. When your dinner depends on getting the shot before the hundred other people standing around you can, this is a talent you learn to develop. Your humble narrator, a retiring sort of fellow who always aspires to let someone else have the last piece of cake, stood amongst this corps of elbows yesterday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The event was the St. Pat’s Day for All parade, an annual event in Sunnyside. It attracts elected officials like flies, so an army descends upon Skillman Avenue assembled from Newspapers, TV Stations, and every “legitimate” news gatherer in New York. None of these people pay the slightest attention to Queens the rest of the time, so its kind of galling watching them take over for the afternoon.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Worst of all is when these photographing photographers and reporters “cock block” my shots. The TV people are the worst about this, as depicted above, when Bobby Cuza from NY1 starts interviewing Michael Gianaris right in front of me. I figured I’d get this as my shot instead of just the Senator, and if you hear a shutter flipping about in the NY1 interview footage when it airs, that’ll be me – as the TV camera was inches from my own lens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I can only imagine what Paparazzi work is like, what with having to fight off Alec Baldwin and all. That would require very sharp elbows, I think. Also, I need to figure out how to get myself a press pass. When I said “blog” to the NYPD Community Affairs Officer he actually made a “pffft” sound and told me to get behind the barrier. Luckily, I snuck in to the press pen by sticking close to NY1’s Bobby Cuza and his camera operator as they entered. Heh.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 3, 2014 at 9:31 am

tone and tenor

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Gear envy in today’s post, and the joy of photographing photographers as they photograph.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Funny thing about the part of Brooklyn wherein one finds the modern day Brooklyn Bridge Park is that, within my lifetime mind you, it has become a relatively safe place. I’ve been told tales of photography people hiring toughs and ruffians to guard their equipment around these parts to scare away trouble “back in the day,” lest the baser elements of the NY streets be allowed to pilfer expensive equipment.

People walk around like they’re safe or something these days.

Last week, your humble narrator wandered through, on a terror filled walk from venerable Red Hook to an end destination in reliable Astoria.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Observed were two photographers, but one was presumptively an assistant.

One of my smaller joys is photographing photographers as they photograph, as it satisfies some urge in me to document everything I see. Also, those of us who brandish cameras about constantly are ridiculous and are seldom ridiculed because we are out of frame when a photo is captured. I find these shots fascinating, and there are all these dramatic postures which are spontaneously displayed when photographers photograph, so whenever I can photograph photographers as they photograph, I do. I like to shoot shoots, as it were.

These guys though (I don’t mean the kid with the iPhone), profit greatly from the fact that no one is going to come and take away their stuff in modern day Brooklyn. They had something like 70 grand worth of equipment out there for all to admire. This was me, I’d have Hank the Elevator Guy and a couple of the stoutly built Croatians that populate my neighborhood in Astoria along to keep things nice and even.

Look at that lens, just look at it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My educated guess as to the identity of the lens this fellow is using, with my conjecture based purely on its physical appearance, is that it’s either a more than $10,000 Canon EF 500mm f/4L (an actual model number or variant is difficult to distinguish) or the top of the line $13,000 plus Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L. The cameras being bandied about were Canon EOS-1D X‘s, which will set you back around $7k a unit. The small black lens on the guy in the foreground’s camera costs about $2,300, and in just a few minutes, I saw about $20,000 worth of glass swapped in and out of that suitcase – the sort of lenses I dream about using let alone owning. Those tripod legs alone are about $1,500 to $3,000 each, and those tripod heads ain’t cheap either – so tack on another few thousand bucks.

Wow. All this gear for a mid-day, winter sun, outing. Me, I’m going to be there early and late, not the afternoon. The sun is at a bad angle to the City from December to Mid March, it’s the worst time of year.

These guys must have been on their way back from the Olympics in Sochi or something and had some time alone with the gear before their kit had to be returned to AP or the Times.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 25, 2014 at 9:30 am

tightly packed

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Today’s post is a bit of vouyerism from under the FDR Drive.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pathologically early, your humble narrator is often observed loitering about in locations wherein a future appointment will take place. Menacing aspect and suspicious body language betray one such as myself as an odd but otherwise harmless outsider, rendering and relegating me down to background status. You stop noticing me, in my cloak of social invisibility.

Accordingly, I enjoy sneaking up on and photographing photographers these days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When you’re in the spot that these guys are, you stop noticing everything but what you’re shooting. Gear, pose, background, settings, trying to squeeze every drop of light from the scene that you can, composition- all that. On top of that you’ve got the problems of corralling the group into the shot. No fun whatsoever, except if you’re just a few yards back and like shooting shoots.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The photographer was lucky, a good looking bunch of kids willing to play along and follow instructions is a godsend. Where he wasn’t lucky was that it was raining and misty, which reduces what you do with the flash a bit. It wasn’t this scene that really drew my attention though, not at first. I had noticed this bridal party, of course, when I arrived down at South Street Seaport for a boat tour, but what had originally drawn my eye wasn’t them.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was this other bride, who seemed to be standing alone as her friends went to the limo. I was actually hoping that some sort of bride fight might break out, but no such luck.

Now that would have been some photo, two brides duking it out under the FDR drive.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Want to see something cool? June 2013 Walking Tours-

The Poison Cauldron Saturday, June 15, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

Kill Van Kull– Saturday, June 22, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

The Insalubrious Valley Saturday, June 29, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

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