The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Triborough Bridge

fumbling in

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

June 3rd saw a humble narrator drawn to Astoria Park by the annual Astoria Carnival. My initial intention was to buy a ticket and ride the Ferris Wheel pictured above in pursuance of capturing an uncommon view of the “zone,” but the high price of the ride coupled with the presence of smudged plexiglass on the cars made me reconsider.

Also, the carnival was positively mobbed with teenagers. I decided discretion wasn’t the better part of valor, and headed down to the waterfront along Shore Boulevard instead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was an overcast and kind of humid day, which usually makes for decent sunsets, so my toes were pointed down at Hells Gate.

Really, that’s what this section of the East River is called.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One set up for landscape shots, with tripod and all the other gear deployed. The last time I was down here, I missed a few shots which just sort of “happened” when the camera was configured thusly, and when preparing for this evening’s activities I had a plan in place for the eventuality reemerging.

You can save a set of camera settings, assigning them to a camera dial position which Canon calls “creative settings.” There’s three of these dial positions available. I had set one up in advance for the circumstance of “I’m set up for long and slow exposure and a tugboat shows up.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thereby, when a tug actually did show up, I was ready for it. It isn’t anything obtuse, these settings, unlike the one I’m noodling for creating time lapses. The latter is something I’m still figuring out, which is why you haven’t seen any of that stuff yet.

Time lapse photography involves taking hundreds of shots at timed intervals and then lining them all up as an animated image. It’s different than video, as it’s a series of stills. This allows me to do what I do during the “developing” of the RAW format image files captured in camera. “Shoot for the edit” is the best advice I can give – other than “show up, do the work, go back home and finish the work.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “showing up” thing is a big deal for me. Keyboard Warriors abound in the modern world. They’re generally bitchers or moaners, like to describe the way the world used to be or the way it should be, and you don’t normally see them in person until somebody is handing out trophies or the press is there.

Sweat equity is what I’m built around respecting. Show up. Do the work. Go home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Turns out I was right about the atmospheric conditions producing a pretty spectacular sunset. Speaking of “shoot for the edit,” the shot above is actually three shots. The foreground one received a shallow depth of field and the focal point is right in the middle of Triborough’s reflection. The second shot is focused on the bridge’s Randall’s Island pierage, and the third on the Manhattan shoreline and sky. I changed up the exposure settings for all three as well, and then married them together using an extrapolation of the “focus stacking” technique.

Shoot for the edit.


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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

July 11, 2022 at 11:00 am

whisper leeringly

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On April 13th, I found myself at a rooftop bar on the east side of Manhattan, one which offered somewhat sweeping views of the East River. Queensboro Bridge was large and in charge, of course. In the lower right foreground, that’s “Four Freedoms Park” on Roosevelt Island. You’re looking in the general direction of Astoria, diagonally towards LaGuardia airport.

There you go, that’s what that looks like, and you didn’t have to pay $20 for an “old fashioned” to see it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On April 17th, a humble narrator felt like doing some shooting but didn’t want to return to Newtown Creek again, so Shore Blvd. alongside Astoria Park and the Hells Gate section of the East River was decided upon as a destination for the evening’s effort.

I’ve actually been trying to make it a point of being present during sunsets of late, as you may have noticed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hell Gate Bridge is to the north, Mighty Triborough to the south. These waters are still pretty complicated from a maritime point of view – strong currents and eddies. The United States Army Corps of Engineers blew this part of the river up “back in the day” to cure up the navigation issues, but it’s still a part of the harbor that requires a bit of skill on the part of whomsoever is driving the boat.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I set myself up for “landscape mode” with the tripod and an ND filter and started capturing a series of longish exposures. It was so bright out, in fact, that even with the filter on I was getting no more than ten seconds worth of exposure time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As I’ve mentioned several times, high flying clouds turn colorful during sunsets. No guarantee you’re going to get scarlets and crimsons, but when you do…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I hung around until it got dark, then got scared by the presence of teenagers in Astoria Park so I rapid scuttled away from the area in a paroxysm of terror. One flew through the streets, his brain awash in the steroids of panic. Teenagers… brrr… no impulse control.

At HQ, I barred the doors behind me, and commanded Our Lady of the Pentacle to descend into the storm bunker with me and hunker down in case the adolescents had followed me home.


“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

June 6, 2022 at 11:00 am

somewhat shamefaced

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Camera in hand, lonely and friendless, filthy black raincoat snapping about in the hard wind of late winter. Sometimes I’m on a boat.

Having grown up in southeast Brooklyn (Canarsie/Flatlands), one’s native speech pattern is best described by recitations of the “Brooklyn Alphabet.” “Fuckin A, Fuckin B, go fuck yourself C, kiss my ass D” and so on. This is part of my heritage, and the Brooklyn accent of my parents would pronounce common words such as birds as “boids,” toilet as “terlet,” and oil as “erl.” As an adult, an attempt is made to show a finer veneer to all of the fancy pants people I meet. Dis is da struggol you gots when’s you growed up in Brooklyn.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thereby, one has embraced creative expressions of surprise for my daily use that don’t include the use of Brooklyn vernacular. Lately, I’m embracing ones like “by the misty mountains of Kuala Lampur” or “Great galloping Ganesh.” I don’t know if Kuala Lampur actually has mountains or not, or whether the beloved Hindu deity is known to gallop – but since Ganesh is an elephant, it probably would have a certain proclivity towards the occasional gallop – if only for shits and giggles.

“Holy jumping Jesus” is also another one of my refrains although scripture never mentions the Christian Savior as leaping about. My Lebanese buddy Sal has instructed me in the many possible usages of Allah u Akbar (god is great), which is the Islamic equivalent of Aloha or Shalom in terms of being an omnivorous response one is able to deploy in a variety of circumstances. New Baby? Allah U Akbar! Your mom died? Allah U Akbar… Sal has informed me that it’s all about inflection.

Saying all that, whether Ganesh or Allah or Jesus, you’re probably accidentally pissing someone off with an off hand religious reference, so “by the misty mountains of Kuala Lampur” it is.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Riding back home on the NYC ferry from the Bronx, I got to exclaim “Holy Homeland Security” when I spotted this NYPD Harbor unit boat performing that particular mission for our ferry boat. Not too long ago, I was riding on the Staten Island Ferry and a couple of tourist types asked me why the Coast Guard was following our big orange boat with machine guns deployed while we navigated from Manhattan to… Staten Island…

They really couldn’t put it together about how big a target a ferry boat might be for the bad guys. I’d tell you who the villains are, but I’m not really sure anymore. Are we still mad at the Arabs? If so, I’ll let Sal know. As mentioned, he’s Lebanese, so not too big a fan of the Arabs.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was nearly sunset, and an executive decision was arrived at to debark the boat at East 90th street, alongside Gracie Mansion, and find a spot to get set up with the tripod as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself dipped behind New Jersey.

Along the way, I couldn’t help but get a shot or two of the natural light painting occurring on the Hell Gate and Triborough Bridges.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At East 90th, I took a minute to sit down and chill for a minute, then got busy again. If you set up a camera on a tripod and say “Eric Adams” three times, there’s a 40/60 chance he’ll appear, just like Candyman or Bloody Mary. Didn’t work this time, though.

This area at E 90th, by the way, is more or less the famous spot where the old Astoria Route ferry dock was found. The one that Robert Moses destroyed, an incident which Robert Caro wrote about in Power Broker.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The burning thermonuclear eye of god itself was already beginning to disappear behind New Jersey as I found and claimed my spot.

From the looks I was getting from the passerby, you’d think that I had just released a kite into a thunderstormwhile laughing maniacally, in preparation of bringing a homemade monster to life. Really?

More tomorrow.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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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 11, 2022 at 11:00 am

puerile kind

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Now that’s what I call fog, baby. A promising weather report drew me over to the East River’s Hells Gate section, which paid off for a humble narrator. For these shots, I was using the Ultrapod camera support that I’ve mentioned in the past. Said device is a metal plate with four feet under it, and a tripod ball head mounted right in its center on top. This gizmo allows me to place the camera into fairly odd places, including right down on the sidewalk or onto the ledge of the Shore Blvd. retaining wall. Don’t worry, the camera’s strap was still firmly attached to my person.

That’s the Hell Gate Bridge, as if you didn’t already know that.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When an NYC Ferry boat, operating on the Soundview Route, came speeding by I quickly readjusted what the camera was pointed at and changed my lens. I was quick enough to catch the displacement wave of the ferry’s passing impacting the shoreline here in Astoria. It’s dark down there, so I set the exposure to about 30 seconds, which is why the wave water looks like smoke or mist in the shot above.

The fog helped me with this shot, as a note, since it allowed for the diffusion of illuminated light coming from Randall’s/Wards Island and the Triborough Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking of mighty Triborough…

This is, of course, just a part of the bridge complex known as Triborough and it’s specifically the East River suspension bridge section.

Fog, baby, fog.


“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

February 14, 2022 at 11:00 am

infinity eddied

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Temperature inversion with an extremely high atmospheric dew point? Yes, please. Seriously, this sort of statement from the TV weather people is electrifying. As soon as it’s uttered, one gathers up his old kit bag and smiles, smiles, smiles. Fog, and in particular – peas soup fog – is the order of the day. Given NYC’s relationship to the ocean, most of our foggy days are actually “precipitating mist” days, which are ruinous for photographic pursuit. You can’t keep the lens clean due to the precipitant part of that condition.

Proper fog is fairly rare in these parts, and when it comes, a narrator humble hits the streets and heads off in the direction of something both visually interesting and distant. On my way I couldn’t resist an exposure of this “Matthew’s Model Flat” rounded corner. I’m told that the street level shop was historically a candy store. Today, I believe it sells Santeria oriented potions and charms.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hell’s Gate was my destination, which is one of the things I enjoy saying out loud as it makes me sound spooky and mysterious. A quick scuttling found me on Hoyt Avenue North, alongside mighty Triborough and heading towards the turgid waters of the East River.

The air was thick, and it smelled like a combination of sewer gas and petroleum exhaust, with a hint of cinnamon. There was also a nearly imperceptible hint of thyme as well, but somebody nearby was probably roasting a chicken. You smell a lot of things in Astoria, but mostly weed. Astoria smells like college most days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My path carried me through Astoria Park’s parking lot, which definitely smelled like weed. Weed, and Tinder/Grindr hook ups. I kept my head on a swivel, as the saying goes. Lots of weird shit happens in Astoria Park at night, of the sort which you don’t want to be involved in. It’s dark, and there’s small groups of people everywhere. Some have malign intent, some are just looking for a place to sleep where they won’t be hassled, others are looking to fill their pockets with whatever you might have in your own.

Saying all that, made it through the park in fine fettle and nobody messed with me. Got myself down to Shore Road and made myself conspicuous by whipping out the camera and getting busy with it. Unfortunately for you, lords and ladies, you’ll have to wait till next week to see what I saw.


“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

February 11, 2022 at 11:00 am

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