The Shinnecock powwow is held annually on the reservation in Southampton, N. Y. during the Labor Day weekend. It was not held during the last two years because of the Covid_19 pandemic. The Shinnecock decided to open this year and I attended on the third day of the event. Much of the hype surrounding the powwow involves the dancing competitions, and years ago I photographed many of the dancers. This year I was determined to get behind the scene and photograph the vendors who participated in the event. Make no mistake the powwow is a money making deal mainly for the Shinnecock. Vendors travel from great distances to set up their wares. They travel in motor homes and parking for them is $100.00 so I learned. Prices may be adjusted according to the size of the RV so perhaps a Winnebago might be charged more. Vendors’ stalls seem to run upwards from approximately $750.00 for the four day event. I stopped at one vendor’s stall and she told me that she was being charged $1100.00 and had yet to break even. Admission to the powwow for adults is $15.00, $10.00 for seniors and military and less for children. The items on display for sale are not all made by native peoples in the United States, Central or South America so you have to be careful about your purchases. As always, the really fine native-made items are expensive.
I had to decide on how I was going to shoot this powwow, and it would be very different from my last trip. As the stalls are cramped I decided to use a wide angle lens to incorporate as much of inside as possible. Shooting portraits presented a challenge so you have to do some thinking before you compose. Using a 12 megapixel DSRL made sense as going larger to 24 or 36 megapixels would only slow down my workflow, and I estimated that I might shoot about 30 images. As it happened 32 was the number. So I went to the powwow packing my Nikon D3 and a Nikon 18-35mm AF-D f/3.5-4.5 zoom lens. Aperture priority, auto ISO and RAW 14-bit uncompressed for all of you techies reading this blog.
As a garage sale junkie myself I thought that I would share this experience with you. I have been to countless garage sales over many decades. I have entered basements chocked full of items where you had to enter at your own risk. They could have charged admission just to see the place. Today’s yard sale presented here ranks up with the best of them in terms of square yards of junk, junk and more junk. As it happens I know the seller of this sale. Not a friend of mine, but I know him from the neighborhood. The ultimate hoarder without question. Now at the end of his life it is time to sell. But his prices today were ridiculous and in keeping with his normal way of doing business. Now, I don’t try to chisel at yard sales. I like a good bargain like everyone else, but I also don’t mind paying a fair price. His prices were as high if not higher than they would be at a fashionable antique store. Lots of junk, in my opinion, lots of lookers but most folks just walked away. It will all wind up in multiple dumpsters soon enough. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
“Babylon Garage Sale“; Babylon, N. Y. (August 27, 2022)