Photo Essays, Spot News and Stock Photography

Posts by Mike Lander

Moscow, Russian Federation (April 1970)

PUTIN’S PLAYBOOK FOR UKRAINE

Q. “Conan, what is best in life?”

A. “To crush your enemies. See them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.”

Two snakes and a black sun. Mr. Putin, this may have been the playbook for Genghis Khan but that was 825 years ago. 33 generations have passed. And Mr. Putin you’re no Genghis Khan. The world is not the same any longer and you too will be relegated to the dustbin of history. St. Basil’s was built during the reign of “Ivan The Terrible”.

St. Basil’s Cathedral“; Moscow, Russian Federation (April 1970)

SHINNECOCK POWWOW – 2022

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.

Shinnecock Powwow. Southampton, N. Y. September 4, 2022

ONE SHOT, ONE KILL

Just because my Nikon D3 can shoot at 11 fps doesn’t mean that I have to use it that way. One shot, one kill. Old school. The only thing that is sure to happen if you use a camera as if it were a machine gun is that you will have to replace your shutter sooner rather than later. So I attended the Shinnecock Powwow at Southampton, N. Y. this weekend with the purpose of taking some portrait photos if possible. I would argue that most photographers would have chosen to use a portrait lens for this purpose, perhaps a Nikon 85mm or 105mm. But I think that the best way, the more difficult way is to use wide angle. Why? Because only with a wide angle can you capture your subject in the context of their natural habitat as it were.

I actually like a certain degree of barrel distortion which may set me apart from other photographers. You have to pay more attention to variables in trying to shoot portraits with wide angle lenses, but I think the results can be spectacular as in the case of “Vendors of the Sacred Stone“. These are the technical details of the photo: Nikon D3, 18mm-35mm AF-D f/3.5-4.5, 18mm, f/11, ISO 500 and 1/400. Most importantly, aperture priority and RAW 14-bit uncompressed!

THE MOTHER OF ALL GARAGE SALES

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 info@dispatchpressimages.com for more details.

Babylon Garage Sale“; Babylon, N. Y. (August 27, 2022)

Ohio (1948)

MEN OF OHIO

A photo like this, “Ohio (1948)“, comes along only rarely. We think that it is on an equal footing with photos taken by the some of the Farm Security Administration photographers during the Great Depression. This is an amateur photo that we were fortunate to acquire proving that great photos can be made by novice photographers.  All that is necessary is a keen eye and being in the right place at the right time.

North Babylon, N. Y. (August 20, 2022)

THE SWANS WHO CAME FOR BREAKFAST

This past Saturday morning I opened my front door to fetch the morning newspaper and was greeted by three swans. I am assuming that this was the mother swan and her two juvenile offspring although I was unable to determine the sex of any of them. We do live somewhat near a lake perhaps it is about 1/2 mile from our home. I have never seen swans on our lawn in the decades we have lived here. The swans were right at our front door as if they were our pets. If I had encouraged them I think that they would have come indoors, that is how tame they were. Beautiful birds with huge, black webbed feet. I gave them some bread to eat and they seemed satisfied as I guess that they were not afraid of humans and used to people feeding them. I took all of this as a sign of good luck, that somehow my family was blessed. All in all it was a pretty good day as it turned out. The swans moved away from the front door and stayed for a few hours. All that remained was to clean up their poop from my front lawn so as not to step in any of it. Maye not quite so lucky after all. Be kind to animals.

The Swans Who Came For Breakfast“; North Babylon, N. Y. (August 20, 2022)

From the Jewell Ridge Coal Corp. c.1934

COAL MINER’S SCRIP

Bondage! In the early part of the 20th century Appalachian coal miners were often paid in scrip or tokens not greenbacks which were only payable to the person issued on pay day and redeemable in goods purchased in the company store. This 50 cent token from the Jewell Ridge Coal Corp. based in Jewell Ridge, Virginia is but one example.

 

Coal Miner's Scrip From the Jewell Ridge Coal Corp.

Commack, N. Y. (July 19, 2022) 28mm, f/1.8, 1/40 sec.

PIANO MAN

This man could PLAY!! He appeared out of nowhere, sat down and began to play “America The Beautiful”. Just checking out this piano in a thrift store. But what is his story? I could have pictured him in another time and place almost anywhere with his talent. People just stopped in their tracks to listen. He could have played in Carnegie Hall. Perhaps New Orleans would have appreciated him in some supper club or any club, or in a honky tonk or juke joint. With his talent I hope that he was able to display his craft. Maybe in church? But wherever life took this man it would have been a shame to keep his talent hidden. I told him he could make money sitting in this thrift store, but he would not hear of it and then he just disappeared into the parking lot.

Piano Man“; Commack, N. Y. (July 19, 2022)

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