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.