University of California Riverside Native American Powwow
The Native Americans are a proud people with a rich and storied heritage. One of the activities they perform regularly are powwows, which are events where tribes meet to share kinship, socialize, and compete in dancing and singing. These powwows attract tribes from across a region with the larger ones attracting tribes from throughout the United States and Canada. It is a truly awesome experience to attend one of these gatherings. Tribe members young and old participate and it is inspiring to see that they preserve their heritage and traditions, and share those with the general public through songs and dances.
How to get this type of shot
This is the second powwow I have attended, so I knew what to expect in terms of the venue layout and performances. Powwows are generally scheduled during the day, which usually means harsh midday lighting. Given the time of day (it was around 3pm) I decided to locate myself so that the performers were front lit and shot facing east from the far western end of the stage. This turned out to be serendipitous because bleachers lined the east end of the stage providing a break in the ring of tents making up the stage.
From my previous experience, I knew that it was going to be a challenge to get shots without the tents in them. Although the bleachers helped, getting clean compositions without the brightly colored tents meant: 1) Shooting from a low perspective so that sky and trees and not tents filled my background (this perspective also gives people a “larger than life” feel since you are shooting up at them), 2) Zooming tight and filling the frame and 3) Using a large f-stop (in my case f/2.8) to get as shallow a depth-of-field as possible. I used a polarizer to reduce glare so that the rich colors of the performers’ regalia were preserved and shot in AI Servo (continuous autofocus) mode using high speed continuous so I could keep up with the action.
LocationUCR Sports Complex (Coordinates: 33.982086,-117.332643)
If you know any of the performers featured in these photos, please email me though my Contact Me page. I would be happy to provide high resolution photos to them for personal use.