Regalia – Buffalo Headdress

Buffalo headdress NCIPA powwow 2016

Regalia is the term most used to describe the clothing and accessories worn by Indians during their ceremonies, competitive dances, and other events. It can be made of exclusively natural materials such as were used by their forefathers including feathers taken from birds caught by the individuals, leather from animals they killed themselves, beads obtained from traders or others, or any kind of item gathered and used by the individuals. This is often referred to as traditional regalia.

Other regalia may be made from newer less traditionally sourced materials such as modern manufactured beads and buttons or any type of adornment that can add to the look of updated regalia worn by individuals.

There is no right or wrong type of regalia worn and used today. In the past, new items such as small mirrors or new pieces of cloth obtained through barter or trade with other tribes or individuals before the trading of newer items began, were soon incorporated into regalia and displayed proudly. Todays use of new fabrics for streamers and accents worn in the regalia of Fancy Dancers today is not only considered acceptable but necessary for the look of the outfits worn by these dancers today.

Above is a beautiful example of a Buffalo headdress seen from the back so you can appreciate the adornments and beadwork of a spectacular example of craftsmanship and traditional styling. This was seen at the 2016 NCIPA powwow in Ft Collins, Colorado.

This image is a photograph processed in various types of software to bring out the beauty of the various items used in its creation. We’ll be bringing you further examples of incredible regalia in future posts.


Before The Mist Clears


Sometimes people will ask “Where’d all the color come from in that picture, then?” Or they’ll say “I was there. I never saw anything like that.” This is usually accompanied by a suspicious glare. Other times they’ll simply say “No way, dude, That is a load of condensed owl manure.” What they don’t know is they are not looking in the right places for these images, or at the right time.”

These images exist in nature by the quintillious millions. You are literally walking through them every time you are someplace like the Firehole river here in Yellowstone. The deal is, it takes some practice to see them in their full glorious color like this. For instance this particular image was lurking within the mist just waiting for someone to stop and photograph it. Think of it like this. You know how a movie is made with 30, 60, 120 frames per second and when it is played back the rapid display of the individual images or frames merge into a flow that shows the movement and creates the scene or movie.

Well that’s exactly what nature does. These images are lined up one behind the other into infinity and as you look at the scene they are speeding by you so quickly that you don’t see each individual frame. An individual image like this is often missed. It had already gone by so fast you didn’t have a chance to get your camera up to your eye let alone take a picture.

The secret to taking a picture like this, aside from a rapid dunking in Photoshop, is to kind of check out where the next image might appear, then slowly walk by the place being very careful not to glance at it directly. If you do look it tips the projector guy off that you have seen what’s coming, and he’ll speed the film up, so to speak, making it that much more difficult to take the shot.

While you’re fiddling around pretending you don’t see the picture coming up, surreptitiously set your camera to all the proper settings, then whirl around and snap the photo. That’s all there is to it. The settings for this shot were 1/800,000 of a second at f 2100. Make certain you have set the HISS (Hidden Imaginary Scene Selector) switch located on the lower left side of the lens housing on most professional cameras, to Automatic. If you don’t have this switch on your camera then it is time to upgrade as it is nearly impossible to catch an image like this without one.  Check with your local camera dealer for the most up to date information So there you have it. Photography made easy. You’re welcome.

The Word’s Out


When we, and the we would be me, The Director of the World Famous Institute and any of the many staffers and interns we choose to bring along, attempt to slip into Yellowstone National Park for our annual inspection tour, we try to do it on the sly. We don’t want the usual Pomp And Circumstance, the parades, the cheering crowds, we want to be able to travel anonymously through out the park without everyone coming up for autographs and offers of sexual favors and incredible investment possibilities. We’re here to work.

But somehow and to this date I have never figured out how, the word gets out. No matter how carefully we tell people that we’re going back to the park and it’s like a secret, don’t tell anybody kind of thing, the animals, the park personnel, the wait staff at all the park restaurants, they all seem to know about it before we do. As a wildlife photographer I can only assume we have a mole in our organization.

Our advance scouts that we send in to get things scoped out for us have been sending back pictures and as you can see all the major players are aware of our impending arrival. It ‘s like when a restaurant gets advance notice that the health inspector is coming, you won’t find a cleaner kitchen. You could do surgery in that kitchen. Well it’s the same in the park. The wolves clean up their act, only killing the healthy good looking elk and not showing you the carcasses of all the little rabbits, voles, dead stuff off the highway and other disgusting things they eat. This hampers our ability to get the nitty-gritty on what’s really going on.

The wolves are the smartest ones of the bunch and they post watchers around the most likely spots we’ll hit, like this one at the Cascade Creek area near Canyon. We’ve seen this guy before and he is a world-class blabbermouth. If he’s seen our scouts and you can be sure he has, he’s looking right at one, we might as well abandon any hope of getting an accurate picture of park activities. This will not keep us from making our annual inspection however. We’ll be there but this time we have a surprise in store for them. This time we’re going in disguised.

That’s right. We have created costumes for some of our intern volunteers to wear, such as a badger, a cottontail, an elk calf with a damaged leg, things that the wolves wouldn’t touch if they knew we were coming in to inspect. This will hopefully allow us to get close enough to the wolves and other predators so we can photograph them and the conditions they’re living in. Now, we’re sharing this information with you, our loyal readers, so you’re aware of how we get some of the incredible exposes, not to mention world class photos that we’re famous for, but you’ve got to keep this quiet, otherwise it is not going to work and if you’ve blabbed there’s a good chance we could lose some or even all of our interns.

OK then. That’s it. We’ll be off real soon for the Spring inspection at Yellowstone National Park and we’ll do our best to bring you first hand accounts of everything that transpires. So stay tuned and watch this space for further developments.

P.S. we are always looking for bright young volunteers to fill our intern ranks. Send name and working phone number to the Director, % The institute and please be able to write your name as we need it for the Release of Liability form our lawyers require of all new workers.