Thursday, July 5, 2012

Photographic Opportunity:Country Auction/Flea Market

I visited a country auction and flea market this week. It has been at least seven years since I visited this place. There are acres of flea market and at least one acre of auction space. It is a wonderful resource for all kinds of collectables, antiques, junk and photographic opportunities. In the past I visited to buy at the auctions, this time my purpose was to capture photographic images.

This auction/flea market started as a cattle auction and has operated in the same place since 1938. The location is about 40 miles outside of Philadelphia. Beyond the suburbs, this location is definitely country.

The flea market offically opens at sunrise. Many of the vendors are in place the night before. Not to miss out on a treasure, customers often rummage around in the dark before sunrise with hand held flashlights. 

At 7:18am, "Two dollars!"
Auctioning begins soon after sunrise. Not just one auction but several auctions at once. On this visit there were three auctions operating by 7:15am. At 9:00am the property was swarming with people buying, selling, looking and socializing with five active auctions. The action was beginning to get hot.

At a country auction you have got to expect country people driving rusty pick-ups wearing free advertising caps and John Deere suspenders. This place does not let you down. Without a doubt some of the best entertainment at the auction/flea market is people watching.

I arrived at 6:45am. The smell of food frying on a flat top wafted from the building housing the office. Even with the odor of frying pork sausage, onions and bell peppers filling my nostrils, it was difficult but, I opted out of eating, first thing. Instead I wondered around looking for photo ops. The sun was already above the horizon but tall trees to the east of the property kept the sun's direct rays from falling directly on the ground. I strolled towards the western end of the property where the direct sun light would first evaporate the morning dew from the gravel.

The open sky to the west provided a very soft, diffused light. This type lighting is desirable in some situations. I wanted more direct hard sunlight to provide dramatic lighting with interesting shadows. So I waited and continued to stroll. 

Not much time elapsed before direct sunlight began to dry the gravel spread upon the roadbeds. Time had arrived for dramatic lighting.

Time waits for no man

It seemed like only minutes passed when the shadows shortened.

He who hesitates is lost

Morning sunlight changed to hot sun. The temperature inched toward 91ºF/33ºC. I wouldn't be staying much longer. I had another event on my schedule. I strolled back to the building that housed the office. I bought that pork, onions and green pepper on a roll sandwich with a large cup of coffee. The cup was too large. I watched some of two auctions under the cover of a tin roof. I reminded myself that I wasn't there to make any purchases. The desire was strong. The coffee wasn't. I had accomplished my goal. It was time to go. I left the grounds with several good images and no antiques, collectables or junk.

Not even a tomato!

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

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