Lapel Photography

Love, Art, Passion, Emotion... Life

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Pitching, Hitting, & Running with KCK RBI in 15'

The KCK RBI Baseball & Softball family got together at Eisenhower Middle School for the "Pitch, Hit, and Run" competition. This event is the first league-wide event of this young season. There were participants from every part of the community, representing a multitude of colors, both in team gear, and in faces. My mom often compares Wyandotte county to a bottle of Heinz 57, "It's got a little bit of everything", she says.

This is what KCK RBI is about... Family.

The league is about mentoring our youth, teaching them some life lessons about competitive spirit, sportsmanship, and commitment while fostering the most important things in our community, family and friends.

Sunday's event was the second round of the competition. Both boys and girls competed. The three events were held on two of the fields at Eisenhower, the Run and Hit on one field, and the Throw on the second. It was a great turnout. I don't know who won the events, but there was plenty of good play by some good young talent. Fun was happening both on the field and off. Maybe one of my readers can comment with some of the event winners below. Nonetheless it was a smoothly run event. From the looks of it, fun trumped all, as far the kids were concerned.

These little guys couldn't care less who was winning or losing. Fun was in order...

The weather was outstanding. A nice breeze throughout the day with some sun brought light to what has been kind-of-a rainy spring here in Kansas City. League play begins at the end of the month, and I believe the kids are ready to go.

As far as the image making was concerned, it was a breeze. When in crowds though, I like to keep the aperture in mind to limit focus on just the subject of the photo. I ran with two bodies (I believe this will be my baseball kit this summer) for the event. The Canon 7D Mark II paired with the Sigma 150-600s lens & the Canon 70D with the Canon 70-200 IS II. The Sigma rested on a Benro monopod w/Sirui ballhead. There will be no hand-holding the Sigma (that thing's a beast).

For some of the image particulars: I run in manual mode at all times. Shooting into the sun in one shot, then backlit the next, I have to have the flexibility to adjust on the fly to the exact settings I need. That being said, the Mark II has this ridiculously awesome way of handling ISO, so I rock the auto ISO with the max at 3200. It allows me to shoot with the worry on only two sides of the triangle... so sweet. For this shoot, I froze most action solid with 1/800 to 1/1250 shutter speed. I will introduce some motion blur into future shoots to allow for more of a feeling of motion, but I wanted to be sure to get these shots. You don't get the range of subjects in one place very often. The day was awesome. Kudos to you Cle Ross!

With so many people there, and so many participants, I posted more photos than usual. Hope you enjoy.

If you like the post, please share and pass on a like if so inclined. Thanks.

New Stanley Plants a New Seed in our Community

It's spring everyone! The trees are alive and my grass is shin high. It's time to revive, to renew, to wake up that shutter finger that for multiple reasons got little exercise this winter. This community blog may have been dormant for a little while, but the community has been going strong.

New Stanley Elementary embarked on a community driven playground project. New Stanley was the first to receive the playground they so greatly coveted, and our children needed. The money came from several sources, but the gist of it is that it's here. Saturday, the 25th of April a crowd gathered in the school yard to conquer the grandaddy of all "Some Assembly Required" projects. This crowd was comprised of the young and the young at heart. Everyone had a shovel, hammer, or screwdriver in hand ready to work... and work they did. The playground went up in a blaze, as if the IKEA gods appeared with well-translated instructions and YouTube tutorials from the heavens.

One of the reasons for the seemingly well-oiled construction machine, was the leadership and guidance from KaBOOM!. Their motto is: play matters for all kids. The KaBOOM! team was energetic and mobile, moving from station to station, making sure all was going smoothly. They assigned locals to be group leads, and delegated assignments to each. Headquartered in Washington D.C. and founded in 1996, the organization built, opened, or improved over 16,000 playgrounds. Their website hosts many articles and research that not only are a good read, but are very informative studies about inner-city neighborhoods. Check it out:

While the multitudes were doing some serious muscle flexin', I was flexin' the muscles of my 7D Mark II & 70D, capturing video and stills alike, to the tune of roughly 2000 images and a bevy of video clips of this event. I must thank Mr. Most and his gracious staff for allowing me to serve them in this capacity. Let's get down and dirty with some particulars:

The light was absolutely bogus! Rain all day... sometimes light, often heavy. The 70D had to stay in the bag during the heaviest rain (no weather sealing). I was having such a time with varying light that I set an auto ISO range to max at 3200 on the Mark II and kept firing away. Aperture varied with the subject, but shutter speed was the stud of the party. The Mark II never went below 1/800. I had to stretch the 70D to 1/200 on some dark-sky and indoor shots because I don't have as much latitude with ISO and noise. The glass was the Canon 70-200 IS II, the Tamron SP 15-30mm F2.8 VC, and the Sigma 50mm F1.4 prime Art lens. The goal was to highlight the event, not the bad weather. The quick shutter speed freezes the action more and thus hides the rain for the most part.

The kids were great. They had activities such as face-painting that kept them busy as bees while their parents were laboring in the rain...

This event yielded so many key moments. Hearts were light and smiles were plenty. Mostly everyone was a great sport with me jamming the camera in their faces. Seeing all of the care and graciousness of all of the volunteers was very emotional. I hope I have done it justice in the capture.

To sum up this opening blog adventure to 2015 I say this to KaBOOM! :
You could spice up your motto with "Use your Grey Matter, stop gettin' fatter, KaBOOOM! Play Matters! (see what I did there?)..... then simply drop the mic. Out.

Mission Complete... This one is in the books.

I Met Some True Community Servants Today

I had the honor of meeting some of the 'Dotte firefighters today from our neighborhood station. They were at K-Mart spending some time with the community. I truly don't think they know how much they are appreciated in this community (or any community for that matter). With that in mind, I'd like to dedicate these few words to my brother-in-law and favorite firefighter Chris Wolters, Battalion Chief at HQ in Leavenworth, Kansas. I will always admire you for your service and courage.

I think that for at least some time in most boys' (and some girls too) childhoods when asked "What do you want to be when you grow up?", the response was "A Fireman! They get to drive the fire truck, put out fires (which seem so harmless as a kid for some reason), and wear those cool uniforms!" As an adult I can tell just by looking at them; those uniforms can't possibly be "cool" in the literal meaning of the word. They look heavy. Pulling that hose (or doing anything for that matter) in all that gear looks like serious hard work. Fire hurts, smoke kills, and wheeling that monster-truck around in metro traffic has got to be a test of patience, especially knowing that every second counts when trying to reach your destination. Let's not even go into what you're liable to find when you get to an auto accident or something of the sort. Crews like this are generally the first responders to a lot of emergencies. It's amazing how glamorous we all thought the job was.

The people that wear that uniform are a special breed. Firemen aren't granted power, authority, or the promise of blowing things up (I know for a fact there were several in my howitzer battery that were there specifically for that reason for example). I'm sure there are aspects of the job that people like, but I can't imaging someone could last as a fireman without the right mindset and a huge dose of "heart of servitude". The work is hard. The pay is laughable considering what they do. They risk their lives for our community and often run into danger as we are running out. Since I'm a photographer, I thought I might show them a little of my gratitude in the form of a few photos.

Thanks guys for what you do! You are the true Rock Stars! Godspeed!

Feel free to download any of these photos for any purpose. They are license and cost free. If anyone at the station would like to print any of these, please email me. I will remove the watermark and get you a more suitable file for print. Thanks again!

Image particulars: The sun was strait on. Since this meeting was happenstance and I was on my way to a completely different kind of shoot, I had no neutral density filter on my lenses. My style is more of a grunge look, so I shot a little hot at ISO 800 @ F7.1 to F8 with a super quick shutter (1/800-1/1000). Theres one B/W at the end of the gallery that ended up a little too hot, but savable. The guys were great, as if they were used to the camera, so they got no direction from me other that "Just do you.". The truck actually helped a lot, providing a contrast point (backdrop) for me to work with in Lightroom. After tweaking in Lightroom I tried to pull them all into Photoshop for my usual Hi-Pass Filter and the works, but they really didn't need it. If this were a pre-planned session, I would have used a little fill flash and made sure my ISO was at 100, so I could run my Photoshop process.  

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