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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.

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