I’ve recently started volunteering for Dave Eggers’ 826 NYC. 826 NYC is a non-profit that supports kids and teens by teaching writing skills. They provide tutoring, field trips, after school workshops, and help for kids learning the English language. 826 makes their free programs fun and enjoyable, giving students both structure and freedom to exercise creativity, ideas, and ultimately develop their own voice through improving their writing skills.
Before moving to Brooklyn, I thought San Francisco's 826 Valencia Pirate Supply Store was the coolest thing ever. But this is Brooklyn, and no place is cooler than Brooklyn. Our very own 826 NYC is fronted by the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Store.
Earlier this week I was scheduled to photograph a “Zombie Apocalypse Workshop” at 826 NYC. From their website:
“This summer, indulge your interests in science, technology, engineering, math and the undead at our zombie apocalypse workshop! Each session, you'll get the chance to learn about the spread of disease, figure out how to build your way out of trouble, and gain valuable skills for the inevitable apocalypse. Of course, you will also be carefully documenting humanity's attempt to survive for future civilizations to read. Using hands-on activities and computer programs to model scenarios, you will strengthen your prediction skills and potentially pick up some life-saving survival smarts along the way.”
Yeah, that’s right up my alley. I can't really post pictures from the workshop, but here's a peek at one of the student's survival worksheet. They had to figure out what to carry with them in their backpacks during a zombie apocalypse.
But before I photographed the Zombie workshop, I stopped and shot a bit in the Superhero Supply Store. The store is what you see from the sidewalk and it’s a fully staffed mercantile where you can buy all of your superhero supplies.
All proceeds from sales at the Superhero Supply Store go to 826 NYC and their youth programs. In the back of the store, behind a secret door naturally, is the true 826 NYC headquarters. It’s where we had the Zombie workshop and where they hold most of their after school events.
I shot the workshop and the Superhero Supply Store photographs with my new Sony a7 (yeah, I’m pretty much all in with Sony now, future blog post will explain my switch) and a 1970s era Olympus Zuiko 50mm f1.8 manual focus lens.
The Superhero Supply store has a supervillian testing cage, where you can enter and take a quiz to see the risk of you being or becoming a supervillian. They also have a capery. The capery is an elevated platform where you don your cape (you have to try on the cape and test it before buying, duh) to evaluate it for wind resistance, drag, and fit. Upon checking out, you have to give your superhero name (mine is "The Incredible Hoke") and recite the superhero pledge. After that you are on your way to fight evil.
I shot everything in the store at ISO 3200 with the Sony, which is absolutely not a problem on this camera. In fact, I shot some of the workshop at ISO 3200 and some of it at ISO 400 with the aid of a Yongnuo 503ii external flash. The Sony and the Yongnuo make an excellent lowlight combination. I'm using the battery grip on the a7 for a bit more heft.