A lot has changed in the presidential campaign since Sept. 18, when I was the local pool photographer for the McCain/Palin campaign stop in Cedar Rapids last month. The pool slot got me inside the buffer zone with the national pool photogs, and also kept me busy running for the better part of a few hours. I've skipped the podium photos for this post and am just sharing some of my favorite images from the day. Media got there early (about two or three hours early) to get credentials and through security, set up our computers and shoot some features.
I've taken Chris Morris' 'My America' with me from TX to WA to UT to Iowa's caucus, so I was, needless to say, a bit giddy when I saw him gather with the rest of the media under the wing of the campaign plane. In other photo fangirl news, Todd Heisler was in the pool too, but, having never met him, I didn't realize it until I saw his work in the Times the next day. The pace of the day was so fast, there wasn't really much time for introductions or small talk, and the locals ride in a different van than the national media.
Way underexposed, yes. But it works for an inside photo, and I dig the deep blacks.
The porcelain skin, red lips, and photos of the candidates.. perfection. Oh, and that's McCain to her left.
First thought at seeing the lenses peeking through the curtain: "Hmm.. all eyes on Palin." Second thought: "How do I get up there?" At that point, one of the photogs tapped me on the shoulder (Heisler, I think?) and I followed him backstage, past the Secret Service and up a ladder.
These overall crowd shots are easy enough to get when you have a ladder and a great venue (see, for example, this photo by Damon Winter from NYT of the 100,000-strong Obama rally in StL this weekend). This airplane hangar wasn't so fantastic, but, actually made the crowd look bigger than it was (even though it was impressively huge) because of the overexposed, faded crowed at the top of the frame. The riser in the top right shows you where the rest of the media stood for the rally.
When you're part of a pool, you basically go where you're told to go and stay out of the way of the candidates and their security. We (local freelancer Stephen Mally shooting for Reuters, I think, and I) were pretty much on the stage at the end of the rally when one of the media handlers told us "She's coming your way, move back." She walked right in front of us, and we got the shot that the national guys didn't.
Going into the day, we didn't expect McCain and Palin to tour the flood zones -- in fact, there was a bit of an outcry about it here. So when our handler said, "Just in case you need to get in a van for some reason, you'll be getting into that van," we were pretty certain plans had changed. Sure enough, after the rally, we all piled into the vans and got on the highway. Meanwhile, my editor was calling to find out what I knew (less than him) and where we were going (probably Time Check, maybe Czech Village). Our intern, Amanda, was positioned at the old Dairy Queen in case they headed that direction, and sure enough, we took the exit for Time Check and headed into the neighborhood that I've gotten to know so well in the past four months. We were kept at a distance from the group as they walked up the street, and it was odd, being in a pack of other media as we walked (backwards, slowly, while shooting) through the neighborhood.