We get to the airport hours before landing. Shoot whatever's happening to pass the time. Below, measuring the stairs.
Media stands on a flatbed trailer at least 100 yards from the president and Air Force One. There are a few shots you know you'll get: the wave, walking down the stairs, and greeting any local officials. Unfortunately, I made a few mistakes: I wanted a wider shot that incorporated part of the plane, so I was using my 70-200... which happens to need a trip to CPS for problems focusing at a distance. So I missed the wave while my camera stubbornly held at a soft enough focus that it could never be salvaged by unsharp mask. So I sent this instead.
I should have switched to the 400mm lens for greeting the governor, buuuut I didn't, until after the hug and handshake. Live and learn. The thing about airport duty, too, is that it's pretty unlikely that any of the photos will be used in the next day's paper, since the best photos are going to come from the event. And the national media that travel with the president have a much better angle -- we're directly in front of the stairs, while the traveling media are sort of under the wing, from the side. The comparison, from photo editor pal Jon Woods as MSNBC, has my photo on the left, and a photo from AP's Charles Dharapak.
Motorcade leaves for Iowa City, and we all hunker down to file. And wait. And eat a Clif bar to tide me over a couple more hours. And wait some more. President returns, let's do it all again, but backwards! This time I was going to get that wave.
Stay on the tarmac til you can't see the plane anymore, just in case, and then call it a day.