Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A new day

JTU 6-20-08-195

JTU 6-20-08-272

JTU 6-20-08-423

JTU 6-20-08-479

JTU 6-20-08-505

I know I was going to restrict my posting to once a week, but I had a very productive day and today's inauguration and the events following are definitely noteworthy. I had the opportunity to photograph President Obama when he visited Jacksonville for the first time this summer. The story bears repeating b/c it was pretty exciting (at least for me). This past summer I had the opportunity to volunteer with the Florida Times-Union. Without getting too into the details one of my best friends in Jacksonville (also a great photographer), his father works in the photo department at the TU and he got me involved in working during The Players Championship which led to some opportunities this summer. I would come into the office when I was available or when I was told something interesting may be going on. A few weeks prior to the event there was some talk of the possibility of the Obama campaign coming to Jacksonville for the first time. My friend's father told me that I should come into the office that day if I was available because he was in fact coming into town. When I got to the office it was a pretty slow day and I decided to stick around for the visit and maybe follow a photographer out. One photographer was assigned to go to the convention center where Obama would be visiting for a fund raiser and another was going down to the river where he would be speaking. I chose to make the walk down to the river (which was a short walk from the TU office) and see if I could attend the speech and maybe shoot a few shots. Going to the speech was a much bigger gamble b/c of my proximity to the (at that time) Senator and my not being an "official" member of the media. When I was walking down to the river I mentioned how excited I was just to have a shot at photographing such an event based on my limited photo journalistic experience. He gave some great advice and mentioned how many presidents & other politicians he had photographed throughout his career. When we approached the area we were stopped by 2 secret service agents and asked for credentials and to open our bags for search. It became clear to both officers that I was in fact NOT a member of the media and had no media credential. Fortunately the photographer I was with stepped up and went out on a limb for me and told the agents that I was his intern, and helping him out for the day. Once the agents realized I wasn't a threat and was trying to help the photographer out they allowed me in. Once we walked up to the area there was a line of tape that indicated to the photographers where to stand and where not to. There weren't more than 7 or 8 photographers present and it turns out I was shooting next to a guy working for Time and another for Newsweek and some others from the National Press Corps (whoa!). Anyway, they were all very nice and I managed to stay out of their way. Finally the time came and the motorcade came down and the intensity was amazing, all the people moving around him and everyone moving into place quickly, it was really an experience. This was a real throw back and brought back a ton of memories from my 2 summers working in Washington D.C. on the hill - man I loved that kind of stuff. The first thing I realized while he was at the podium was how CLOSE we were to him. That kind of threw me at first - we were literally within 10 or 15 feet and that kind of threw me at first but it just added to the excitement. Once the speech started I was caught up in trying to listen and trying to shoot. Trying to figure out the light and all of my settings and then it would go from cloudy to sunny and back again. It was a nightmare but considering my inexperience I managed. Even though shooting was tough it was an amazing experience that I will never forget! You can view the rest of the set here.

Regardless of who you voted for, or your political affiliation, today was a huge day for our country. With President Obama being inaugurated he will take control of the best and most powerful nation in the world during a difficult time in its history. A huge challenge for anyone. The democratic system that we all love and fight so hard to protect has chosen him as our president and we should all embrace it and allow him to do the job we as a whole have chosen him to do. I wish him the best of luck, will support him, and I truly hope he serves our country as he should. It's a new day!

1 comment:

douglaslevyphotography said...

What can I say? I've got a crew! (Or a buddy who just got a D90...). Sweet shots of da pres, and cool story too. Something you'll remember for sure (and maybe make some $ off the photos)