kyle cassidy (kylecassidy) wrote,
kyle cassidy

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Catching up

I optimistically packed the fish eye last week when I went to New York to photograph President Obama. The press release said that the "throw" (distance between your camera and the speaker) was sixty feet which means you pack the biggest, fastest lens you have along with your expensive tripod and a fancy 1.4x teleconverter if you have one. You never know what's going to happen though. On the day Al Gore announced Joe Lieberman as his running mate I thought I was going to be even farther back but ended up shooting the whole thing from six feet away with a 28mm. So I overpacked accordingly.

Everybody from the press office was friendly and well dressed (Windsor knots seem to be all the rage in the Obama White House -- Obama himself had been using a rather utilitarian four-in-hand during the campaign but he seems to have switched to something a little more symmetrical, though I'm not sure what it is) credentialing was swift and someone from the press office lead journalists in groups over to a security area where we got wanded and our gear was sniffed by a rather serious looking German shepherd and a serious looking guy in a polo shirt who carefully removed all my lens caps, peered through the lenses and returned everything, taking care to re-buckle everything.

We were ushered into the press area and a nice young staffer told us we could have the last to rows of seats or a spot on the wall behind it and he'd be around if we needed anything.

So we sat around, talking amongst ourselves for a while, showing off iPhone apps and talking about lenses and exciting things we'd photographed over the years.

The president was introduced, I photographed with my d700 and the 300 2.8 and when I was sure I had a pretty good image, I switched to the Panasonic GF1 to see how it would do. Using the lens adapter the 300 worked fine on it but after using the motor drive on the d700 it seemed so painfully slow, it was like winding a film camera again which really felt like an unnecessary handicap.

The President talked for about half an hour which gave me a chance to try moving around for a different angle but there really wasn't anything else. Cooper Union is plagued by a lot of obstructed views and journalists were pretty thick around any area you could see the podium from. So I went back and took a couple of shots with the fisheye.

Click for a larger version of this photo

He ended, waved, shook a couple of hands and it was (almost) all over. People left, the media descended on anybody in the audience the recognized (Paul Volcker was there, as was former Governor Mario Cuomo and the Reverend Al Sharpton) to get a quote.

I drifted out into the sun, tweeted that I was in Manhattan, & went off to have lunch w/ everybody who showed up.

As I got off the train coming home there was a huge double rainbow stretched across Philadelphia.

It was a good day.

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