Thursday, February 14, 2008

To the left and to the right

"Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., makes a joke about Republicans voting for him during a speech in during campaign rally at 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, Md., Monday, Feb. 11, 2008."

As mentioned in my two previous entries, I covered two different presidential candidates over the weekend. One a front running Democrat and the other a trailing Republican.

I am not making any predictions, but after seeing the difference between the two campaigns, I am willing to bet a Democrat will be put in office. Now, I am not the most political savvy person and I don't get into heated debates about the stuff, but it’s a clear who has more support from voters.

Shooting the Huckabee rally this past weekend was completely different than Obama on Monday and each of these campaigns had positives and negatives aspects.

First, I was told by the publication I was shooting for that I needed no credentials and no pre-registration for the Huckabee event. "Just show up and shoot." I did just that and wasn't once asked for a credential or who I was shooting for. Although I arrived early, I could have easily came precisely at the speaking time and had zero problems with parking or walking right in.

In addition, the access was great. I wasn't limited to one area or riser. I freely roamed the base of the stage or the "pit" and it wasn't prohibited to wade through the crowd of 400 or more supporters.

I not only got great images of Huckabee, but of his supporters, students and others in attendance. It was nice to get a variety of images from a bunch of different locations in the ballroom. However, the crowd was not nearly as energetic as his male Democratic opponent and didn't barer many signs.

For the Obama rally in Baltimore, I was told I needed to be signed up as media 24 hours in advance online. Once logged into the system up, a credential would be left at the door when I checked in at the event. There was no given speech time, so I had to arrive very early and be ran through a security check point. Basically a quick scan by metal detector and have all my equipment scanned, inspected by police.

Between waiting in line and having my gear inspected, this took about 30 minutes. Makes you wonder why they go through the trouble of doing this at some candidate’s speeches and not at others.

If it wasn't for the fake media or as I called them the "basement built media" the event may have been a bit smoother. There were many photographers in the media check in that clearly weren't apart of any media. They had made a phony credential and brought a bunch of consumer equipment with them. I am talking point-and-shoots on monopods. Seriously, my golden retriever dog could have gotten in the media entrance if she had a camera on her collar.

Anyways, I don't want to rant about that too much, because they didn't get the better access, I guess it was know they were phony.

Once inside the wait was nearly three hours before Obama took the stage. My access was limited to the riser directly in front of the stage with all the other legitimate media. I could also roam on the floor in front of the riser and to one side, but that was about all I got. I couldn't get into either crowd sections and not anywhere near the pit.

I did try, but my yellow sticker on my credential was the same as wearing a vest saying, "Don't allow this dude into the crowd."

I guess the main down side was not being able to get supporter reactions, which was a bummer.

Nonetheless, these two events were a lot of fun, and although I got little sleep I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Well, my weekend is packed with work, so I am sure I’ll have plenty to update with.

My other main shooter at The Towerlight is going out of town, so I have to take in his assignments on top of mine. It’s going to be another long weekend and to be honest; I am not looking forward to it.

I’ve been shooting at least two assignments every day in combination with going to school for the past seven days straight. I have had no free time whatsoever, and I don’t think I am about to break this streak anytime soon.


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