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May 6, 2015

Posts in "Behind the Photo"

April 20, 2015

Sen. Robert Griffin, 1923-2015

Griffin with Julie Ann Hamilton, 1968 Michigan National Cherry Queen. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Griffin with Hamilton, 1968 Michigan National Cherry Queen. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Sen. Robert Griffin died on April 17, much of the news coverage that followed focused on his filibuster against the nomination of Abe Fortas to be chief justice of the United States and his political alliance with Gerald Ford, a fellow Michigan Republican who rose through the House ranks to become minority leader, vice president and eventually president after Richard M. Nixon resigned.

Lost in the ether, perhaps, was the Griffin who was an indefatigable partisan for his home of Traverse City, Mich., particularly its signature event, the National Cherry Festival. Full story

April 14, 2015

Why You Want News Photographers to Roam Free at Political Events

RollCall-On-the-Road-Logo(300x300)One of the most important assets a news photographer has is the ability to move. Even a few inches can make the difference in having a clean background for your shot. You want to be able to look at as many angles as possible and determine where you need to be to make the best picture. Most of the time you can make a good guess, but it is always a good idea to take a spin around the venue to rule out other vantage points.

When covering news events where there is a lot of media interest, photographers are at the mercy of organizers giving them access to roam around and get good art. Two of my recent assignments — one in Boston and one in Virginia — demonstrated how some event officials have very different views on how to handle photographers.

Full story

March 4, 2015

‘When It Comes to Luck, You Make Your Own’

I am not a morning person. It’s 5 a.m., my alarm is blaring at some random interstate-exit hotel near Montgomery, Ala., and all I want to do is go back to sleep. But I really want to get some beauty shots of the Edmund Pettus Bridge and the town of Selma bathed in sunrise light for our coverage of the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.”

Edmund Pettus Bridge

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Full story

January 21, 2015

The Two-Second Shot

John McCain

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., fools around with colleagues upon arriving for a news conference on Jan. 13. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Many times on the Hill, a photographer has to guess which direction someone will go, how many photographers will be there already, what the light situation will be and numerous other scenarios.

And then you guess wrong anyway. Full story

December 1, 2014

A Tale of Two Handshakes

Taking pictures at a political event is hard.

I’m a visually oriented person who started off my nascent journalism career (in junior high, in a “wet” lab) as a shooter, and I’ve always respected how much the right image can communicate about a story. But I gained a deeper appreciation for political photojournalism when I compared the pictures I took on the campaign trail with ones taken by CQ Roll Call Photo Editor Bill Clark and Photographer Tom Williams.

Parades make for good art in political campaigns. There are a lot of variables — from children running around, Shriners buzzing by in mini-cars and the opportunity for candidates to literally touch the people they are trying to woo to the ballot box. But it’s not a simple matter of pointing and shooting, particularly when a writer such as myself also is surveying the situation and attempting to construct a narrative about the event.

Full story

October 21, 2014

Getting the Job Done in Media Scrums

RollCall-On-the-Road-Logo(300x300)There are many competitive photographers in D.C. I’ve learned from guys such as Stephen Crowley of The New York Times, Win McNamee of Getty and The Associated Press’ J. Scott Applewhite since I came here as an intern with six months of experience at my college newspaper. They don’t need to be the closest or most aggressive. They put some elements together, capture a moment, or catch a piece of light that will tie a picture together. Colleagues I respect will always try to be aware of where the other shooters are in a crowd and flash a “You OK?” look when they are close to being in your frame. I try to operate this way, too, but sometimes it can be difficult on the road.

Covering candidates in their home districts is an essential part of the job, but adapting to the style of the local visual journalists can be challenging. In D.C., there are so many still photographers that we have to work together so we don’t get in each other’s shots. A lot of journalists in smaller markets aren’t used to working in crowds, and I think they focus on what they need and not where others are.

Full story

September 22, 2014

Behind the Photo: Mary Landrieu’s Keg-Stand Assist

Mary Landrieu

Landrieu holds a keg nozzle for a LSU football fan as he does a “keg stand” at a tailgate party on campus before the football game on Sept. 20. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

RollCall-On-the-Road-Logo(300x300)BATON ROUGE, La. — Soon after arriving in Louisiana to cover the Senate race, Roll Call Associate Politics Editor Kyle Trygstad and I found out Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy and Sen. Mary L. Landrieu would be campaigning at the massive alcohol-infused ritual that is Louisiana State University tailgating. With thousands of spirited football fans gathered for all day feasts on Cajun cuisine and every imaginable type of libation before the 6 p.m. kickoff of the LSU-Mississippi State game in Baton Rouge, I knew we were going to be witness to a spectacle with a high chance for the unexpected.

Thanks to the Southern hospitality of Fred and Lou of the Tequila Tigers tailgate crew, we were quickly invited into the fold when we arrived early at the first designated meeting spot on campus for Landrieu’s tour of the elaborate tailgate parties. Soon I spotted Landrieu’s entourage winding through the purple and yellow encampments. She moved quickly from group to group, saying hello, passing out campaign stickers, shaking hands and posing for photos. She even dared to approach what seemed like hostile territories, greeted with a chorus of boos or occasional shouts of, “Go back to Washington!”

Full story

September 19, 2014

Fast Forward Friday: How a Photographer Uses Instagram’s Hyperlapse

Have you ever wished you could put Congress on fast forward? You can now, with the help of the Hyperlapse app from Instagram that’s now available for iPhone. (Sorry droids, you are going to have to wait.)

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve put this nifty little app to the test, and I love it. It shoots video at normal speed, then gives you the option to save or publish the video at normal speed to 12 times the speed.

Just imagine how much Congress could get done at 12 times the speed.

Full story

July 15, 2014

Small Victories

John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Although it seems there’s not much to these pictures, it is a major victory in the effort to photograph the back-to-back weekly news conferences of Speaker John A. Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on the Hill.

The House leaders normally host a press conference every Thursday in Studio A of the Capitol Visitor Center. They speak alone from a lectern and it normally looks the same every week, except for what they’re wearing.

Pelosi’s avail is held first and usually wraps up at about 11:20 a.m., to allow some time before Boehner’s which starts at 11:30. As I was setting up a shot of her walking out, which wasn’t shaping up to be much, I realized Pelosi was ending late and Boehner would be there at any moment. I thought there was a good chance of them passing each other.

Full story

May 28, 2014

Behind the Photo: Bill Clark’s Favorite Photos

bill clark michelle obama

Click on photo to enlarge. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In this installment of our “Behind the Photo” series, photographer Bill Clark discusses his favorite photos he’s taken over years on Capitol Hill and on the road.

Clark describes the award-winning photo he took in Las Vegas while waiting for a Harry Reid rally to start. “Michelle Obama was coming to campaign for Harry Reid and she was running a few hours late.” Everyone, including journalists who came to cover the event had “nothing to do,” he said. Clark spotted a few women posing with a TIME magazine cover with the first lady on the cover. “I just started taking pictures trying to amuse myself waiting for the main event to happen,” Clark said.

Clark talked about a photo project where he followed Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., from a week before he was elected all the way through his first year in Congress. “It’s a great way to get to know a member of Congress,” Clark said. The toughest part of a project like this one, he said, is “just getting it off the ground.” The biggest challenge is getting the member’s press person on board and getting top staffers to OK the project. “Just having the cooperation from the start” is key, Clark said. “I don’t follow him every day,” he explained. “Every week, or two weeks I’ll find and event or a hearing he’s participating in and try to grab a photo.”

Full story

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