Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 30, 2015

Posts in "Behind the Photo"

November 2, 2015

Behind the Photo: Catching Ryan’s Family in Media Mayhem

Paul Ryan Speaker

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., announced in a news conference on Oct. 20 that not sacrificing family time was part of requirement to seek the candidacy for the position. When it was clear he was going to be the 54th speaker, I knew I wanted a shot of him and his family when they were on the Hill for the ceremony.

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July 7, 2015

Behind the Photo: I-Day

By Al Drago

Al Drago/CQ Roll Call

Al Drago/CQ Roll Call

On July 1 I woke up before the sun and headed to Annapolis for one of my favorite assignments to shoot: The Naval Academy Induction Day. Also known as “I-Day,” parents drop off their kids and say their goodbyes for the next six weeks. During these weeks the new students, known as “plebes,” will learn all the ins and outs of the Navy, the Academy, and what is expected of them for the next four years.

On Induction Day, plebes have their heads shaved, new uniforms issued and get their first taste of a superior yelling (read “commanding”) over them. By the end of the day, the plebes literally look different and are ready to begin their Navy careers.

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May 13, 2015

How to Get a Front-Page Photo (Video)

Sometimes capturing just the right moment requires you to move fast. Roll Call Photographer Tom Williams had only a few seconds to capture the hesitant Faye, a potbelly pig, avoiding a selfie attempt by Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.

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May 8, 2015

Capitol Lens: V-E Day

ve day flyover

WWII veteran Les Jones of San Clemente, Calif., and Army Spec. Tyler Amaker attend the flyover Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Photo Editor Bill Clark and Staff Photographer Tom Williams attended the Arsenal of Democracy flyover Friday and captured some stunning moments.

Many veterans from WWII were on the Mall to watch the commemorative event. According to the organizing group, the flyover included dozens of World War II aircraft flying in 15 historical warbird formations representing the major battles, from Pearl Harbor through the final air assault on Japan.

Williams, looking to get IDs for captioning asked one feisty veteran his age. “None of your business,” the vet replied.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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

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