- McConnell Campaign Manager Quits Amid Scandal
- Obama Weighs Delay in Action on Immigration
- Judge Strikes Down Texas Abortion Law
- Neck-and-Neck in Arkansas
- Judge Dismisses McDaniel Challenge
Posts in "On the Road"
August 19, 2014
On Aug. 14, I was in St. Louis with reporter Emily Cahn waiting to fly back to D.C. the next day. I knew about the protests in Ferguson and thought about going, but I had to file pictures from the Illinois State Fair and had little storage space on my computer after nine days in the Midwest for our Roll Call on the Road project.
I had also heard reports of street blockades and journalist arrests. I wasn’t familiar with the area from a logistical standpoint, I didn’t feel like dealing with the hassle of getting there.
August 14, 2014
I attended the Iowa State Fair last week with Roll Call Politics Reporter Alexis Levinson to cover the Senate race to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. The candidates running for the seat are Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican state Senator Joni Ernst. I’ve have enjoyed taking photos of politicians at the fair in the past, but it proved tricky this time with the volume of people following them.
Braley delivered his stump speech on Thursday and then walked the grounds with a motley crew in tow, including: staff, reporters, filmmakers, opposition trackers, hecklers holding signs and random hangers-on. Luckily, I was the only still photographer from the media. However, if the candidate did something that would make a good picture, it was hard to get into position, and nearly impossible to exclude all the extraneous people. At that point, as a photographer, you have to try to make a photo that shows everything going on. Full story
August 7, 2014
I set my alarm to 6 a.m. the night before so I could get some pretty sunrise photos.
Problem #1: I wake up at 5 a.m., because, you know, its 8 a.m. in D.C.
Problem #2: The sun is already up.
Luckily, the coffee bar is open in the hotel. My new mission for the morning, while the light is still good, is an old mission. The Mission San Xavier del Bac, to be precise. This turned out to be the highlight of my day.
August 6, 2014
My alarm goes off at 3:30 a.m. to give me enough for a quick shower, a shot of caffeine and a ride via Uber to National Airport for my 6 a.m. flight to Las Vegas via Atlanta. I get to the airport and guess what? The TSA lanes aren’t even open. I could have slept another 30 minutes.
Eventually, I get on the plane and land in Sin City, where I manage to bypass all the slot machines as I make my way to baggage claim and the shuttle bus to the rental car hub. Now comes my favorite part: I LOVE driving through the desert, and I now get to drive from Vegas to Tucson, taking in some absolutely spectacular scenery.
Here are a few of the shots I made with my phone, including a roadside place where you can shoot guns and have a burger,
a Route 66 sign in Kingman, Ariz.,
and a flask from the souvenir shelf at a gas station.
Part of my plan for the day was to find a beautiful scene to shoot at sunset with my real cameras. And had it not been for a few self-imposed detours and a couple traffic jams (how is there traffic in the desert?) I would have made it through Phoenix with plenty of time to find that perfect spot, maybe with some cacti.
But as I clear the Phoenix area, the sun is setting way too fast, and there isn’t a single cactus to be seen. Thank you Arizona, for 75 mph speed limits. Just as the sun was about to go behind the mountains, I found a small clump of pitiful cacti. Here’s what it looked like.
This journey started almost 22 hours ago, and now it’s time to sleep.
July 8, 2014
When Independence Day rolls around in an election year, the Roll Call photojournalists head out to small towns in contested districts across the country to catch candidates and beauty queens marching in their local parades. This year I found myself at the Ripley, W.Va., Fourth of July parade billed as “The USA’s Largest Small Town Independence Day Celebration.”
This is a collection of every frame I shot of the parade, most which never get filed or shown publicly. The music is a recording I captured on my iPhone of local musicians hanging out under a tree. Leo Enoch was on guitar and Leonard Whiting was on banjo.
Have a look for yourself as Roll Call presents 623 photos of the parade in 69 seconds.
June 3, 2014
This trip through Mississippi had a lot of challenges. Missing candidates, late schedules and zealous handlers can make it tough to get informative and creative images, and this swing through the Magnolia State might have generated more stories than art.
I was looking forward to covering Senate candidate Chris McDaniel because his campaign events sounded promising. We arrived bright and early in Philadelphia, Miss., at gas station/diner for a sit down with some locals at 7 a.m. While we were waiting, my colleague Kyle Trygstad interviewed a friendly gentleman (almost everyone I met was friendly) who told us the campaign had informed the locals that McDaniel wouldn’t be coming.
So we moved on for the next scheduled event, at an equipment auction outside of town. With the visuals of excavators, bulldozers and people bidding, I thought this had the potential to illustrate a campaign in the rural South. Soon we saw a McDaniel volunteer, who informed us that the candidate wouldn’t be attending this event either. Apparently, there was something wrong with the bus.
The two cancellations didn’t help me, but it did make a really good story for Kyle.
May 13, 2014
May 5, 2014
Every two years, Roll Call photographers hit the road to see what we call the “real world.” Over the Easter recess, we kicked off our 2014 campaign travels with Tom Williams in Kentucky and West Virginia, and myself hitting the familiar confines of Georgia with Associate Politics Editor Kyle Trygstad. And wouldn’t you know that our first stop in Georgia was the Cobb County Commission meeting room in downtown Marietta, which just so happened to be the city where I got my start as a newspaper photographer over 20 years ago.
Entering the room for a GOP Senate candidate forum, I had a flood of memories from my days at the Marietta Daily Journal. The early-mid ’90s was a very exciting time in that county just north of downtown Atlanta. As Atlanta was just starting to gear up for the 1996 summer Olympics, the Cobb County Commission passed an anti-gay resolution, which led to large protests (by Marietta standards anyway) and eventually to the Olympics pulling official venues out of the county. The meeting room seemed like it hasn’t changed a bit form those days, with the exception of a some red, white and blue bunting placed there for the candidates forum.
Marietta was also the home of Newt Gingrich. And in 1994, I was there to photograph Newt’s election victory party on assignment for US News & World Report when he became speaker. Back in those days, digital photography, FTP and email were not an option. I had to shoot the event on slide film (Kodak Ektachrome 320t pushed 1 stop) for the magazine as their courier waited in the hallway to whisk my raw film off to Washington for processing as fast as possible.
The truth is, The Marietta Daily Journal was an awful place to work. The work conditions were terrible, the pay abysmal, and the publisher… I better stop right there. However, it was a fantastic photojournalist’s boot camp which shaped my style of shooting in so many ways. On those days when I might get a little down with things around here, all I have to do is click my heels three times and repeat: “At least you’re not in Marietta anymore.”
Trivia Quiz: Guess who else was working at the MDJ in those days. Give up?
Current CNN Political Director and former Roll Call reporter Mark Preston.