Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 1, 2015

Posts in "On the Road"

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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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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December 26, 2014

Slideshow: Roll Call’s 2014 News Photos of the Year

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo

This year was a big one in political news — and that is reflected in our 2014 News Photos of the Year. More than half of our best photos of the year are a result of Roll Call’s dedication to sending journalists on the road to see congressional campaigns on the ground.

A photographer from one of our competitors approached me a few months ago for advice on how to get his publication to send him on the road. I told him the trick is having editors who already understand how photography adds a valuable dimension to political reporting.

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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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November 17, 2014

The Photographer’s Guide to Food on the Road

RollCall-On-the-Road-Logo(300x300)Now that we’ve all had time to fully digest the midterm elections, and I’ve had time to get back to a regular diet after a week on the road in Arkansas and Louisiana, let’s talk food on the road.

When my editors propose a politics trip to a particular state, I immediately begin considering the native cuisine, or lack thereof, available at my destination. Here’s a look at the best and worst of my on-the-road dining this election cycle. Full story

By Bill Clark Posted at 2:33 p.m.
On the Road

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.

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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!”

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August 19, 2014

Behind the Camera in Ferguson

RollCall-On-the-Road-Logo(300x300)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.

Around the time I was thinking about it, Photo Editor Bill Clark sent me an email floating the idea of checking it out and that was all I needed to get going. Full story

By Tom Williams Posted at 2:39 p.m.
On the Road

August 14, 2014

Iowa: The Fair of Entourages

Iowa State Fair

Guests walk though the 2014 Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa on August 9. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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

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