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February 2, 2015

Posts in "On the Road"

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.

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

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!”

Full story

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

August 7, 2014

Day 2: Arizona, Why Do You Hate Photographers?

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

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.

 

 

Full story

By Bill Clark Posted at 11:20 a.m.
On the Road

August 6, 2014

Westward Ho! Day 1 of Roll Call on the Road in Arizona

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.

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Empty-handed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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,

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Combo dining. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

a Route 66 sign in Kingman, Ariz.,

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Get your kicks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

and a flask from the souvenir shelf at a gas station.

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Drink up! (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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.

The sun sets in the West. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The sun sets in the West. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

This journey started almost 22 hours ago, and now it’s time to sleep.

By Bill Clark Posted at 1:28 p.m.
On the Road

July 8, 2014

What You Missed: An Independence Day Parade in 69 Seconds (Video)

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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.

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