Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hello and goodbye, Mr. President

President Barack Obama visited Green Bay today for a town hall meeting focused on the issue of health care. It was an early day... up at 4 a.m. to get presentable, drive to Green Bay at 5 a.m., pre-set (claim your shooting spots and setup) in the gym from 6-7, breakfast at McDonald's while Secret Service sweeps the school for roughly two hours, and then hurry up and wait for the President and dignitaries to arrive at 11:45.

President Barack Obama speaks during a town hall meeting in the gymnasium at Green Bay Southwest High School in Green Bay, Wis., Thursday, June 11, 2009.

My shooting position was "in the buffer"... the divide between the President and the crowd occupied by the Secret Service and select media photographers (usually only a few local press.. majority are AP, AFP, Getty, etc.). TV lights are hot and the floor is hard (no standing baby...)

My head hurts.

Camera flashes light up the gymnasium as President Obama takes the stage.

A few more of him speaking...

President Obama is charismatic... I'm not sucking up or promoting the guy... it's just a fact. I knew that something unique would happen today. It was just a matter of recognizing it and being ready for it.

Obama wrote an excuse note for Kennedy Corpus, the daughter of John Corpus who asked the President a question during the town hall. The 10-year-old girl had missed school to attend the town hall with her father. He walked down off the stage and hand-delivered it to her.

And I missed it...

Well... you know... you win some, you lose some. I had the wrong lens on my second camera at the time, and by the time I had switched lenses, the other pool photographers had created a huddle that I just couldn't break into.

I should have anticipated the moment better, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it, because later I was able to get a detail photo of it in Corpus' hands after the event... and I'm satisfied with it. I think it tells the story a little better than what the media stampede captured... they didn't have the luxury of sticking around.

Obama's penmanship is exceptional considering he was listening to a question and talking at the same time he wrote it. Click the photo to view it larger so you can read it... cute...

And then the President left. Goodbye, sir. It was nice while it lasted.

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