Grab the pitchforks …

… the President is coming to town! Well it really wasn’t that bad at all. Last week President Obama made the first presidential visit to Boulder Colorado in something like 60 years. That made it an even bigger deal ya know? I was given an assignment to help cover the hub-bub and happily I got to photograph the protests. Ok I would have loved to be pointing my lens at Obama but all that stuff is so clean and staged that it’s more like shooting a stage producton or some kind of celebrity thing. Yeah there are some good moments that happen but it’s rarely my thing. I prefer photographing regular people being their unconstrained selves. Thus my afternoon with the protesters was far more interesting.

I gotta say again that Colorado people are almost too nice. I am not really complaining as I love where I live. But there was a distinct lack of, well, venom that would have made for much more dynamic photos that day. Screaming and carrying on as uncivil as it is simply makes for more energetic images. Alas who should turn out to express their displeasure at their leader? Nice people. Gad! The photos were better than I would have thought and the best part was that all these pleasant protesters, is that an oxymoron?, made my job easier as none of them gave me any guff about being part of the, what do they call us, “the lame street media”?

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Party pix

I was sent to cover the hub-bub at the Colorado State Republican Victory Party on the 4th. Anyone who has done this knows that it's usually boring as all get-out. A bunch of candidates, their families and policy wonks milling about drinking heavily – you hope! – and watching tv. Oh yeah!  THAT'S going to make for good photos. Even if yer candidate looses he's not going to openly weep into his scotch so that you can get an good emotive photo. Nope. But then trying to make something visually interesting out of the painfully boring is usually our/my job.

I was initially to follow 3 candidates in hotly contested races but, to my delight, two didn't attend the event. That left me following only Nick Kliebenstein. That's a great thing as these guys don't hang around in a tight group and making my way around the Marriott in the dozen or so small party rooms and the big ballroom filled with about 400 people would be awful. As I said: sometimes a boy gets lucky.

Nick was not as prompt in getting there as I was so I wandered about and just shot stuff to keep me from getting bored. Yes I said that out loud. Once he got there I was just in "hang out" mode. Nick's a great guy and his wife, and aide Matt were delightful to spend time with. Makes my job even easier!

I brought a fair amount of gear because I didn't know what I would need. I quickly found that with just my D700 and beloved AF-D 28mm f/1.4  I had the ticket for this kind of chaos: wide enough to give me some air around my subjects but that fab f/1.4 gives me an amazing separation between the subject and the stuff around him. It's like how you use a longer lens to separate the subject from the background but with a wide angle view. Man-alive I'm glad that I kept this lens during the DX chip era.

So here are some snaps from that night. All of these except for the last one was shot with my D700, ISO400, Tungsten WB, AF-D 28mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4 around a 1/90 sec.

Ah the glamorous side of being an on air tv personality!

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Watching the results trickle in, I was echoing her sentiment.

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Oh come on! If you saw this kinda light tell me that you wouldn't shoot it too.

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Here's Nick telling some supporters that he had essentially chewed off all his fingernails in anticipation of the results.

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Aide Matt, Nick and Nick's wife Krista kept checking Nick's Blackberry for more up to date results than was coming over the 8 bajillion tv feeds that were going on. It never looked good.

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"Hey why don't you go make interesting photos of people waiting around and watching tv?" Gad! Well that's what it was all about. I must say that this is the shot that makes me love that 28mm f/1.4: the catchlight in Nick's eye is perfectly sharp but look at the lovely out of focus background that is a cluttered mess if sharp but isn't so it doesn't.

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Now this one was done with my AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8. In these situations when there is a scrum you tend to do a "hail Mary" overhead shot. After a while of doing these you get to know kinda where you need to point you lens to get a usable framing realizing that you need to shoot wide to allow for the necessary crop to level out the nearly always tilted horizon you get when not looking through the lens. Well I have one of my control buttons on the D700 set to activate the Live View mode and since I do a lot of "No-looky" shots this function is just the bomb. I was able to shoot Senate candidate Bob Schaffer talking to the press after his concession speach and see exactly what I was aiming at. This is a full frame shot – no crop. Man I love our tools these days!

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Well as we all know the Republicans didn't do very well so the Republican Victory Party was neither Victory nor Party but I actually had a good time. I didn't get anyone crying into their Martini's but we will go through the whole excercise again in a few year so who knows?