Gridiron Gov-tale

October 12, 2012 

Though I'm back on the day shift and free from the stresses of working Friday nights, I still had football on my mind when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stopped in town last week to campaign for gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna.

I decided to stop by early to avoid parking issues and settled in for a potentially long stay since political events have generally started late in my sparse experience. Contrary to conventional wisdom, 15 minutes was apparently right on time as I asked other early attendees if the governor was set to appear as scheduled.

I ended up picking a bad position for his entry as he shook hands with volunteer Matthew Bishop:

And while I figured this out in time to possibly do something about it and position myself with the light and to frame McKenna and Christie together more efficiently, I figured rushing out as the governor was walking up would be a bad idea. Seeing the security guy's stern and watchful eyes in that frame just confirmed that fear.

There was plenty of glad-handing as the two politicians split up and greeted local supporters before Brad Hansen, campaign coordinator for Doc Hastings, asked Christie if he wanted to call the next registered voter on the list.

It was a photo idea I had kicked around early in the Football Campaign 2012 planning process and one that fell by the wayside as other concepts emerged. It would have been too much work and money to dress up a room with player-specific posters and banners and I didn't want to tie any of the featured athletes to a specific political party, so using a regular call center would have been tricky. Most importantly, though, it's just not a very visually exciting scene, as this assignment confirmed:

The whole time he was calling, I also was hoping McKenna would wander over to share a laugh with other campaign volunteers as Christie noted in his voicemail message that this was not a crank call and that, yes, the governor of New Jersey was in Kennewick calling voters. Thankfully, McKenna at least came into the vicinity and can be seen chatting in the background as the woman in the red dress makes a phone motion with her hand.

That little bit elevates it slightly past contrived campaign cliché and it's the shot that ran in print. Had I tried to use this concept for the football preview, I'm not sure how I would have posed the extras and I doubt the concept would have made much sense, even in the context of the series.

As for the rest of of Christie's visit, it was pretty much the cramped whirlwind I expected:

And my favorite shot from the day ended up being this little fan feature:

It's not terribly unique as far as these crowds-taking-pictures photos go, but I liked how everybody lined up and especially like the little moment with the boy in the middle.

All told, it was a pretty fun assignment, though I didn't have the time or inspiration to push beyond the obvious photos. Gov. Christie may have showed up early, but he stayed about as long (i.e. short) as I had expected. And while it was only four other media outlets plus me, the small room helped simulate the press scrums I never experience in an area like this — in football or news coverage.

For some awe-inspiring depth of coverage...

Check out this photo retrospective of President Obama's tenure by Pete Souza and the rest of the White House photo staff. Seriously. Click this link regardless of your political leaning. I don't think I've ever looked through 114 photos, read all the captions and wanted to see more.

I'm more than a month late on this one, but A.J. Chavar produced a really clever package showing the Republican and Democratic national conventions side by side through a series of video vignettes.

Florida photographer Bob Croslin talks about the importance of persistence when pursuing personal projects at The Image, Deconstructed. While I'd love to geek out over his lighting setup, it's far more interesting to read about the process of producing such a simply beautiful image.

And for a photo bonus, I'll finish with my Hipstamatic shots from John Trumbo's retirement party last Friday. For the first time, I didn't shoot any photos with my work gear for a colleague's final day, and I live tweeted/Facebooked/Instagrammed throughout the day. It was a fun challenge and change of pace to work around the limitations of shooting with the Hipstamatic — especially in the often dark settings I shot in. Plus, I got strobed by Bob Brawdy's flash as Kristina Lord hammed up at the weight of John's corrections:

While I'm disappointed I couldn't get #trumbo to trend, it was nice to post last-day pictures in a timely fashion for once. I hadn't even looked at my snaps from Rocky Morrow and Deborah Carver's final day on the job until writing this blog, and that was back in July:

My one regret is not playing around with Hipstamatic's new double exposure feature during the day.

You can follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram (username: kaieeieei) to see more snippets like this from my life.

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