Rally in the Valley – Obama in Roanoke, Va

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I had the opportunity to photograph Sen. Barack Obama’s rally in Roanoke, Va. It’s the first shoot I’ve done for the Democratic Party of Virginia since 2006. I did a great deal of political event photography for the DPVA in 2004, specifically the DNC in Boston and numerous other campaign events. I covered Governor’s Kaine’s campaign kickoff, his historic inauguration in Williamsburg, Va and the 2006 JJ Dinner with Pennsylvania Gov. Rendell.

I’ve gotten involved in so many other projects since 2006 (not the least of which is acting as producer for the TWiP podcast and, you know… a more than full time job here at SBC) that I haven’t been as involved in Democratic photography. My former blog, Documenting Democracy, has gone silent (no real loss… there are so many other superb progressive blogs in Va that have a vastly more effective voice than I’d ever have in this arena) and serves now more as a 2004/2006 photo repository. My “voice” in this scene is through my photography which I do voluntarily and offer freely to the Democratic party and our campaigns (assuming they find images that they deem useful, of course).

So… anyway… I was eager to cover this event since Obama’s campaign is so phenomenally inspiring and, frankly, historic. It’s a lung-filling breath of fresh air after the last eight, horrid, spiraling years under Bush’s sorry excuse for a presidency. Sorry to my Republican readers, but I’m briefly putting on my partisan hat here at halfpress and calling it like I see it. DPVA hooked me up with a press pass and a nice little reserved spot in the front of the risers and I quickly realized how much I’ve missed covering things like the DNC and rallies.

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My photos here aren’t going to win any awards or anything… but I did look for some opportunities to capture a little of the mood. One really needs to shoot from a press riser with some massive, tripod mounted Scott Bourne-class lenses to get the tight, dramatic shots. ? I was using a 24-70L on one body and 70-200L on the other and did a bit of roaming about when not in my slot.

I have more shots to edit, so I might be amending the gallery later. I also made sure to take some shots that represent how the press pool area works (mostly if any TWiP listeners are curious) and you’ll see videographers and wire service photogs in there. Most of those are shot with an 8mm fisheye lens both for effect and to give a sense of scale to the arena and our place in it.

I hope to fit in a few more events around the state before the big day when Virginia elects its first Democratic president since 1964. If I do, I’ll post’em here.

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