For people in DC (Advice on Shooting the Inauguration)

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Tykell, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. Tykell

    Tykell TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys,

    I'm a beginner photographer that's giving himself a tough assignment for January 09, shooting the inauguration as best I can without any kind of media or press credentials, in other words just as a bystander. I have a few general questions to people who are familiar with these kinds of public political events so I can prepare myself.

    Do you imagine there are restrictions on the kind of equipment people can bring to the premises of the Inauguration? I am used to shooting in controlled environments where I am limited by what lenses I can utilize due to a lack of media credentials, I.E I cannot use anything over 75mm. This is mainly sporting events. My initial approach to this was probably not, since this is a public event that is open to anyone and the only thing media credentials gives you is the opportunity to get a great shooting spot, rather than the license to use lucrative equipment.

    I was hoping to drag a 300mm 2.8 to the event, but I'm questioning whether it is practical to do such a thing. Millions of people are going to be showing up for this, so I have to wonder if I would even have any room to set a lens like this up with even a monopod (hand holding would be out of the question I imagine with such a heavy lens). I'm thinking a 70-200 2.8 IS might be wiser so I can handhold and give myself more flexibility. But then I have to wonder if that kind of range is going to do me justice at all, I have my suspicions 300mm may not even do anything if I'm out far enough. I may just drag both lenses since I'll have an assistant there helping out and hope for the best.

    As a Canadian, I really am going to be going into this head first not knowing what I'm getting into :lol:. Our idea of a packed political event absolutely pales in comparison to what American politics has been like this year in terms of people coming out and supporting their candidates. I have a feeling that I'll be struggling to get a good view as just another bystander, let alone as a photographer.

    As such, any advice would be welcome to a poor old ignorant Canadian tourist/photographer :)
     
  2. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's outside, so bring the 1200mm f/5.6.

    If people see you with lenses like the 300 f/2.8 and the 70-200 f/2.8, they'll probably get out of your way, assuming you work for the press or something.
     
  3. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Your 70 to 200mm 2.8 with a tele-extender would be handholdable, give you a little more reach and not cut down too much on your fstop considering the fact that you are outside.

    skeur
     
  4. henkelphoto

    henkelphoto TPF Noob!

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    Hi Tykell,

    I just phoned a friend of mine who works for AP in Wash. He said that you should get there as soon as possible...like the day before. He also says that the throw from the cheap seats (bystanders) is likely to be about 100 yards, give or take 10 yards. He also says to be prepared for cold weather. There will be VERY tight security, including but not limited to metal detectors and possible hand inspection of camera equipment. In addition, the media will have a photo stand somewhere in the center so he suggests to look to the sides for a place to see from.

    Here's my thought and take it for what it costs you. If it were me, I would get the podium shot (bearing in mind that Obama will be microscopic with anything less than a 1200mm) then use a short lens to focus on the crowds surrounding me. There is going to be a lot of emotion going on and some great photos will be available to those who take the time to look for them.

    Good luck, should be very exciting!

    Jerry
     
  5. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    I trust everyone will be getting the podium shot. I think you can get more creative then that. I would bust out your fave portrait lens and get the crowds reaction to this auspicious occasion. Dress warm. Post the results. Wish I could be there.

    Love & Bass
     
  6. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Try not mentioning shooting and inauguration in the same breath.
     
  7. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    I don't know about the inauguration, but when I was in college I used a college paper press card to get into the press pool while President Clinton came to MI.

    The only thing I had to do was leave my equipment out to where it was going to be used. The press area was its own secured area (roped off). They said they would go through my bags. I had to leave the area and wait in a waiting area. Then they have everyone go back out while going through a metal detector. While watching through the window in the building they just had a dog come up, sniff all the equipment bags and boxes. And a couple of them they opened up and looked though a little bit.

    I was quite surprised on how light their inspection was. If you take a big lens, don't be surprised they want to look through it. Just to make sure it is a lens. Maybe a dog sniff your bag. But if you can get in, I would not expect any hassles. And like someone mentioned above take your 2,000mm ;) lens with you as all the big donors, er I mean important people will have the close views.
     

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