I wanted to share more with you about my journey through Iowa over the past 9 days. Reuters assigned me to cover the caucuses for the third time. Last time I only traveled 3000 miles in 10 days, this time I only traveled 2400 miles in 9 days… a virtual vacation.
In the end Mitt Romney edged out Rick Santorum by 8 votes, however, I had the privilege of shooting Santorum for the last five days of the race.
While I updated my blog almost daily, I never really had time to share much about my experiences.
Several days I worked 12 hours or more, sometimes shooting 4 events in one day in 4 different cities. Often times I had to shoot the events, edit and upload as many photos as possible and then race to the next event. Most of the time I sent pictures the front seat of my car and sometimes my colleges and I would take over a restaurant table covering it with laptops and over $40,000 in cameras.
I traveled to some towns twice and I swear I saw the same man fixing his mail box two days in a row.
One of the most uncomfortable moments of the week for me personally was being stuck behind Rick Santorum for 10 minutes while he was introduced at a coffee shop in Sioux City. We were sandwiched together front to back so close that I had to turn my head to literally not breath down his neck….. literally. For someone used to being behind the camera, I found my self with a dozen lenses pointed at me and no place to hide. You can see video of this moment in the thumbnail and at 1:31 in the clip below.
On the morning of the election several candidates attended an event at a West Des Moines high school. While that may sound very ordinary, it was far from it. Because there were so many candidates in one place all of he media descended on the event where journalists almost outnumbered students. The overpopulation quickly led to massive scrums with over 60 people trying to photograph candidates as they left the event. I have to say it was the first time in years I really had to box out my opponents like I did when I played basketball. I heard several people moan and groan, slam into walls and I had to push back with my elbows to hold my position…. needless to say… I hate it when it comes to this… but our editors and out end clients demand early images of the politicians.
On election night the Santorum campaign allowed myself and three other photographers special access to shoot the candidate watching early returns behind-the-scenes. After the five minute shoot, we were ushered out of the room and I was so happy with the moments I had captured I wanted to hug someone.