Gary Duncan Photography | President Obama's Farewell Address

President Obama's Farewell Address

January 22, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

I was honored and blessed to be a part of President Obama's Farewell Address at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, IL.  Not knowing exactly what to expect, I consulted some of my fellow photographer friends on Facebook for advice on lens choices.  The responses included more than just lens advice, which helped an awful lot.  This by no means guaranteed a perfect day, as I soon discovered while dropping off my equipment early in the a.m. for the media preset.  The media preset allows the secret service to do their security sweep before the event.  Other than falling on my rear on an unsalted sidewalk and being held up from entering by McCormick Place security, the day started off relatively smooth.  

 

President Farewell Speech in Chicago, ILPresident Farewell Speech in Chicago, ILPresident Obama flashes his trademark smile while giving his farewell speech at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, IL

 

After dropping off my equipment and nervously looking back at my unguarded gear as I exited, I went home and got a couple of hours of sleep, before heading back for the address.  Once inside, I encountered a herd of attendees, dignitaries and media.  The secret service tactical team looked like something from Agents of Shield.  Too bad they didn't allow pictures.  I came back to the position which I had staked out earlier, only to find another photographer had moved my equipment and taken my spot.  After a brief conversation, he agreed to move over to give me the space I needed to setup my gear.  Aside from being there for the obvious, it was pretty cool to meet both new and familiar faces.  

 

President Farewell Speech in Chicago, ILPresident Farewell Speech in Chicago, IL

One would think I'd be nervous, due to the magnitude of this event, but I felt like I've been preparing for this since I picked up my first DSLR camera. I have been told I have an eye for photographing live events.  I just remembered the thousands of pictures I've seen from all of the talented photographers who I've encountered over the years.  What is important?  Face, lighting and emotion.  Well, the first two were covered, so I just looked for key parts of the President's speech to photograph, from when he first greeted the crowd to when he came to tears while addressing the FLOTUS.  This was a great opportunity to record a great piece of history and I was truly humbled.  

President Farewell Speech in Chicago, ILPresident Farewell Speech in Chicago, ILPresident Obama waves to the crowd after giving his speech at the President Obama Farewell Speech in Chicago, Illinois at the McCormick Convention Center on Tuesday, January 10, 2017

 


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