Catching Statehouse angles requires hustle

Photographer: Richard Gwin

Camera: Nikon D1X

Lens: 17 to 35 mm zoom

ISO: 1,600

Shutter speed: 1/40

Aperture: 2.8

Covering the State of the State address is no small task for a single photographer. I was recently assigned to cover it single-handedly for the fourth time.

Security has always been tight at the event, but things have cinched up even more since 9-11. Knowing this -- and that the festivities would get under way at 7 p.m. -- I headed to Topeka at 3 p.m. to pick up media credentials and scout out some extra pictures for our Web site.

Arriving early also helps security get familiar with you, which increases your chances of being able to move around a lot without any hassle during the ceremonies.

You learn to look for unique images, such as a Highway Patrol trooper walking his dog through the House chamber or a group of advocates watching the address on a television in the hallways. I also look for reaction shots from legislators during the speech.

I ended up shooting 153 frames, knowing that at least one of them would need to be horizontal to fit a pre-determined design on the front page. I had to hustle a lot to create all the photographs that ended up in the next day's paper and online.

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