Election Day

November 4th, 2010
By

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie speaks at his campaign headquarters minutes after the first printout on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 in downtown Honolulu. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

I figured I’d give one full political-free day before blogging about my Election day coverage this past Tuesday.  But alas, things have started to settle, there’ll be no more signwavers on the streets, no more television commercials about what so and so did or did not do.  None of that.  Instead, let’s look at photographs!

My day started off doing the usual community coverage at the polling booths.  Since I did the Salt Lake/Kalihi area in September, I opted to go to McKinley High School.  I must say, those red, white, and blue curtains used for privacy at the booths can make for some great images if you wait for the right moment.

A woman who did not want to be identified emerges from a voting booth carrying her ballot at McKinley High School on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 in Moiliili. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

Four-year-old Grace Fujii waits patiently for her mother, Karen, to cast her ballot at McKinley High School on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 in Moiliili. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

I waited, and waited, and waited.   And…waited.  All this waiting for a good picture had me paying attention to people’s footwear, so I came away with this image:

SLIPPERS (i.e. flipflops)...in November?! Only in Hawaii!

After I felt I got what I needed at the polling place, I went to my car to prepare to move images but not before noticing the neat vent holes that adorn the McKinley cafeteria walls.  One more, for the artsy fartsy!

The voting booths as seen through one of the holed tiles in the wall of the cafeteria at McKinley High School on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 in Moiliili. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

After a quick stop at Starbucks to file and re-caffeinize(sic), I was off to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie’s campaign headquarters for what I was expecting, would a be a long night.

I arrived shortly before the first printout, and was introduced by the Star-Advertiser’s Ken Kobayashi to Jim McCoy, one of the press liaisons, who gave me the lowdown that Mr. Abercrombie would probably make his appearance between the first and second printout.  First and second.  Not too bad.  One.  Two.  Problem is between first and second is a window of about 2-3 hours!  I phoned in a report to our news desk stating that I’m going shoot the reactions after the first printout, but depending on when Mr. Abercrombie shows up, I may or may not be able to move a photograph right away.

Positioning myself near the stage where an awesome Hawaiian music duo was playing, I surveyed the surroundings, looking for compositional elements, lighting, blocking, anything to plan out my movement once Abercrombie came out.  Of course, in my several election coverages I’ve done, no matter how much you thought out or plan, it’s ALWAYS out the window once the candidate is out.  But at least it passed the time.  Plus I was in position for the first printout, which, between my planning and plotting and enjoying the Hawaiian music, came sooner than expected.

Mila Kaahinui is overcome with joy after the first printout at the campaign headquarters of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 in Kakaako. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

James Kamakahi, right, points to the first printout as sister Marlene reacts at the campaign headquarters of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 in Kakaako. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

After the printout jube, I moved into position back towards the rear of the stage to await Abercrombie’s emergence.  Waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting.  This time, the waiting made me notice the breaks in the black stage curtains–compositional elements with which to shoot with!  The lead image at the top of the page was made because of these curtains, but more on that later.  That and a perfect hole to look through as I watched the doorway where Abercrombie was to appear like a hawk.  Finally he appeared, and the scrum began!  It felt like a “Resident Evil” movie, with all of the zombie photographers and iphone photographers enveloping myself and Associated Press photographer Eugene Tanner into a sea of flailing arms and cameras with all kinds of elaborate flash contraptions.

Neil Abercrombie is given a lei by UH President MRC Greenwood at the campaign headquarters of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 in Kakaako. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

In order to “clean up” my background of assorted heads, security, cameras and camera flashes, etc., I switched to second-curtain sync on my flash to blur the background and add tension to the shot.

Neil Abercrombie and his wife, Nancie Caraway, greet wellwishers at the campaign headquarters of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 in Kakaako. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie greets wellwishers at the campaign headquarters of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 in Kakaako. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

By now I had gotten what I needed from the Resident Evil scene, and decided to break away from the scrum–a challenge, I must say.  I looked at my watch, and what do ya know!  It was just in time for the second printout, and like clockwork, there it was on the projection screens.  So I made one more jube photograph before going back to my workstation to dump cards and move images.

Supporters react after the second printout at the campaign headquarters of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 in Kakaako. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

Because of the timing of the printout, combined with Abercrombie’s appearance, he made his way towards the stage to talk, and so this called off my initial plan of moving images.  The printout spoke volumes about what was to happen the rest of the evening, and I had to hold out.  So I made like a human cleaver knife and sliced my way towards the front of the stage as Abercrombie took front and center.

Abercrombie also invited to the stage Brian Schatz, and as soon as I got a shot of the two of them together, I had to start moving images.

Neil Abercrombie, left, and Brian Schatz raise their arms to supporters at the campaign headquarters of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 in Kakaako. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

Boom.  I was gone.  Had to start filing!

My work station was against a pillar next to the speaker stand.  Quite posh and comfy, I must say.  But the moment I was able to upload my cards, Abercrombie was out on stage again!! DARN IT!  And the Resident Evil gang had taken up residence (pun intended) at the front of the stage!  So I quickly put my laptop away, and tried to get to the side of the stage to try and cleave my way in like earlier.  Not gonna fly.  Abercrombie’s security detail seemed to enjoy saying no to me.  Okay.  So I went to the OTHER side of the stage, but not before sneaking in a shot from behind the stage.

So I made to the other side of the stage, finally, with no chance of being at the front.  Remember those stage curtains I mentioned earlier?  Well, they came in handy for my closing shot.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie speaks at his campaign headquarters minutes after the first printout on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 in downtown Honolulu. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

The black curtains isolated him and made a nice, clean image.  Of course I had to take other images of Abercrombie as he made his speech, but this one proved to be my favorite.  By this time, my phone was ringing off the hook.  Deadline.  Time to make it.  And I did.  And my Tuesday was over.

Posted in news | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Election Day”

  1. Sprayhawk:

    We wear slippers in KS – people just think we are nuts.

    Stoked to see the recent flurry of posts. I continue to be impressed with the sharpness in your football images.


  2. jammaquino:

    Thanks Sprayhawk! Glad to see you’re rockin’ da slippahs over in Kansas! Yeah, football is quite amusing to me–in August, I’m always rusty at it, and then the season goes by, and come November and December, my reflexes and game senses are in prime condition, then before you know it, the season’s done! Rinse, lather, repeat for next year! Too bad football isn’t a year round thing, although carrying that 400 2.8 every weekend for a full year would probably take its toll on my back! :)


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