Photographing inauguration 'dream job' for Fox Chapel resident
Local resident Tom Benic had a prized photo vantage point at the inauguration of President Barack Obama on Jan. 21.
A freelance photographer for United Press International, for which his brother Pat is the director, Benic spent the day at the Capitol and at Lafayette Park on the parade route taking photos.
Benic took more than 1,500 photos during his 16-hour day, beginning with a 3 a.m. wake-up call.
“I can't imagine a better assignment than the one I had from the Capitol balustrade,” Benic said.
“It was a photographer's dream job.”
Benic got his start in photojournalism as a combat reporter-photographer in Vietnam in 1969 and spent most of his career focused on writing.
“I did shoot the 2009 inaugural for UPI and that was certainly a thrill, but this time, I was a fully credentialed photographer with Secret Service clearance and an assigned spot on the balustrade, just behind the podium,” he said.
“From the Balustrade you not only get a great panoramic view of the ceremony but also, because you are so close, some intimate shots.”
Benic got a favorite shot of Obama and the Supreme Court sharing a joke and the Carters and Clintons greeting each other with smiles.
“I did walk the mile and a half to Lafayette Park to get the ‘wave' shot of the president from the parade route in front of the White House,” Benic said.