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Photographing inauguration 'dream job' for Fox Chapel resident

| Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
The Herald
Tom Benic, a Lower Valley resident , had the best seat in the house for the Inauguration of Barack Obama. Submitted
The Herald
The First Family: Malia Obama, second from left, reads a text to her family as Sasha, left, Michele and the President look on. Tom Benic | For The Herald
The Herald
President Barack Obama and the first lady, Michele, wave to the crowd during the Inauguration. Tom Benic | For The Herald
The Herald
Former president Bill Clinton was present for the Inauguration. Tom Benic | For the Herald

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.

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