The president came to town yesterday. Me and another local newspaper photographer were granted access to shoot inside the coveted "buffer zone" during his speech. The buffer is that space on the ground in between the stage and the gates that keep the crowd at bay. This was my first time photographing Obama as the president. Political events such as these always involve a certain amount of stagecraft. Everything is beautifully arranged to lure us unsuspecting newspaper photographers into taking the photos they want. A carefully placed American flag is commonplace. But I always feel a little bit guilty for taking the bait. A tightly framed photo of Obama looking contemplative and wise with the American flag in the background is exactly want they wanted from me. They granted us access to the buffer zone precisely so we would take photos such as these. This is a campaign year after all. Am I a pawn in their game? Probably. But I still like the photo.