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Outside the frame: Waiting, and waiting, and waiting again for the President

Matt Rourke / AP

A workman steams a U.S. flag in preparation for a planned visit by President Barack Obama Wednesday, April 6, 2011, at wind turbine manufacture Gamesa Technology Corporation in Fairless Hills, Pa.

AP photojournalist Matt Rourke shares his experience photographing President Barack Obama during his visit today to a town hall meeting in Philadelphia.

When you’re a photographer covering the president — and, like me (and unlike AP’s White House photographers), you’re not in the White House press pool — much of your time involves waiting. Arriving early and waiting to stake out a position. Waiting for security sweeps. Waiting in multiple lines, including more security, to re-enter the venue. And finally waiting for the president to arrive. During all this time — like today, as I wait for Barack Obama to appear in Fairless Hills, Pa. — you may, if you’re lucky, run into a photo.