It all seemed to go so quickly.
The world leaders arrived on Thursday and are already gone. Pittsburgh was essentially shut down for the better part of a work week, but I’ll leave it for others to decide for themselves whether or not it was all worth it. I know that I was engaged in what I was photographing and enjoyed the week very much. It’s not often that you can photograph world events and sleep in your own bed at night!
Today started early at Mellon Arena. That’s where the press had to stage and have their equipment swept by security before heading to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center via a shuttle. I got there at 7:30, just beating a huge contingent of Chinese journalists to the line. It took about 1/2 hour for security to get through all of the gear in line before mine. By the time we got on the bus I was starting to get a little nervous that I’d miss the first event of the day: A press conference with President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
It was a big announcement decrying Iran’s nuclear activity and to demand they open up a secret nuclear fuel facility to international inspectors.
Next was a short walk next door to CAPA High School for performances by students and Yo Yo Ma, Trisha Yearwood, and Sarah Bareilles. Before that happened there was a photo op with the spouses of the G-20. It was kind of interesting, but nearly impossible to get a compelling photo. The ladies lined up on a riser and stood there while 30 photographers blasted them with flashes.
The performances were great. My friend Joy Sato’s grandson James was among the students who performed. He’s a sublimely talented ballet dancer. He and his partner were wonderful.
Yo Yo Ma performed a duet with CAPA student Jason Yoder. They killed it. The kid must have been beside himself playing with such a superstar.
After the performances, students participated in a Q&A session with the stars.
The huge “People’s March” from Oakland through downtown to the North Side was the last big event. Well, besides the President’s speech. Unlike Thursday, this walk was peaceful. There were plenty of loud and provocative marchers, but there were a lot of quiet, peaceful, and serious participants as well.
It all ended up on the North Side. There were some speeches at a rally, but by late afternoon it looked like the protestors were tired. Early in the evening I saw small groups of them walking towards wherever they were staying as I returned to retrieve my car from the Mellon Arena lot.