(CNN) – Amid reports that GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee's campaign is running low on cash and making cutbacks, embedded CNN photojournalists Derek Davis and Jung Park filed this diary entry just days before the campaign announced it would no longer give journalists an opportunity to buy a ticket and travel with the candidate. This week, the campaign grounded its chartered press airplanes entirely.
A ton of gear, a non-stop schedule, and constant airplane travel. If you’re a CNN photojournalist like me who’s embedded with a presidential campaign, those things are part of a typical day.
Not so typical: an afternoon riding a toilet seat in a propeller plane over South Carolina.
Late last week, we were with the former Arkansas governor as he campaigned in South Carolina in his final push before the GOP primary.
As photographers for CNN, we have the opportunity to witness politics up close, literally to have a front row seat to history in the making. But, politics also means something else to people like us in the trenches: It’s physical. It’s exciting. It’s tough.
Our recent travel with Huckabee took the toughness to new heights. After covering an event where the GOP presidential candidate discussed the economy with South Carolina steel workers, we made our way to the airport and discovered that we’d be flying the rest of the day on a double-propeller, 8-seat airplane. There were a total of three of these planes – one for Huckabee and his staff, and two more for the press traveling with the campaign.
We shared our plane with a crew from CBS News. Once we’d loaded our gear (two cameras, tripods, audio equipment, tapes, boom poles, etc.) and the other crew had loaded its equipment, there wasn’t much room left for us.
I am now much closer to a CBS sound technician than I ever wanted to be – we shared a seat on the flight. But at least I had one.
My colleague Jung wasn’t so lucky. It may have been covered and padded but make no mistake about it, Jung flew all around South Carolina on a toilet. (They did a good job on camouflage: He didn’t know it was a toilet and nobody thought to tell him.) Isn’t cable news glamorous?
–CNN Photojournalists Derek Davis and Jung Park