Photographer Pete Souza came to Kansas from Boston looking for a tornado to shoot.
"He talked funny, because he kept putting R's in words they didn't belong in -- like idea," said Julie Doll, editor of the Collegian newspaper at Kansas State University in the late 1970s, when Souza came to study for a master's degree in journalism.
Even then, Souza had an eye for capturing a moment and telling profound stories within a single photograph, people who know him say.
In Kansas, he began a photojournalism career that now includes serving as the official White House photographer for President-elect Obama.
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Tuesday, Souza, 54, was already at work photographing the president-elect. He spent four hours setting up the right conditions and background for Obama's official photo -- then five minutes taking the picture that will be seen around the world. It's the first presidential portrait taken with a digital camera.
Souza said in an interview on the "Today Show" on Wednesday that he's most concerned about getting the right shot of Obama "with his hand in the air" on Inauguration Day.
The shot will be particularly difficult, Souza said, because he will be standing behind Obama, using a remote to operate a camera in front of Obama.
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