The picture that lit up social media and unsettled the White House began with a trek up 50 flights of stairs, nearly to the top of the Washington Monument, for a bird's eye view of Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday as the 45th U.S. president.
Reuters had asked the U.S. National Park Service in an email on Jan. 13 whether a photographer could be posted on the observation level near the top of the monument, the highest vantage point overlooking the National Mall. The next business day, the park service agreed to grant Reuters access, on condition the news agency would make the picture available to other media that requested it.
Because the elevator is under renovation, photographer Lucas Jackson had to climb 897 steps to reach the 500-foot (152-meter) elevation, carrying a backpack and shoulder bag full of photo gear, plus a step ladder.
"It was definitely a strenuous climb," Jackson said.
A CBS News camera operator and a Park Service photographer were the only others taking images from the observation level. Reuters published side-by-side pictures of two moments in history.