The Mississippi Capitol was the 26th Capitol that I photographed. I usually don't have to deal with the challenge of having the legislature in session during my capitol visits as most of my travel occurs in the summer. But, the legislature was in session when I arrived in Jackson, Mississippi.
As I entered the building, I asked the security guard if the chambers were open to photography. He told me that photography was prohibited in the chambers while the legislature was in session. However, he said that if I checked with a tour guide it might be possible to get into the chambers for a few minutes since congress was on break. Congress wouldn't be reconvening for a couple of hours.
The woman at the information desk was extremely helpful when I informed her of my goal of photographing all of the state capitols and that I would only be in Jackson for the day. She said that she would do her best to get me into the chambers. There was another security guard positioned just outside the Senate chamber. She explained to him what I was doing and he very reluctantly said that I could enter the chamber--but only if nobody else was in there. He left to check the room. Several minutes later, he returned to tell me that I could have five minutes for photography. He walked me inside and pointed out a very small space where I had to stand. I didn't even need the full five minutes as the space that I was restricted to offered no chance to capture a picture of the room. Fortunately, the stained glass dome of the Senate chamber was directly over my head, so I was able to get one picture from there:
According to the woman from the information desk, the security guard gave her a hard time about asking permission for me to enter the chamber. He told her to never do anything like that again! I said that I would understand if she didn't want to help me gain access to the House chamber. But, she said that it couldn't hurt to try.
The security guard outside of the House chamber was more cooperative. He told me that I could have ten minutes to shoot and that I could walk wherever I wanted within the room. At first he told me that I couldn't use my tripod, but he changed his mind when I explained that I needed it under such low light conditions and that it was hardly a safety hazard given that nobody else was in the room.
Although the representatives were on break, the room was filled with clutter from the morning's working session. For the most part, I didn't like the photographs as I'm far more accustomed to shooting empty chambers with clean desks. I relied on my fisheye lens to emphasize the ceiling and place less emphasis on the floor area:
When the legislature is in session, access to the chambers isn't the only issue. The corridors and rotunda are crowded with people. It's nearly impossible to capture images, especially multiple long exposures for HDR, without having someone walk in front of the camera. It took a long time to capture this next image of the rotunda--and yet there were still several people in the frame:
One saving grace was that Mississippi's Old Capitol building is still standing. I visited the Old Capitol the next morning and captured many photographs of the beautiful interior of that building without anybody in there:
When I returned to the hotel after my visit to the Mississippi Capitol building, the first thing I did was check to see when the legislature was scheduled to be in session for my next two locations--Alabama and Tennessee. It turned out that sessions were scheduled to begin the next day for both of these states! Fortunately, Arkansas was not in session. So, I cancelled my hotel reservations for Montgomery and Nashville and made a new reservation for Little Rock. That turned out to be a wise choice as I had the Arkansas Capitol to myself. And, I enjoyed several other locations while visiting Little Rock as well.