The hard-found blue floor pass at the Tampa Bay Time Forum on Aug. 30, 2012.

The hard-found blue floor pass at the Tampa Bay Time Forum on Aug. 30, 2012. (Dan Evans / Times Community News / August 31, 2012)

TAMPA, Fla. – Though Tuesday was a day filled with frustrations – filled with clueless guards and curt hall monitors – I solved the photo floor pass mystery Wednesday.

It didn’t start looking like that was going to happen. I called the Republican National Convention media office Wednesday afternoon, and was immediately referred to the operations number. In turn, the operations people gave me the local numbers for Joe Keenan, the director of the U.S. Senate Press Gallery, the institution that vetted our press-level credentials.

Alas, one of the numbers provided simply rang, while the second had been disconnected. I called the operations line back, and explained my situation. Without the temporary floor pass, I whined, I would be unable to get the delegate seating area, and my photos would be, well, not nearly as good.

After a longish pause, the very polite woman on the other end of the line provided the following instructions: 

- Enter through the ticket office below Gate B

- Find the northwestern stair down to the first level

- Go past the XO Club, making a left at the restrooms, and going down the hallway on the right

- Go past the performance area, and through the double swinging doors

- Veer to the right at the end of the hallway

- Look for the sign that says “Press Photographers Floor Pass Line.”

I remember laughing.

“Really?” I asked.

“That’s what I have,” said the operations operator. “Sorry.”

But you know what? It worked. Those instructions were completely spot-on. With the pass, I got a bunch of decent images on Wednesday as well as Thursday evening. Or, at least, I was able to put up a gallery of images. You can judge if they're any good.  

And as an added bonus, I had my pass upgraded from green – media level – to blue – floor access – simply because I was in the floor pass line at the right time. I’m guessing a bunch of other photographers just gave up and there were extras. 

And, if you recall, I was scolded for trying to bring in a water to the press area Tuesday. So, in response, I smuggled in my soda Thursday. So there.

-- Dan Evans, Times Community News
E-mail: dan.evans@latimes.com
Twitter: @EditorDanEvans