Behind the Lens: From Lake Tahoe to Laos

We just returned from our last trip to Asia, flying more than 20,000 miles on a trip that brought us to Lake Tahoe, Honolulu, Midway Atoll, China and Laos.

On our first day, President Obama spoke on climate change at the 20th anniversary of the annual Lake Tahoe Summit and at the Pacific Island Conference of Leaders and World Conservation Congress in Honolulu.

Then it was on to Midway Atoll in the northwest Hawaiian Islands, part of where the President expanded the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, creating the world’s largest protected marine area.

Then it was on to China where the President had a productive and substantive visit. First, he participated in a ceremony with President Xi of China and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, formally entering the Paris Agreement, the most ambitious climate change agreement in history. Then in addition to bilateral meetings with President Xi, the President also joined world leaders in the annual G20 Summit. While there, the President also met individually with several important heads of state.

From China, we traveled to Vientiane, Laos for a historic official state visit: President Obama became the first U.S. president to visit the Southeast Asian nation. There, he participated in the ASEAN and East Asia Summits. In addition, the President visited COPE, the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise, to pay tribute to victims of U.S. bombings during the “secret war” in Laos. We also traveled one day to Luang Prabang where the President toured Wat Xieng Thong, a Buddhist temple, made a stop at a neighborhood by the Mekong River, and participated in a YSEALI town hall.

I’ve selected a gallery of photos from each of our stops that will hopefully give people an insight to the President’s activities throughout the trip.

— Pete Souza, Chief White House Photographer

A U.S. Marine Corps crew member looks out the back of Nighthawk-4 en route to the 20th Annual Lake Tahoe Summit in Lake Tahoe, Nev., Aug. 31, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
President Barack Obama watches Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. Barbara Boxer embrace on stage during the Lake Tahoe Summit at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harvey’s in Lake Tahoe. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu, Hawaii, Aug. 31, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
The President greets service members at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama delivers remarks at an event attended by Pacific Island Conference of Leaders and IUCN World Conservation Congress members at the East West Center in Honolulu. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
The President and others view the Pearl and Hermes Atoll en route to Midway Atoll, Sept. 1, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Air Force One pilots maneuver the final approach onto Midway Atoll. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama poses with all the residents of Midway Atoll at Henderson Field. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President is briefed by Bob Peyton, Refuge Manager, Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and National Monument, prior to a tour of the atoll. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama tours Midway Atoll with Marine National Monuments Superintendent Matt Brown. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President views the Battle of Midway Memorial marker with Matt Brown. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama visits Turtle Beach on Midway Atoll. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Green turtles sun on Midway Atoll’s Turtle Beach. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama tours Midway Atoll. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President talks with oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Red-tailed Tropicbirds fly overhead during the President’s visit. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama enjoys a boat ride off of Midway. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
A view of Midway Atoll from the air as Air Force One heads back to Hawaii. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President meets with National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes aboard Air Force One en route to Hangzhou, China, Sept. 2, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama arrives at Hangzhou Xioashan International Airport in Hangzhou, China, Sept. 3, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama greets UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President Xi Jinping of China, center, for a climate event at West Lake State House. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama waits between meetings at the West Lake State Guest House. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Xi sits down with President Obama for a bilateral meeting. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama walks with President Xi after dinner at West Lake State House. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President and British Prime Minister Theresa May talk following their bilateral meeting and press conference in Hangzhou, Sept. 4, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey hold a bilateral meeting. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama joins President Xi and leaders for a group photo during the G20 Summit. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama participates in the G20 Summit opening ceremony. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama meets with Secretary of State John Kerry and Rob Malley and following a G20 Summit session. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama talks with Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, prior to a group photo with G20 leaders and their spouses. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama joins President Xi, First Lady Peng Liyuan and G20 leaders and their spouses for a group photo before dinner. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Dancers perform during a G20 welcome dinner event hosted by President Xi. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Performers appear to dance on water during the gala dinner performance. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Fireworks explode at the conclusion of the performance. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama meets with President François Hollande of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany at the Hangzhou International Expo Center, Sept. 5, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and President Vladimir Putin of Russia have a pull-aside meeting. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President waits to depart the G20 Summit at the Hangzhou International Expo Center. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama holds a press conference prior to departing China. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama arrives in the rain at Wattay International Airport in Vientiane, Laos, Sept. 5, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Water is swept aside after heavy rains prior to the arrival of President Obama at the Presidential Palace in Vientiane, Sept. 6, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Members of the Laotian military await President Obama prior to an arrival ceremony. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
President Obama is greeted by Manisone Suensom of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a bouquet of flowers upon his arrival at the Presidential Palace. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and President Bounnhang Vorachith of Laos inspect the Honor Guard. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
President Obama and President Bounnhang Vorachit toast during the official state luncheon at the Presidential Palace. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and President Bounnhang Vorachith watch traditional dance performances. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
President Obama greets musicians and dancers. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President talks with U.S. Embassy employee Stacey Phengyath at Lao National Cultural Hall. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Audience members listen to President Obama’s remarks at Lao National Cultural Hall. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama concludes his remarks with a nop, a Laotian tradition greeting. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
People photograph the President’s motorcade in Vientiane. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President greets children of the U.S. Embassy staff. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama bids farewell to President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea after a bilateral meeting. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President tours the Cooperative Orthotic Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE) with Soksai Sengvongkham in Vientiane, Sept. 7, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama meets with Thoummy Silamphan and other unexploded ordnance blast survivors at COPE. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Buildings stand in the waters of the Mekong River. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Air Force One flies over the Laos countryside en route to Luang Prabang. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama tours Wat Xieng Thong Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang with Mrs. Vanpheng Keopannha. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President visits the Ho Raj Rod (carriage house) during his tour of the temple. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President pauses at the Buddha Statue in the Sim (main building) of the Temple. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama bangs a gong in the Sim. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President greets temple monks with a nop. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama lifts a Buddha statue over his head, a gesture said to bring good luck, at the Horwai (chapel) of the temple. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President shops in a paper store during a stop at a Luang Prabang business. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President reacts to getting juice on him by vendors cracking open a coconut. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President sips from a coconut during his visit with shopkeepers. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President talks to people near the bank of the Mekong River. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama greets members of the community during a walking visit. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama participates in a Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative town hall at Souphanouvong University. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
A woman hugs the President’s hand following the town hall. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Audience members stretch to shake the President’s hand following the town hall. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President disembarks Air Force One upon his return to Vientiane from his visit to Luang Prabang. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Hostesses wait to escort leaders to their seats before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gala dinner at the National Convention Centre. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
President Obama joins other leaders for the ASEAN dinner. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
President Barack Obama talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the ASEAN dinner. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama talks with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull during the dinner. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President Barack Obama talks with Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama meets with Thongloun Sisoulit, the Prime Minister of Laos, at the National Convention Center, Sept. 8, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama joins other ASEAN leaders for a group photo. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama walks with Aung San Suu Kyi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, at the National Convention Center in Vientiane, Sept. 8, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President waits with senior advisors prior to meeting with East Asia Summit leaders. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama joins East Asia Summit leaders for a group photo. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
The President participates in the East Asia Summit. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Summit staff take a break in the prep area of the National Convention Centre during the East Asia Summit. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
The President answers a question during a press conference after the ASEAN Summit. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President gestures during his press conference. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
President Obama waves from the door of Air Force One prior to departing in Laos. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)