Henry "Hank" Burroughs Jr., 81, an award-winning photographer who chronicled three decades of news for the Associated Press, including the presidencies of Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, died Jan. 14 at his home in the Anne Arundel County town of West River. He had pneumonia.

He worked for the AP from 1944 until retiring in 1975. He quickly gained a reputation as a journalist who could capture a great picture without getting in the way of the story. Colleagues called him the "dean of the Washington photographers."

Mr. Burroughs covered every president from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Gerald Ford. His most memorable images include a photo of Richard Nixon standing at the window of the Oval Office just as his presidency was about to collapse and a photo of Kennedy just moments before his assassination.

The day Kennedy was shot in 1963, Mr. Burroughs was in the motorcade. He made sure the world got pictures from the chaotic scene near the book depository and of the mob outside the emergency room.

Mr. Burroughs also took a rare photograph of Roosevelt in his wheelchair, an image that went unpublished because pictures of the president's handicap were forbidden by the White House at the time.

Mr. Burroughs won awards for a picture of President Johnson in deep thought prior to a news conference on Vietnam, and for a photo of Sen. Thomas Eagleton (D-Mo.) and his wife, Barbara, leaving a cabin in the hills of South Dakota after informing Democratic presidential candidate Sen. George McGovern (D-S.D.), who had chosen Eagleton as his running mate, that he had once undergone electroshock treatments for depression.

Mr. Burroughs served as president of the White House News Photographers Association in 1957 and was chairman of the Senate Standing Committee for still photographers. In 1964, he received the first AP Managing Editors Award for photographic excellence.

In 1973, he was named "Photographer of the Year" by the White House News Photographers Association. He was a member of the National Press Club for more than 50 years.

He once said that he felt lucky to have had "a front-row ticket to history." He was first assigned to the White House in 1949, and of all the presidents he covered, Truman was his favorite.

"He loved photographers and we loved him," Mr. Burroughs once said. "Any time you walked in the Oval Office with Truman he would make some remark about us or to us with his guest. And he'd put everybody at ease. We were part of his party."

Colleagues said Mr. Burroughs had a special talent for capturing lighter, informal moments. Among his indelible images was a January 1961 photo of Jackie Kennedy patting her husband's chin just moments after he was sworn in as president and a 1957 photo of Richard and Pat Nixon throwing coins over their shoulders at the Trevi fountain in Rome.

Mr. Burroughs also drew many overseas assignments, beginning in war-ravaged Paris and Berlin after World War II. He was arrested and detained by a Soviet officer for taking photos of Red Army troops marching in East Berlin.

Mr. Burroughs, a Washington native, took to photography from his earliest years and spent six years as a fashion and advertising photographer at The Washington Post before joining the AP.

He had served on the board of the Anne Arundel County Library and was a member of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in West River and the West River Sailing Club. He also had been a member of The Post's E Street Club and had been active in the Great Books reading program.

His first wife, the former Elizabeth Anderson, died in 1961, and his second wife, the former Anne Simpson Moore, died in 1971.

Survivors include his wife of 28 years, Margaret Wohlgemuth Burroughs of West River; two stepchildren, Lyford Moore of Mount Laurel, N.J., and Patricia Romero of Boise, Idaho; and two sisters, Jane Dollins of Alexandria and Rosemary Schulte of Towson.