Miralle Family Meets Star in Bahamas

We had the great opportunity to visit the Bahamas last month shooting a campaign for the NFL Players Association, staying and shooting on the amazing resort Atlantis on Paradise Island. If you have a family with small children, I highly recommend Atlantis as its a gorgeous, expansive property as well as a plethora of fun activities, including one of the more amazing aquariums and water parks I have ever been to.

On one of the afternoons we wrapped shooting early, I was able to join my family (who was on vacation while I worked) to meet the amazing sea animals at the Dolphin Cay, including a newly born baby dolphin and Cassie, the blond sea lion.  Here’s a little video of our encounter with Cassie shot with a GoPro (my apologies about the water drop on lens that came off the bait fish) and the little surprise she gave us at the end. Special thanks for the amazing local stylist/scout Jenny Pinder for setting this visit up and to my assistants Brandon Magnus and Octavian Cantilli for shooting the pics and the video…enjoy!

Washington Nationals Spring Training Shoot 2013

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National League Rookie of the Year, Bryce Harper standing strong with the curly W.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to fly out to Florida for a week to shoot my fourth campaign for the Washington Nationals  before their spring training began. The Nats have a great young squad, including National League Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper, and they picked up some key position players in the off season. In 2012 the Washington Nats won 98 games which is more then most expected and is a great sign of possibly an even better 2013 season. And with this being Davey Johnson’s final year as a baseball manager for the Nats, I’m sure everyone on the team is going to push themselves that much harder.

For the first couple of days we set up our lighting equipment on the open practice field like years past on the pitchers mound and on homplate, then ran through a series of shots with most of the athletes. The lighting setup consisted of two beauty dishes with diffusers over them to soften the light a bit and a light with narrow grid spot to focus the light on the face. A large scrim jim reflector was also used to cut the face shadow and add a little more detail. All of this was used with Profoto lights and 7b Profoto battery packs, synched with pocket wizard FlexTT on hypersynch to freeze the action.

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Behind the scenes with Jordan Zimmerman…

From this setup we would move to another location nearby to shoot players gritty portraits of players in dugout as well as looking out on the field. The lighting on the majority of these shots was much more simple using a reflector and maybe one strobe with softbox. Being able to move and shoot as quickly as possible was important when moving with these athletes from location to location, because you don’t want to loose their interest or waste their time!

But having the ability to improvise is very important as a photographer. Once we realized it was going to rain on our final 3 days of the shoot we had to move our main setup to the concourse of Space Coast Stadium so we could keep everything dry. Luckily for us there was an open area for a clear shot of the sky in the background, where we could position the players ontop of large steel benches to create the illusion that we were shooting on the field with a blue sky day (when actually it was really cold and wet outside). The rain ended up being  a blessing in disguise because these shots ended up being my favorites with a very heroic feel larger-than-life players dramatically lit against a beautiful sky.

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The days were long and started before sunrise and ended near sunset, but it was such a great experience getting to work with these players once again. Having the players be on first name basis and be comfortable with you, is a huge asset which really translates into the photos. This was my 4th campaign with the Nats and it has been a pleasure to see them grow, see their huge upside and the potential they have towards making it to the World Series. Big thanks to Chad Kurz, John Guagliano, Jacqueline Coleman, Dave Lundin, Meghan Garner, Lara Potter and Andrew Feffer of the Washington Nationals, my man John Trotter from 40/40, my assistants Octavian Cantilli and Brandon Magnus, and Stash & Dan and the video crew at East Pleasant. And of course the Washington Nationals Players!

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Dick’s Sporting Goods Running Shoot

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Panoramic view of runners on the boardwalk in the Palmetto Marsh.

Once again I had the great opportunity to do a campaign with Dick’s Sporting Goods for their upcoming 2013 Running Catalogue and commercial imagery. The assignment was in Charleston, South Carolina for about 4 days where we had the chance to shoot in some very beautiful spots which included the streets of old plantation houses, Palmetto Marsh, and the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. Shooting running was similar to shooting golf, looking for the right light is key for making the picture successful.

NRM_shotT_run13-0124loresABeautiful evening for a run at Shem Creek in Charleston, SC.

The weather was all over the place, one moment it would be sunny with some scattered clouds, the next it would be dumping buckets of rain. Luckily we decided to take some pictures in the late afternoon after the 1st day of scouting and ended up with some beautiful running shots with the sun setting in the background over the marsh and some shrimping boats. On the 2nd day we had pumped out most of the shots that we needed at the marsh trails in the morning and the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge before the rain started coming down hard around noon. At one point we sat in the trailer with the crew and all the models trying to wait for the rain to pass.

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The crew waits out the rain in our production trailer. Thankfully we had good company and good food!

The highlights of the shoot for me were watching the sun come up over the Palmetto Marsh (and squeezing in our shots before the rain came!) and closing down the streets of downtown Charleston for our marathon shot. Here’s a funny video my assistant Brandon Magnus took of me directing traffic:

We also had one free shoot day when we decided to shoot youth soccer to fill in some content for the Dicks library. It’s always a nice change of pace when you go from shooting refined professional athletes-slash-models to young kids who just want to play sport. We couldn’t hope to direct or even contain the little monsters, so for the most part we set up game situations and had them run through it while I shot, which worked perfectly.

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General view of marathon with street closure in the streets of downtown Charleston.

This was another fantastic experience and pleasure to work with Dick’s Sporting Goods team, and I look forward to our next shoot together! Big thanks to Scott Lenz, Peter Ahi, Kim McEniry, Barry Berenson, Pat Hugg, Zach Schefer, Brandon Magnus and most of all to local photographer John Smoak who made this great shoot come together and did everything from scouting, to permits, to holding a reflector…

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My First Image in National Geographic Magazine

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Since I was a child and my parents had a subscription to National Geographic Magazine, escaping to remote locations, excavating ruins and experiencing exotic animals was always just a page flip away. For me NGM has always been the gold standard for not only nature and conservation but also great photography. David Dubilet’s surreal underwater scenes, Steve McCurry’s Afghan girl, Chris Johns Camel’s crossing the Sahara, Paul Nicklin’s Emperor Penguins, and the list of amazing photography in the magazines 125 year history goes on and on. I am honored to have one of my favorite images, the underwater view of the mass swim start from the 2011 Kona Ironman World Champs that won World Press Photo in 2012, published as a double page spread in the March edition of National Geographic Magazine’s Visions of Earth section. It’s always been a dream of mine to be published in the magazine and can’t thank NGM enough for deeming my photograph worthy to be in the same pages as the greats. Pick up your copy of National Geographic today or go to their website here and order your own custom print of my image!

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Behind the Scenes in Chopper for Outside Magazine Spread

Here’s a little clip my assistant Brandon Magnus put together of some POV behind the scenes shot from the helicopter during the 2012 Ironman World Championship. Nothing too fancy but you get a good idea of the height and the perspective from the chopper, and I was just happy that it wasn’t too windy with the door off while I was hanging outside with my camera! Shot with GoPro HD2 mounted on helmet and pole with safety strap, special thanks to Rick Loughery from GoPro! Hope you enjoy, and more videos to come!

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Oprah Interview with Lance Armstrong January 17th

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(Photo by Donald Miralle for LAVA Magazine)

I, like the rest of the general public, am eagerly anticipating the Lance Armstrong interview on the controversial topic of his doping with Oprah Winfrey this Thursday on January 17th. Lance was considered one of the greatest athletes in the world as well as the poster boy for the fight against cancer until he was was stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles last year for doping and playing a role in team-organized doping on his Tour de France cycling squads. His fall from grace, like so many other athletes, politicians, and public figures in the recent years, happened meteorically fast with the same familiar script of denial and then apology.

Winfrey, who discussed the interview on “CBS This Morning” today, said, “We were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers. I feel that he answered the questions in a way that he was ready. … He certainly had prepared himself for this moment. He brought it. He really did.” I love that both sides agreed to no leaking of details of the interview, but of course it’s been a free for all, which will probably cause the TV ratings for Oprah’s Interview on her OWN network to skyrocket. And way to juice it into two separate segments Oprah. It’s all good, I will probably DVR both segments and read about it when my wife’s issue of O comes in the mail…

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This morning every talk show in San Diego was chattering about leaks about interview filmed Monday. People were calling into 1090 Sport Talk radio and comparing Lance’s wrongs to that of  Tiger Woods‘ infidelities and Pete Rose‘s gambling. Isn’t that like comparing apples to oranges? Wood’s had a secret personal life that was very different that the one he projected to the public, Rose had a gambling addiction that blew up after his retirement from baseball, and Lance used performance enhancing drugs in a sport where EVERYONE on the podium uses them. It’s better to compare Lance’s situation to that of MLB Baseball in the late 90’s where Sosa and McGwire chase for the homerun record catapulted the sport to new heights. Everyone including Major League Baseball knew that these guys and alot of the players in the league were juicing at the time, but turned a blind eye and opened their wallets to endorsements and skyrocketing TV ratings.

The sport of cycling and the International Cycling Union (UCI) has probably benefitted as much as Lance Armstrong from his doping and 7 Tour wins, but didn’t hesitate to throw him under the bus and make an example of him. “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling,” Pat McQuaid, the president of the International Cycling Union, said at a news conference in Switzerland announcing the decision. “This is a landmark day for cycling.” Way to eradicate Lance and his wins from cycling history and replace his name with names of other known dopers as Tour de France champions. Maybe they should clean house of all dopers and their titles in their sport, and bring in tougher and more stringent standards across the board.

It’s hard to sit back and judge Lance’s accomplishments as an athlete, and totally disregard Lance’s fight against cancer.  I had the great experience of having Lance give myself and writer Jay Prasuhn a personal tour of the Livestrong Foundation last April during our cover shoot for LAVA Magazine. Having had the unfortunate experience of family and friends die of cancer, including my dad, I can truthfully say I was moved at seeing Livestrong first hand, and realize that this is his legacy, not 7 Tour de France wins. You can only hope that this venerable foundation does not suffer because of the negative media onslaught on it’s founder.

At the end of the day, the Lance Armstrong doping scandal has the same old tired script that human nature and media just thrives and feeds upon: Man overcomes odds, rises to the top, falls to the bottom, and then has to rise from his ashes again. It’s just a matter of time before Hollywood produces a screenplay for this one and it becomes a blockbuster oscar winning movie. I just wonder who they would cast for Lance?

Golf Digest Shoot with Ricky Fowler

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We just did a photo shoot for Golf Digest with Ricky Fowler at Bear Creek Golf Course. It was an instructional for GD, so we went through a myriad of different swing sequences of do’s and don’ts, and ended with a couple portraits. Video was also shot during the session. Ricky was super easy to work with, and it was great to see the Golf Digest crew again. Special thanks to Golf Digest Director of Photography Christian Iooss, Staff Writer Max Adler, lighting assistant Shawn Cullen, and my Rep Jim Lee. The magazine issue isn’t out yet so I can’t put up any of the pictures but they turned out great! Here is a couple of behind the scenes shots for you guys:

Shoot with Ricky FowlerShooting Ricky Fowler from below

DICKS SPORTING GOODS GOLF SHOOT

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Last month I had the great opportunity to do a campaign with Dick’s Sporting Goods for their upcoming 2013 Golf Catalogue and commercial imagery. The assignment was in Palm Springs for 7 days where we stayed at La Quinta resort and shot at some beautiful courses including PGA West, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus Private courses. It’s been awhile since I shot at any of these courses (Last in ’99 at the Bob Hope when David Duval shot a record 59), so luckily we took the  first 2 days to scout four courses with the Dick’s Sporting Goods crew. Golf more than many sports is all about the light, and it was a huge advantage being able to see how the sun affected different holes, how the front 9 or back 9 had better natural lighting in the beginning of the day or late afternoon, and what would look better with the talent and brands being shot.

Once we chose our spots and had a schedule set, we prepped the gear and got ready to shoot the next 5 days from 6am to 6 pm. But the long days flew by because we were working hard, the crew was so easy to be around, and every session we stuck to our shotlist but had some creative improvisations as well. Shooting in the desert in the winter can be a mixed bag of weather. You can get screaming light because the sun is so low for most of the day and the air is so clear. But you can also get howling 60 miles/hour wind,rain and  frost which can delay things a bit. Luckily for us we had some awesome weather for the majority of the shoot and only encountered a few showers on the last day.

It was a fantastic experience and pleasure to work with Dick’s Sporting Goods, and look forward to another shoot in the future. Big thanks to Barry Berenson, Scott Lenz, Jody Pfister,  Kim McEniry, Brandon Magnus, Marc Kelly, and Billy Small for all their help. Special thanks to Rep Pat Hugg of Getty Images for making the job come together!!!

Dick's Sporting Goods Golf Shoot

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Outside Magazine Spread

Just grabbed my February issue of Outside Magazine from mailbox and stoked to see my aerial pic from the Kona Ironman World Championships run as a double-page spread in the “Exposure” section. Have always loved this publication and psyched to finally get a big pick in there…Get your copy today!

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Sign the Petition to Protect Kid’s Yoga Program in Encinitas Schools!

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From TheYogaBlog:

“In case you missed it, there has been a lot of controversy lately regarding a kid’s Yoga Program in Encinitas’ schools. (Click hereand here for a full back story). A significantly large group of parents have voiced enough concern and frustration with the program that it is in jeopardy of being cut. They believe Yoga is inherently religious and pushes children to practice Hinduism in school. Large Media outlets such as The Huffington Post andThe Associated Press have reported on this situation; it has received a significant amount of national attention.

Now the parents are threatening a lawsuit unless the program is cut.

As a Yogi and Yoga teacher myself, I have always believed in the universality of a good practice on the mat. Uniting both the body and the mind, Yoga has been shown to reduce stress levels by bringing a sense of calmness to the practitioner and produce a cascade of wonderful effects…including mental clarity and increased concentration. And in my opinion, the school board was most likely well aware of these proven effects when they decided to implement the program. After all, isn’t part of the job of a good teacher to provide students with the tools necessary to succeed in their studies? Especially when it comes to mental awareness and concentration.

Yoga is not inherently religious; it can be spiritual if you want it to be, just like anything…but that does not mean it is religious indoctrination.

I hope you will take some time to sign this petition and help me encourage the Encinitas School Board to keep this program. Perhaps if we get enough signatures we can make an impact on the back room discussions…and maybe even sway the opinion of some of the parents who are adamantly opposed to it. If there was ever a cause that the Yoga community should consider rallying around, it would be kid’s Yoga.

This petition goes directly to the email inbox of Timothy Baird, the superintendent of the Encinitas School District.”

Please go to this link http://theyogablog.com/protect-kids-yoga-program/  and scroll to the petition box where it takes less than a minute to type your name in. Thanks!!!

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