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:
In my last full day of shooting, I was excited to cover Team Synchronized Swimming and Athletics highlighted Bolt going for the gold repeat in the 200m final. It was going to be a long day with having to set up the underwater remote at the pool, break it down and pack up my locker there, and then make it over to the track and get a descent shooting spot for the 200M. Setting up remotes for athletics was out of the question because I couldn’t get there in time to do so, and I actually would rather just focus on the event with my cameras in my hands.
In team synchronized swimming, Russia leads all teams into the free routines with a score of 98.100 points after performing a perfectly executed Russian Dance theme. China, bronze medalists in Beijing 2008, finished second with 97.000 while Great Britain, finished seventh with 87.300 at its first team event in the Olympic Games. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge made an appearance up in the stands behind me, cheering for Team GB and I got my paparazzi shots in. I was very happy with the photos I ended up shooting at the synch swimming, especially the underwater camera which was placed at the one position that I knew they would pass through, at the start where they entered the water. For this shot you have to focus slightly outside the water from the bottom of the pool, so my friend Al Bello stood on the pool deck while I focused from the bottom.
At the track, I decided to shoot from from the end of the photo moat just around the bend from the finish line, which had given me great results for the finish and also more importantly for the initial reaction and jubo of athletes. After settling down in a spot I was happy, the rest of the photographers around me were very accommodating and we spent the three hours waiting for Bolt shooting the shit.
It was no surprise that not only Usain Bolt led the Jamaicans into a sweep in the 200 meter sprint for the gold, silver, and bronze, but that the OBS Handheld video guys ran out on the track immediately (and I mean right after!) the athletes crossed the finish line and smothered them with their wide angle lenses, blocking all still photographers from getting a clean shot of the action. At the London Olympics it is really sad and disgusting how bad the TV invasion of the athletes personal space has become immediately after they cross the finish line. I really hope one of the athletes complains (especially when their cameras are a couple inches from their face after they are crying from losing an event) because TV barely gives room for the athlete to move. So most photographers got a great shot of the back of the head of the video idiot, rather than the gold medalist.
The photo if the day came in them men’s 800M final where World Record Holder David Rudisha won his first Olympic gold medal with the kind of world-record performance that has made him almost untouchable the last three years. The 23-year-old Kenyan won the final with his long stride in 1 minute, 40.91 seconds, breaking his own record he set in 2010, and setting the first world record on the track at the London Olympics. After crossing the line, he pumped his fist while the other competitors threw their arms up in the air stunned, and continued to celebrate which made for great photos.
At the end of the night, it was a great feeling turning off the cameras for the last time in London, knowing that it was a job well done and I would soon be home in San Diego with my family. Before I rolled out, I said goodbye to a handful of photographers in the trenches from all over the world who come together every four years to document the best in the world going higher, faster and stronger.
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 9: Team Australia enters the water during the Synchronized Swimming Team Competition, Day 14 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 8, 2012 at the Aquatics Center, Olympic Park in London, England. (Photo by Donald Miralle) Nikon D4 Lens: 16mm Aperture: F3.5 Shutter 1/2000th sec ISO:3200. Aquatech NY-4 housing with a LP-3 Dome Port. Triggered with Pocket Wizard Plus III’s via cable.
Today London held the men’s and women’s BMX qualifying rounds at the awesome BMX venue in Olympic Park. I missed BMX’s inaugural Olympic run in Beijing four years ago, so I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present than to cover the event today. In order to determine the seeding, each rider has to complete one lap around the Olympic Park BMX Track, filled with turns, burms, and jumps that remind me of playing old school Atari Motorcross games. This is really the closest that the Olympics gets to the X-Games and the IOC should probably start infusing more younger generations sports like this and replacing ones like badminton and table tennis. If golf is going to be added to the Olympics soon which I think is very smart by the IOC, shouldn’t surfing be added as well over ping-pong? I’ve never heard of “Table Tennis Digest” or “Ping-Ponger”, but there are a multitude of surfing magazines, websites, sponsors, and breaks at any country that would host the Olympics including England or say BRAZIL! Seems like a no brainer that surfing should be in the Olympics, how rad would it be to see Kelly Slater crying on the Olympic podium? Anyways, the BMX course was fun to shoot, challenging to find something really nice, although it was a luxury to be able to place the remote cameras on different jumps on the course…
After grabbing a later lunch (or was it a early dinner?) I headed over to hockey and got there to realize I missed the game. Was bummed I couldn’t shoot girls in short skirts smacking a hard ball around a wet synthetic grass field, but it wasn’t a biggie as I just took the bus over to the Olympic stadium and to try to shoot athletics in some nice light. But when I got there I forgot that the sun doesn’t get over the Olympic Stadiums walls for the finals and it’s all in shadows. No worries, it was my 38th birthday today and I decided I was not going to stress out.
But that lasted about an hour because during the women’s 1500M semifinals, a fan decided to hit me in the back of the head and shoulder to inform me that I was blocking him while doing his job. I really had to restrain myself and told him as calmly as I could that his seat was behind photographers and media seating which means he may get blocked by our cameras every now and then and if he hit me again I would get the police to escort him out. The guys’ checks were about the same red as in the Union Jacks, his eye’s had more baggage than an airplane, and I felt sorry that he was such an angry dude, and probably the only mean person I had run into since I was in London.
I quickly forgot the mean dude as soon as Jamaican Usain Bolt jumped back on the track, and had no problem today making it into the men’s 200 meter final after charging hard in the first 100 meters and letting up towards the end. But the highlight of the night for me was watching Cali native Allison Felix finally win the Women’s 200M Final, after she repeated as silver medalist in that event in the last games. It’s always great to see good things happen to good people, and she’s deserved that gold for sometime and will now forever be an Olympic Champion.
Today was a big day for British Triathlon with the Brownlee Bros going gold and bronze in the Men’s Triathlon Final in Hyde Park. I had the pleasure of shooting Alistair and Jonathan back in January in their hometown for LAVA Magazine, and I knew back then, even after Alistair injured his achilles tendon a month later, that they would be on the podium today. The two of them along with Javier Gomez of Spain have completely dominated the ITU scene the last two years, and as soon as they got off their bike today, the three of them ran away with the race.
Special thanks to Lila Sotiriou and Delly Carr for securing me positions on the finish line and medal podium! here are my picks, only a couple days left of shooting! Can’t believe the finish is in site!!!
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 7: Richard Varga of Slovakia collapses at the finish line during the Men’s Triathlon Final, Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 7, 2012 at Hyde Park in London, England. (Photo by Donald Miralle) Nikon D4 Lens: 70-200mm Aperture: F8 Shutter: 1/1600th sec ISO: 250
Today was a fun day, starting off at the athletics prelims in the morning trying to work on a couple good general views of the Olympics stadium and chauldron, and then moving onto the raucous and exciting Cycling Velodrome. It was a challenge getting the angles of the Olympic flame as a giant telescoping boom parked in the front of it kept swinging by as the athletes ran on track. I finally came a with one that kind of worked and took the bus to the Velodrome with was adjacent to the basketball and bmx stadiums, which gave me a good chance to speak to those venue photo marshall in regards to remote cameras I was hoping to set up n the next couple days.
After getting settled at the velodrome, I checked out the photo positions and chose the two that I thought would give me the best change of the photo I wanted to work on. I started with a pan with a super wide 16mm at about 1/4 of a second which is very slow for a handheld camera, but a cool effect if you can get one frame that works. after I finally got one that was sharp and properly composed with the right colors, I moved on to a more head on position for the finals and gold medal races. GB came through again with another gold and the house rocked!!!
Here are some of my photos, hope you enjoy, only a couple days left and I am going home!!!
It’s amazing how many people get excited, amped, and stressed over a race that last under 10 seconds. If you accidentally change the channel, or go to the bathroom, you could miss the entire thing. From a photographic standpoint, it really is quite boring. You got action shots, maybe a pan shot form the side, head on from moat when they cross, around the bend for jubo, and about 200 remote cameras at the finish line and in tribune (half of which are Bill Frakes from SI). Their are photographers that get there four hours before, stress over setting up multiple remotes and marking off their spots, and there are some that turn up right before the race and try to shoot with one camera in any spot they can find. There are snappers who are highstrung and nightmares to be around, and others who are as cool as the otherside of the pillow and a pleasure to be around. No matter what type of photog you are, we all have the same problem, that is the 100M and the entire Olympics for that matter, has become a TV show. The minute the athletes cross the line they have 3-5 handheld OBS Cameras descend on the athletes with wide angle lenses about an inch from their faces, completely blocking all other cameras from an angle. Even if you don’t have a spot reserved in the field moat for a head on shot and you go upstairs, one of the many gigantic telescoping booms on the field will swing out and get in your shot. Photographers are an afterthought on this TV stage, and even though Head Photo Marshall Bob Martin has done an absolutely fantastic job securing the best positions for us, with the cleanest backdrops or landmarks, TV is king and they pay the big money to have the throne at the Olympics.
Here are some of my pics from the “set” of the 100M Final, as well as the much more enjoyable Women’s Marathon in the morning. It’s all downhill at the Olympics after tonight!!!