Day 6 – Four Venues and More US Golds in the Pool

Crazy busy day covering rugby, field hockey, whitewater kayak and swimming. Here are some of my favorite images that I’ve had a chance to look at, most of my final editing will have to be done when I get back to the states and have time to sit down and go through the thousands of images with a fine tooth comb…

Cool Feature Article in INFOGLOBO 

Cool article and feature in Brazil’s largest paper INFOGLOBO about photographers covering @rio2016, focusing on my 9th Olympic Games, following Phelps and Bolt throughout the years, as well as talented @gettyimages photographer @mario_tama 
 #brasil #rio #rio2016 #press #bts #olympics
Here’s the translation for those of you who don’t speak Portuguese:

Rio has long been a photographer’s dream, a city with landscapes and edifices as varied as the faces of its people, and a people whose love for the camera is unmatched. Now, with the Olympics in town, thousands of athletes — and photographers — will reach the pinnacle of their careers on Carioca soil.
The two and a half week span of the Games, from the lighting of the Olympic flame in Maracanâ to the fireworks at the closing ceremony, will mark the most photographed moment in Rio’s history. But this moment also comes at a time when Rio is facing substantial challenges politically, socially and economically.  
Tales of the city’s woes, ranging from the concerns about the Zika, to the increased crime rates in the favelas, to the plumbing problems at the Olympic Village, have traveled far and wide. So, what will the thousands of cameras in Rio de Janeiro focus on? Will it be the sambas at the Arcos da Lapa? Or the rubble and exposed pipes of a downtown that is perennially under construction? Will the cameras focus on the marathon swimmers straining against the waves at Copacabana beach, or the debris in Guanabara bay?
Mario Tama, an American photographer for Getty Images, has been based in Rio de Janeiro since 2013. Not only has he covered the 2014 World Cup, but he has also traveled around Brazil, capturing everything from Candomble ceremonies to anti-government protests in Sâo Paolo.
Tama says this Olympics will be particularly special for the photographers who will be documenting the games.
“It’s such a physically striking beautiful place, and the Brazilian people are so warm and welcoming and open to being photographed,” says Tama. “I think this Olympics is going to produce an amazing set of photography.”
Tama, who will be covering his first Olympic games, adds that the challenge for a lot of photographers will be pushing past the cliches of “postcard Rio:” of Carioca life as a nonstop, bikini-clad party. He has been posting photos on his Instagram account of Rio’s street art, construction (or lack thereof) of the VLT line, and the Mare favela complex. One of his aims is to present stories that are “as varied as Rio and as Brazil is.”
“What I hope to do is capture the overall relationship of these events in the midst of Brazilian citizens, and in the midst of Rio and in the midst of the challenges that Brazil is facing,” says Tama. “And also how this mixture of tourists and locals kind of gather around and embrace or don’t embrace the Olympics.”
For Donald Miralle, a veteran sports photographer who will be covering his ninth Olympics, the Games present a multitude of challenges and rewards. As it turns out, the Olympics are as much a test of endurance for the photographers who shoot them as they are for the athletes who compete in them.
“It’s nearly 20 days straight of work,” says Miralle. “Some days, you’re doing 20-hour-days. You’re not getting a lot of sleep, you’re running around, usually in a city you’re still trying to figure out.”
Luckily for Miralle, this won’t be his first time in Rio. He shot the Pan-American games in 2007, and many of the events featured there will be held in the same sites.
“The topography and the area that Rio is situated in is stunning and gorgeous and very unique. It lends to very unique photography,” says Miralle, whose favorite venues were rowing (in Lagoa Stadium, with Christ the Redeemer in the background) and beach volleyball at Copacabana. 
While Miralle looks forward to capturing a myriad of events taking place on Rio’s distinct topography, he’s especially looking forward to completing his journey with Olympians Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, for whom Rio is likely to be their last Olympics.
“Everyone wants to shot the marquee athletes like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt,” said Miralle, who has shot every single one of their gold medals. 
Miralle has been posting some of his favorite shots from previous Olympics on his Instagram, shots that include superstars Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, and Serena Williams’ historic performances, as well as fencing, rowing, and archery.
“I love the artistry you see at the games,” said Miralle. “Every day at any venue, there is history being made, and moments that you have the opportunity to freeze and immortalize forever.”
But Tama hopes that the tourists who come to Brazil in hopes of getting the perfect shot on their Instagram will go beyond the beaches and the Olympic venues and see more of what Rio has to offer.
“There’s so much more,” says Tama “and it’s so much more interesting and undescribed.”

Day 5 – Fencing & Phelps

My main assignment the first week of the Olympics is taking the lead to cover the aquatics sports for Sports Illustrated, and ou side of that I’ve been trying to get in as many venues and sports as I can during my Olympics. So I checked out fencing which I only shoot every four years but always makes a photo. Then I was able to photograph another golden night for Michael Phelps in the 200m Butterfly, his first Olympic event he ever qualified for as a 15 year old. 

It was such an epic race between him and Chad Le Clos in London, and this one was a close contest but Phelps came out on top. Ledecky also brought home another gold, she’ll probably end up with four by end of the games and is in a league of her own.

Here are some of my favorites…enjoy!

Day 4 – Catching Up

There no such thing as catching up at the Olympic Games, once you fall behind that’s where you’ll stay. Whether it’s sleep, editing, blog post etc, I’ve slipped and am doing my best just to catch up.

Here’s the best if Day 4…

Day 3 – Birthday Wish

Every four years I get the opportunity to spend my birthday with colleagues at the biggest sporting event worldwide, while we are all working ourselves to the bone burning the candle on both ends. But other than being at the Olympics the only other place I would rather be is at home with my beautiful wife and two sons, who I love and miss dearly. My only wish today on my 42nd trip around the sun was that they were having a good day. When I facetimed my sons and saw their smiles while they were in the skatepark in San Diego, and briefly spoke to my wife while she was in Ohio with her family celebrating her grandmother’s long life it brought tears to my eyes. I didn’t have the best day shooting multiple venues with not everything working as it should, but when your birthday wish comes true it doesn’t really matter…

Here are some pics I shot today, hope you enjoy them and have a good day 🙏👍

Day 2 – Multisport Marathon

Today I decided to scout out the Rio Centro area that holds Badminton, boxing, weightlifting, and table tennis before heading to swimminginals in the evening. I was relieved to find these venues, like many here in rio are well lit and have decent shooting positions of you can get to them. That’s one thing I live about shooting the games is the strategy involved just in the timing of things like the bus schedule, different sports schedules at varying venues, and finally being able to walk into a venue and either find the shot quickly or plan ahead for one.

After shooting a Multisport Marathon at Rio Centro, I went back to Olympic park to shoot swimming finals which ended up being an epic night with three New World Records! The men’s 100m breast, women’s 100m fly and women’s 400m free all fell in spectacular fashion, and the night ended with the USA taking the gold in the 4×100 free relay. It was awesome…

Day 1: Swimming 

Spent the day on (and under the pool deck), an exciting day with a couple broken world records in Men’s 100m breast and Women’s 400im. Here’s a few of my underwater photos, which I was happy with. While shooting for Sports Illustrated at Rio, our images are being directly ingested from our cameras as they are shooting through an ethernet cable into their servers, a great system for ease of transfer for photographers and editors! So many of my photos from the events I don’t see until a day or two later. But I will post them as I back them up, so you can follow along!

Let the Games Begin!

After a bit of a hectic bus ride, with our bus driver getting lost en route to Maracana Stadium, I got in cue with thousands of other media members trying to find our seats for the opening ceremonies. I thought five hours would be enough to lead time to beat the traffic and crowds and get into my position ready to cover, but I was wrong. With inexperienced bus drivers along routes that are blocked by police, no signage and staff to direct foot traffic at venues, and long lines at security, I’m going to get used to allocating a lot more time to get into events.

The best part was once I found my marked seat in the photographer position and finally prepared all my cameras in anticipation for these art of the ceremony, with one minute left before the kickoff all hell broke loose. Several irate Brazilian ticket holders tried to kick the media out of our seats, waving their tickets in our faces saying we stole their seats. As we also had identical tickets it became quite apparent that someone had double ticketed our section which was supposed to be for photographers. After the commotion settled and we missed much of the opening minutes of the ceremony, we all just found empty seats and continued on.

The ceremony itself was entertaining, with a nice mix of Brazilian culture and colorful costumes and fireworks. Gisele Bunchen walked the longest runway if her life in a tight fitting dress, an early airplane flying out of the stadium and virtually continuing through the the famous parts of Rio, and the Olympic Rings exploding upward via fireworks were some of the highlights. After a very long procession of athletes (2.5 hours) some nice performances and speeches were given, especially by the President of the BOC to commence the games. 

Here’s some more of my favorite photos…enjoy!

 Hours away before the start of the Games!!!

With the Olympic flame making its way to Maracana Stadium to light the Olympic cauldron, you can feel the excitement in the media center and around town. I just jumped into one of several packed buses of journalists and photographers making their pilgrimage to document the “official” start of the Rio Olympics. 

Here’s a selection of some of the other fireworks displays from the Opening Ceremonies I’ve had a chance to cover…

Setting up underwater cameras at Rio 2016 Olympic Aquatics

We always have to get the Olympics several days before the start to get acclimated, scope out venues and schedule, and start setting up cameras. The underwater venues take extra time in setting up the underwater remote cameras. Back when I started doing the underwater cameras 16 years ago, there was only a couple of us in the water, now the coverage under the surface since the Beijing games has really expanded with up to 10 cameras down there at a time, including large and expensive robotic rigs, that can shoot at any 180 degree angle with zoom, focus, liveview and preset shot functions as well.

Shooting for Sports Illustrated at these Olympics, the plan has been to have my static Aquatech camera in the swimming venue and the robust robotics rig in the diving/water polo/synchronized swimming venue. Here’s a couple behind the scenes photos and videos of our underwater setup, which wouldn’t be possible without the help of the consummate professionals like dive master Simon Lodge that the BOC and FINA place on the pool deck to facilitate the installation.

Be sure to check out my instagram feed @donaldmiralle as well as Sports Illustrated’s and the rest of the team of great photographers we have here covering Rio!