Best of the Pan American Games

“STEEPLECHASE FINAL” –  Mario Alfonso Bazan #7 of Peru, Marvin Blanco #771 of Venezula, and Derek Scott #755 of the USA compete in the Men’s 5,000M Steeplechase Final during the Athletics Competition on Day Fourteen of the XVI Pan American Games on October 28, 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico.  (Photo by Donald Miralle for Mexsport/COPAG)

As doze off on my return flight home from the XVI Pan Am Games in Guadalajara Mexico, it seems like yesterday when I was coming off no sleep from my best friend’s wedding in LA, and stepping off the plane running directly to the swimming pool to shoot the swim finals and set up the underwater remote cameras. Through the sleep-deprived haze of two straight weeks of nonstop shooting and editing I’m trying to recollect some of my memories. Shooting for my good friend David Leah’s agency Mexsport (formerly Allsport’s Latin America agency) as the official photographers of the Games and COPAG, was definitely a highlight of the trip.

Here’s a view of me setting up underwater remote cameras on the bottom of the competition pool. You have to give yourself a couple hours before the event to setup and test, and a couple hours after the event to pull camera and edit, which makes for a very long day. (Photo by Christian Palma)

But well worth it for frames like this…

And this…Amazingly both shot with a relatively slow frame rate of the Canon 1D Mark II that I use for the full frame sensor, great color reproduction and low grain at high ASA’s.

This is my fourth Pan American Games, and after Rio in 2007 David landed the contract for Organizing Committee for Guadalajara and immediately asked me to be part of his team. I jumped at the opportunity to work with him knowing not only did it mean great access including rockstar parking at each event venue and pool photo positions (a.k.a. best photo positions reserved for the largest photo agencies) but also good times hanging out with an old friend. Our excursions to the Argentinian Steakhouse La Matera, and the “Nightcaps” consisting of beer in our hotel suite while we watched Austin Power clips before having to wake up a couple hours later to work an 18 hour day, helped me forget we were actually there for work. Shooting beside good friend Al Bello made time fly by as we helped each other while we chased the light on the ground or in the water. Watching Al get blind-sided and pummeled by a rogue wave at the Puerta Vallarta Open Water Swim, loosing his dive mask and still managing to out shoot me is a memory that will always make me smile. Catching up with photographer friends that I only see every 2-4 years at either the PanAms or the Olympics and meeting some new faces and names is always a pleasure.

“SHARK-MAN” –  World Record Holder and Olympic Champion Caesar Cielo of Brazil swims to win the Men’s 50M Freestyle in a New Pan American Games Record during Day Five of the XVI Pan American Games at the Scotiabank Aquatics Center on October 20, 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico.  (Photo by Donald Miralle for Mexsport/COPAG)

“THIS END UP”  – Team Brazil warms-up for the Technical Routine Preliminary Synchronized Swimming during Day Four of the XVI Pan American Games at Scotiabank Aquatics Center on October 19, 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico.  (Photo by Donald Miralle for Mexsport/COPAG) 

As my plane bounces and wakes me up in my connection in Phoenix Skyharbor, I can still hear the overly repeated mantra of the Games yelled by a man with a bad accent, “Come Celebrate the Fiesta of the American’s!!!!” Still ringing in my head like some form of Chinese Water Torture, he should have said come “celebrate the photographic free-for-all of the America’s”! With very loose photographic rules and positions and photographers running all over the field of play it felt like an event held decades ago that was wide open and  set up for unique photo opportunities that you normally couldn’t get at a large multi-sport event today. With some risk comes reward, and the PanAms were a breath of fresh air and made my year for shooting editorial sports. Here are some of my photos that hopefully show that, and a gallery on the bottom of the page with my favorites…enjoy and your feedback is always appreciated!!!

“DARK SERVE” –  Christina McHale of the USA serves against Team Brazil in their Semi-Final Doubles match during Day Four of the XVI Pan American Games at Telcel Tennis Complex on October 20, 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico. (Photo by Donald Miralle for Mexsport/COPAG) 

“HIGH FLYING” –  Josue Louis of Haiti  competes in the Men’s High Jump Competition during the Athletics Competition on Day Thirteen of the XVI Pan American Games on October 27, 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico.  (Photo by Donald Miralle for Mexsport/COPAG) 

“TRIANGLE RUNNERS” –  Runners compete in the men’s 5000m final during Day 10 of the XVI Pan American Games at Telcel Athletics Stadium on October 24, 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Juan Carlos Romero of Mexico went on to win the gold medal. (Photo by Donald Miralle for Mexsport/COPAG) 

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Comments

  1. Some very powerful and interpretative images that should lead to additions to your portfolio, Donald. I guess that’s what shooting on the edge gets you…

  2. My friend. It was great shooting with you and of course learning from you at the Pan Ams. thanks for making my experience a good one. Your pics are fantastic!! We had a few laughs didn’t we?

    • Some great laughs. Not mentioned in the blog was your experience with the scary clown at La Matera Restaurant. I couldn’t remember if you were crying or laughing…Classic!

      • That certainly was a night to remember when Al shouted “don’t let the scary 75 year old clown touch me !!!!”
        His name is actually Cepillin!!!and extremely famous in Mexico!! But very weirdly scary !!!!
        It certainly was a great pleasure working with you guys, will never forget it and really made my Panamerican games, thats for sure

  3. Audrey Roberts says:

    These photos are brilliant! 😀 The powerful images on your blog posts/emails always start my day off on an inspired note. Hope all is well with your family!

    Audrey 🙂

  4. thanks for sharing those pics and also a bit of the “backstage”, always interesting. Few images/news crossed the atlantic to Europe unfortunately.

    • For some reason the PanAM games didn’t get too much play in the US as well. One blip on Sportcenter about the soccer and basketball teams, but no play in the magazines or newspapers. Unfortunate as it’s a great sporting event with up and comer athletes who will probably be in London next year…

  5. As always your pictures are a lesson in how to work and a source of inspiration for other photographers.

  6. Killing it as always – real talk.

  7. This is all fine and dandy, but the real question everyone wants to know is, what were you for Halloween? lol As always thanks for putting the time to share the behind the scenes of your work here 🙂

  8. Thanks for sharing these pictures.
    I really like the one with the light pockets like the Dark Serve or TRIANGLE RUNNERS

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