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 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!

Day -2 First competition of the Rio Olympics: Women’s Soccer!

There are a lot of photographers itching to get going and start shooting actual events, so it was nice to get a jump start on the Games with football starting on Day -2. One of the sites for football is at Olympic Stadium, which is also the site for the athletics, it was quiet enjoyable shooting SWE vs RSA and BRA v CHI, especially with all of the Brazilian fans! Here are a couple of my favorite plus some behind the scenes. 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…Enjoy!

Still Alive… and Kicking!

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It’s coming up on two years since I last posted and I am happy to say I am still alive and kicking! Although I have taken some time off from the blog, I have been hard at work in the studio and in the field, and taking on assignments all around the country in addition to teaching photography classes in the community this past year. In the time since my last post in 2013, I am happy to announce I was awarded the Clio Award for the Washington Nationals Advertising campaign and have won a few Picture of the Year International awards!

It has always been a dream of mine to own a photography studio; and finally in 2013, I built a photo studio called Leucadia Photoworks. LPW is not only a studio but also a creative space for photographers in the San Diego area acting as a platform for our collective vision, the development of local talent, and the promotion of the photographic arts. Located just a few short blocks away from the beach in the artist and surf community of Leucadia, our fully-equipped 1,000 sq.ft. studio space, complete with a cyclorama at our disposal is also available for rental (www.leucadiaphotoworks.com).

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Leucadia Photoworks was born out of the void I saw not only for affordable studio space for photographers in North County San Diego but also a platform where local photographers could share their vision and foster new young talent. We run workshops, have monthly photography shows and other fun events here! LPW is a photo collective comprised of nine talented photographers I hand picked in the North San Diego Area: founder Donald Miralle, Kristy Walker, Greg Merino, Todd Glaser, Teresa Fae, Tim Eubanks, Matt Wright, Anna Pietrowski, and Mike Lewis. Please follow our events calendar to keep up to date with our photography workshops, member art shows, book sales and other events at our studio and follow us on our instagram handles (@leucadia_photoworks and @donaldmiralle)

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SHOOTING SPORTS: TIPS FROM THE PROS

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Former Editor for Sports Illustrated and Newsweek, Jimmy Colton has put together a fantastic piece about tips for sports photography on the NPPA site. Includes images and words by legends like Walter Iooss and Neil Leifer, and insight into their greatest photographs. I’m honored to have been included in this group. Check it out:https://nppa.org/news/shooting-sports-tips-pros