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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Kirk Douglas Portraits

Actor Kirk Douglass poses for a portrait at his home on November 7, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.

Kirk Douglas is an American Film Icon and Legend, and is one of the last surviving actors from Hollywood’s “Golden Age”. He is no. 17 on AFI’s greatest male American screen legends of all time, making him the highest-ranking living person on that list. He’s appeared in such classic movies as Spartacus, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Lust for Life.

So when I got a request from his Alma Mater St. Lawrence University to shoot him at his home in Beverly Hills, I jumped at the chance. It’s not every day you get to shoot a Hollywood Legend in his house! Kirk and his wife just recently graciously donated 5 million to the University to extend the scholarship program for ethnic minority students.  Born Issur Danielovitch, Douglas was a son of jewish immigrants raised in the New York area. Legend has it that as a young man Douglas jumped off the back of a turnip truck at the University, talked his way into the school, and received a loan which he paid back working part-time as a gardener and janitor. There is just a myriad of wonderful and interesting stories from Kirk Douglas’s life, but other than his indelible mark he has left on Hollywood, it may be his mission as Hollywood’s most generous philanthropist that he may be remembered most for (he has donated 50 million this year alone to multiple charities and non-profits!).

So it was no surprise when we showed up to the beautiful Douglas residence in Beverly Hills, California, walking distance to Sunset Blvd and the famous Beverly Hills Hotel, that I would not be impressed with this man. Even though he suffered a stroke several years back slightly impairing his speech, I could understand everything he said and could see he was as sharp as a knife. We didn’t have much time to get this done, so my assistant and I walked into his house ready to shoot with a Nikon D800, 24-70mm lens, PocketWizard Plus III synched to a Profoto 7b pack and light with a beauty dish + diffuser. He graciously invited us into his house where we met his wife and assistant, and led us directly to this first spot where he wanted to set up a shot. His house was beautifully but not extravagantly decorated with art that you would recognize, masks and relics from around the world, and pictures of his family (yes there were a couple of Catherine Zita-Jones and Michael Douglas). He took us to beautiful and quaint garden area where we set up a shot in front of an incredible sculpture of multiple busts of himself, and a bench nearly where we shot several of Kirk his wife Anne, and the president of St. Lawrence University and his wife. After a couple minutes of shooting and telling him that my favorite movies he starred in were Spartacus and Lust for Life (where he played a tortured Vincent Van Gogh and should have received an Oscar for his performance), we shook hands again and left.

It was a pleasure to shoot one of the Hollywood greats that I grew up watching and admiring on the big screen, and was worth the four hour roundtrip drive in LA traffic from San Diego.

PHOTO OF THE DAY – 2011 IRONMAN

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KONA, HI – OCTOBER 8:   A general view of the mass swim start for the the 2011 Ford Ironman World Championship on October 8, 2011 at Kailua Bay in Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Donald Miralle) Canon EOS-1D Mark III Lens: 15mm Aperture: F5 Shutter 1/1000th sec ISO:640

LONDON OLYMPICS – Day 14 Recap

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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 OLYMPICS – Day 14 Photo of the Day

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.

LONDON OLYMPICS – Day 13 Recap, BMX

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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.

LONDON OLYMPICS – Day Thirteen Photo of the Day

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 8:  A competitor on track during the BMX Seeding Phase Runs, Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 8, 2012 at BMX Track Olympic Park in London, England. (Photo by Donald Miralle) Nikon D4  Lens: 16mm  Aperture F4.5  Shutter: 1/2500 sec ISO: 100

LONDON OLYMPICS – Day 12 Recap, Two for Tri

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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 OLYMPICS – Day 12 Photo of the Day

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

LONDON OLYMPICS – Day 11 Recap, Speed and Grace

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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!!!