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!
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!
If you don’t know who Ocean Ramsey is, fire up a google search and you’ll recognize a viral video of graceful woman swimming with a 15-foot great white shark with no cage! She’s part ocean and shark conservationist, part free-diving bad-ass, and part model/athlete. I had the great opportunity to shoot her in Oahu, Hawaii for this month’s Pacific San Diego Magazine Cover.
I knew they were my kind of people when they pulled up in their 4X4 towing a wave runner and asked if I still felt up to free-diving with tiger sharks. Unfortunately, just like anything else in the ocean, it’s all dependent on the conditions and mother nature and the wind were not cooperating with us that week. Regardless, we dove in underwater caves, swam with dolphins, and took some great pics along the way. It was a pleasure to meet her and her partner Juan Oliphant, whose passion for the ocean and sharks is truly inspirational. To learn more about Juan and Ocean go to waterinspired.com and read the online article of Pacific Magazine here. Here are some of the images that made it into the mag and some outtakes, hope you enjoy and as always your feedback is appreciated!!!
Since I was a child and my parents had a subscription to National Geographic Magazine, escaping to remote locations, excavating ruins and experiencing exotic animals was always just a page flip away. For me NGM has always been the gold standard for not only nature and conservation but also great photography. David Dubilet’s surreal underwater scenes, Steve McCurry’s Afghan girl, Chris Johns Camel’s crossing the Sahara, Paul Nicklin’s Emperor Penguins, and the list of amazing photography in the magazines 125 year history goes on and on. I am honored to have one of my favorite images, the underwater view of the mass swim start from the 2011 Kona Ironman World Champs that won World Press Photo in 2012, published as a double page spread in the March edition of National Geographic Magazine’s Visions of Earth section. It’s always been a dream of mine to be published in the magazine and can’t thank NGM enough for deeming my photograph worthy to be in the same pages as the greats. Pick up your copy of National Geographic today or go to their website here and order your own custom print of my image!
Here’s a couple minutes of video shot with my GoPro Hero2 from a recent night dive with 12ft Reef Manta Rays off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Beautiful and docile creatures that feed on the plankton attracted to our torches, and an average-sized manta is estimated to consume 44–66 lb of plankton per day and can get up to 18ft and 1500lbs! You can see each manta rays individual markings on their underside which act as a fingerprint for identification, and the more time you spend with them in their environment you really get the feeling that they are very intelligent animals. Superfun dive and I recommend it to anyone who has the chance, it’s like being on another planet for an hour.
“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)