I’m really excited about this blog posting!
You see I do a little of the picture taking myself and I love reading photo blogs and books… so I thought it’d be cool to incorporate the photo and the soccer. After a bunch of Googling, mixed with a little digging, and a few e-mails… BAM! There you have it! A series of web-interviews with some of the men and women rockin’ the soccer photography world.
Now the questions aren’t going to bust any brain cells here. If they do, someone’s not doing something right. These are just to get a little insight on the wickedly talented people behind the lens. Then feel free to check out more of their work to see all the cool stuff they shoot.
So enough with the lead in… We’re kickin’ off the series West Coast style, with a true veteran of the photo game who is passing the photo torch to a new generation, and is now an actual rockstar, Juan Miranda.
How did you land the gig as Chivas’ team photographer?
I was working with The L.A. Galaxy Media Public Relations department as the Media Coordinator when I heard that Chivas USA was going use The Home Depot Center as their home base for their inaugural 2005 season in the MLS. I ran into their Vice President Whit Haskel who had also worked for the Galaxy. I asked him if they had a team photographer, he stated that they did not and to submit a resume. They hired me as a Freelance photographer to document the historical presentation to the media on September 23, 2004. Well as you can see, I became the first official Chivas USA team photographer.
Coolest thing about the job?
The coolest part about the team photographer position is that I was able to capture the historical first of everything for Chivas USA’s inaugural year, first official team photo, first pre-season match in San Diego, there were a lot of first photos that the team gave me the opportunity to be a part of.
Do you travel with the team to away games?
Yes, a few matches here in California, Santa Barbara, San Diego, San Jose. Most of the away matches in other states are cover by the opposing team photographers.
Who’s your favourite player to photograph or that you really want to shoot and why?
There were a lot of great players that I enjoy photographing, the legendary Ramon Ramirez, Claudio Suarez, Paco Palencia, Ante Razov, Jesse March, and some of the newer players like Brad Guzan, Dan Kennedy, Atiba Harris, Maykel Galindo, Johnnie Bornstein, Sacha Kljestan… that’s just to name a few. What make these guys fun to shoot was that their style of play was phenomenal, they could run around the opposing players carrying the ball past them with no effort, goal keepers Brad and Dan made some spectacular saves. They were always accessible, never shying away from a photo. That’s what makes professional players famous, the more they get their face on the covers of media article the more the fans are aware they exist, without the photos no one knows who you are.
What’s your all-time favourite photo, any kind soccer or not, that you’ve taken?
There are a couple of shots that I’ve taken that really made me proud. There is one of Los Angeles Galaxy Carlos Ruiz make a scissor kick (The Chilena), I took the photo just at the right time and was able to get the ball right on his foot, the Galaxy used that photo for the 2004 calendar.
Another one I have is goalkeeper Brad Guzan capturing the ball as Galaxy Landon Donovan goes flying over him, some of the other great photos that I like are Claudio Suarez and Cuachtemoc Blanco crashing against each other jumping for a header. There are too many photos that I think are great to list I would need another few pages to describe them all.
On an average day, say your shooting game action, what’s your go to gear?
You always have to be prepare when you go to any photo event. I rely on my Canon equipment to help me get the best photos. I ‘m currently using the Canon EOS 1D Mark 4, 3 and a couple of mark 2′s, I also carry 24-70mm 2.8, 75-200mm 2.8, 400mm 2.8 and to get all the way across the field I use the 600mm 4.0 lenses. For day time photos you want to shoot at ISO 200 at 2.8 and shutter speed as fast as you can get it. Night time shooting in the stadium I go 800 ISO to 1000 ISO always f2.8. Some guys like the focal point more cleaner, f-11, I like the f 2.8 to get the background to blurr, you get some spectacular backgrounds in the night with the stadium light giving you some cool reflections. Getting an “All Access” photo credential also helps a lot, you get access to all the spots most media photographers can’t access, you don’t have to fight for a position with the rest of the media photographers, getting in your way and distracting you from get the money shots.
Not that your going to show any kind of team bias of course… how do you think Chivas are going to do in 2012?
Chivas USA can be a MLS cup contender if they play as a team and not just individuals trying to make a name for themselves. Coaches Robin Fraser, Greg Vanney, Carlos Lllamosa with Goalkeeper coach Daniel Gonzalez make a great coaching staff, I was fortunate enough to have seen Robin, Greg and Carlos play when they were in their prime years in MLS. They know how the game has to be played to win games, all the combined experience they channel to the players hopefully can bring a fruitful year. The player line up this year can and will be fantastic, they kept “Sueno” aka Jorge Villafana, Juan Pablo Angel, Dan Kennedy, Alejandro Moreno and have added some great new young players, Miller Bolanos, Oswaldo Minda from Ecuador, British Ryan Smith and probably more great players to come, the season is young and they can still add players.
What else do people need to know about Juan Miranda?
It’s hard trying to talk about yourself, trying not to brag too much. I started shooting MLS games when the league first started in 1996, at the Rose Bowl were my first MLS photos, I was working for a small time newspaper called La Voz Latina out of Lancaster, California. One of the first photos published was one of the Mexican great goalkeeper Jorge Campos playing with the Los Angeles Galaxy. It’s a great profession with a lot of competition, it’s exciting, frustrating, trying to get the money shot before the other photographers beat you to the wire. You can’t make any money if you are not a fan of the game, you would miss a lot of shots watching the match. Every movement is a photo when your the team photographer, the team want you to capture as much still footage as possible. Whether it be a face of frustration by a player missing a goal shot to the face of a fan celebrating or crying with fanatic emotion.
My favorite music is Rock n Roll, mostly loud guitars and drums, garage sound bands like AC/DC. Last year I joined a Latino Rock Band “Felix and the Katz”, they were famous in the late seventies, early eighties, Felix the singer and founding member got the itch to play again and has reformed the band, unable to get the original lineup he opted to get new members, thats when I auditioned and the got the Bass guitar spot. We’ve been play in Los Angeles, places like The House of Blues, the Yost Theather and smaller clubs around Hollywood and the Los Angeles area. Unfortunately for me this year I have decided to follow my childhood dreams of playing in a rock band, playing loud rock and roll. I decided last year that I would leave Chivas USA and let another aspiring photographer take the role of Chivas USA Team photographer, I wish him/her and the team great success.
You can see more of Juan’s great work at: CDChivasUSA.com and Gettyimages.com