ENCINITAS — Photography was not always in Don Miralle’s future.
It wasn’t until 1996, his senior year at the University of California, Los Angeles, when the former college swimmer by chance took a photography class in his last semester.
“It was then I realized that photography had the same rules as painting or sculpting, except that it was instantaneous,” Miralle said. “I loved the immediacy of it.”
Flash forward to today, and the 40-year-old Miralle has become one of the country’s foremost sports photographers, capturing instantaneous images of professional athletes in their craft.
The former Getty Images photographer now is a freelancer, and is a go-to lens for publications such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine and the New York Times, as well as professional teams and organizations such as the Washington Nationals and the NFL Players Association.
Miralle’s work, as well as other photographers from his collective gallery Leucadia Photo Works, will be on display for the first time at the LeucadiART Walk, the 10th anniversary of the revival of the original event that started in the 1980s.
Miralle is one of the 101 painters, sculptors, photographers, glass blowers, tattoo artists and other artists who will showcase their work up and down Coast Highway from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The Art Walk has become one of the largest art events in the region, with more than 5,000 people attending last year’s installment.
“I opened a photo studio in Leucadia this year, and when the folks at Leucadia MainStreet approached me about participating, it was an easy call,” Miralle said. “I am super excited for it.”
So were the event organizers, the Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association, who pride themselves of being selective with the art on display at the annual festival. Artists must apply to be displayed, and a jury consisting of two Mainstreet board members, a board member of the San Diego Art Guild’s Off Track Gallery and the city’s art administrator Jim Gilliam hand selects the artists whose art will fill the event.
“Since people in Encinitas really have a craving for the arts, we try to keep the caliber of art really high,” said Carris Rhodes, the association’s executive director. “So we were really pleased when Donald and Leucadia Photo Works decided to be a part of the Art Walk this year.”
In addition to the exhibits, the event will also have a children’s art pavilion with four different interactive exhibits, live music, an open-air trolley and a beer garden that stays open until 7 p.m.
But the focus, Rhodes said, is the art and the artists that capture our senses and imagination — like Miralle.
“We have such a vibrant group of artists in our community, many of whom are well known across the country or throughout the globe,” Rhodes said.
“The Art Walk allows visitors to interact with these artists and their work,” she added.
For more details on the event, visit leucadia101.com/events/ leucadiart/