DelMoSports is known for world class events, phenomenal customer service and dedication to athlete safety. The look and feel of a "DelMo event" is unique. HOWEVER, the world would never know it if we didn't capture these timeless moments to show the world.
For those who don’t already know me I’m Michael Collins, the photographer you will see at many different points throughout DelMo events trying to keep up with the athletes and capture the day. While I will sometimes tell people I’m the “promotional photographer” what I’m really doing is looking to record epic moments that express the true nature of triathlon and running culture and the unique greatness of DelMo Sports events. I attempt to cover as much of the events as I can, and in doing so I sometimes get fortunate enough for things to come together to create an exceptional image that serves as a reminder and inspirational force for athletes to keep pushing the limits.
-What is it about these races that keep you coming back?
The main reason I’m drawn to these races is the atmosphere and energy created by everyone involved. There is something deep happening well beyond merely athletes coming out to compete. There's great dedication on all levels from the organizers, first responders, volunteers and athletes. Individuals are pushing their potential, possibly having overcome difficult trials in their personal lives, and they come to these events to prove what they are capable of. A lot of emotion, energy and excitement is involved. It's inspirational and incredible to watch, and I'm privileged to be right there with them in the mix to capture their greatest moments breaking mental and physical boundaries.
-Which event is your favorite?
There are aspects of each event that I like for different reasons, both for creating interesting photographs and personal appreciation, but if I had to choose one as a favorite it would be the swim. I have an affinity for water as an avid surfer, scuba diver, fisherman, boater, amateur marine biologist and general waterman. The swim events bring so many elements into the mix with the spray of water from neon-capped swimmers, boats, buoys, wave runners and paddle boarders all in motion. A lot is happening in terms of light, movement, reflection and color making for great photography and a thrilling event to watch.
-What is your biggest challenges when shooting an event?
The biggest challenge for these events is finding the right balance of settings for each image with available light. Photography is all about trade-offs between interdependent settings while still maintaining enough light for the exposure. Aperture, shutter speed and ISO are some of the main ones to keep balanced. Lower the aperture and you gain light but at the cost of a smaller area of focus, slow the shutter speed and you gain light but motion will be blurred, increase the ISO and you gain light but add grain to the image. As one setting goes up another has to go down. Of course the light is constantly changing between shots as the sun comes up, clouds pass over, shooting toward and away from the sun, shooting in and out of shadow, fast moving bikers to slower moving runners, and the list goes on. It’s a constant battle to dial into the best settings for each shot and can get complicated. If you are ever trying to get my attention during a shoot and I don't hear you I promise I'm not ignoring you, I'm just locked into figuring these things out.
-What is your favorite photo of all the DelMo events you've ever shot?
That's a tough one, but there is one image that comes to mind. A few years back at Escape the Cape Triathlon I was standing near the bow of the ferry as the first wave of swimmers were nervously awaiting the radio call to signal their imminent plunge into the Delaware Bay. Most people had stern faces lost in thought, trying to remain calm and focused on the challenge ahead. There was a lot of tension. I snapped a few shots and one man caught my focus; Harvey Dawkins, a renowned triathlete battling with cerebral palsy. He looked me dead in the eye, slowly raised his fists into a fighting stance, and gave me this epic smirk that said BRING IT! That made for one of my all-time favorite photos and it still makes me smile when I looking at it, from a guy that knows how to bring the right attitude to the game. A true legend.
-How do you continually improve your photos from event to event?
There’s always room to improve. I am constantly considering what I have done in past events and how it could be done better. I look at how I can alter settings to make those certain style shots that weren’t perfect the last round better. I scope out different angles to try to vary shots from past races. I consider better ways to get around or cut across the course to show up in the right place for those pivotal moments. I research, upgrade, test and calibrate gear to keep on the leading edge. There are endless ways to keep improving, which is great, because that means I can still get a lot better and that’s exciting.
-What is your favorite pre-race meal?
I eat rather light on race day. Usually running on high nerves and little sleep I just go for a few pieces of toast with almond butter and copious amounts of coffee. I throw a banana, water and thermos of more coffee in my bag. I generally don’t like to eat while shooting as things are always in motion, so I just down some liquids when I run to my vehicle to do gear swaps, and end up pulling a severely bruised banana out of my bag later that evening. It’s become kind of a tradition.
"Mr. Michael Collins of Ocean City, NJ is the man who brings the world of DelMoSports to the masses via his incredible photography. Not only is Michael a gifted photographer, but he is an even better person; he always has a smile on his face and a warm compliment and FREE REIGN to shoot whatever he wants. In fact, the most anticipated moments following a DelMo event are "Did Michael send the photos yet?" We're honored to work with him and proud to call him a friend. Thank you Michael, we couldn't have done it without you!" - Stephen Del Monte