Rene Johnston - Staff Photographer
It has been a long time since I shot something totally new and through a fence at that!
The UFC 129 at the Rogers Center was by Toronto standards was huge. 55,000-plus screaming fans that got there early and drank a lot of beer.
Shooting photos was like going back 10 years when the autofocus was not that good and very slow. Also not very reliable.
The walls of the octagon causes major auto focus problems as the chain link fence in front of the subjects, who were moving very fast and could make a photograph at any second. The autofocus tends grab the fence often.
So it was back to the future and the focus ring on my Canon 70-200 and 24-70 zoom lenses got a workout, the first in a long time. The long lens for close up and waist above action and the short zoom for the wide stuff that included kicks to the head!
Actually, one could not really shoot automatic on exposure either because the backgrounds are completely black which will mess with the best camera's metering systems.
It was great to have the butterflies and not really knowing how things were going to play out again. I found it funny as I showed up very early to see veteran shooters from the other local stables eager and working out problems on the fly just like we did when we went to venues for the first time and did not have secret parking spots yet!
A ring girl shows the third round card outside the octagon on Saturday.
Kyle Watson lies knocked out as John Makdessi of Halifax wins second fight of the night. Watson was knocked out by a reverse roundhouse punch in the second round.
Kelona B.C.'s Rory MacDonald slams Nate Diaz of California for the biggest win of his MMA carreer at UFC 129.
Lyoto Machida of Brazil front kicks to the face UFC vet Randy Couture in the second round at UFC 129.
Lyoto Machida of Brazil finishes the punch on UFC vet Randy Couture in the second round at UFC 129.
Lyoto Machida of Brazil celebrates his win over UFC vetern Randy Couture.
Kyle Watson (in white trunks) and John Makdessi of Halifax rumble in the octagon in the second fight of the night. Watson was knocked out by a reverse roundhouse punch in the second round.
Toronto fighter Claude Patrick (black shorts) moves in to kick Daniel Roberts from California in the fifth fight of the night.
Toronto fighter Claude Patrick (black shorts) celebrates his win over Daniel Roberts from California as a trainer takes his mouth guard out for him.
Mark Bocek, left, was bloodied from a cut at the top of his head by Ben Henderson ( right) in an unanimous decision.
Jose Aldo from Brazil takes the ground and pound by Mark Hominick of Ontario at UFC 129.
Mark Hominick with a massive mouse on his forehead after the fight with Jose Aldo from Brazil at UFC 129.
George St Pierre of Montreal throws the superman left on Jake Shields of California at UFC 129.
George St Pierre of Montreal lands a great inside kick on Jake Shields of California.
George St Pierre of Montreal takes a punch from Jake Shields.
George St Pierre of Montreal gets tangled up in the legs of Jake Shields.
George St Pierre of Montreal turns from the punch of Jake Shields.
George St Pierre of Montreal takes a open hand to the face by Jake Shields.
George St Pierre of Montreal throws the left at Jake Shields of California at UFC 129.
George St Pierre of Montreal takes a left from Jake Shields.
George St Pierre of Montreal is checked out by the ring side doctor.
George St Pierre of Montreal wins and keeps his belt over Jake Shields of California at UFC 129.
George St Pierre of Montreal stretches out the jaw at the end of the match with Jake Shields.