The Garage Games started in Woodstock, Georgia, in 2010. Athletes from around the entire United States compete in scores of competitions around the country. Many athletes come from a CrossFit® gym or that type of training. I learned though that CrossFit® is not affiliated in any way with the Garage Games. Combat on the Coosa is a Garage Games event held each year at Gold Star Memorial Park in Wetumpka, Alabama and I wanted to photography it using my Nikon D500 with it’s amazing continuous autofocus ability. The local event is called Combat on the Coosa, with the Coosa River a stone’s through away. This Blog post is about my efforts at editorial photography using the fairly new Nikon D500, APC-C flagship. I used the 17-55mm f2.8G ED Nikkor lens for all the shots.
I shot this event last year using a Fuji X-Pro2 and had limited success trying to focus on the competitors. They move very quickly in an up and down position and sometimes hold a position for several seconds before dropping the weights. The continuous focus and focus tracking just could not quickly acquire, track and then hold focus about 60% of the time. It was very frustrating. I can’t really fault that camera because it was never intended to be able to shoot sports confidently. That’s not what the X-Pro2 was designed for. It is great for street photography and general travel photography but for sports; not so much.
This year I took my Nikon D500 and my hit rate for in-focus images was probably around 98%! I’m not kidding. I took 599 images, all using continuous focus with a variety of the focus tracking options, and I had around 12 images that were soft. None were total losses. That is amazing to me.
I really enjoyed shooting this event; Combat on the Coosa. The contestants were mostly on the young side but you will see in the ensuing images that not all were in their teens or 20’s. They all had tremendous confidence and competitive spirit. The people not competing were all cheering them on. There were all body types and sizes as well. The one common denominator was that they all wanted to win!
Editorial photography is what I love to do. And this event did not disappoint. It was difficult getting quality images that showed the individual efforts and sacrifices each contestant made. Judges wandered in and out of frame, constantly, monitoring each contestant rep to make sure it counted for score. In addition, those that came for moral support, to cheer them on, all had cell phones, video taping the events. It was tough and somewhat frustrating. I did manage to get a few good images. If you are interested in The Garage Games Series, go to their Website Here for more information and locations for the events. Take a look below at some of the action.
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