Canon Ambassador Richard Walch’s trip with the Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM lens took in the busy ports, remote villages, verdant nature reserves and dramatic fjords of northern Norway – including this beautiful view overlooking Ålesund. Taken on a Canon EOS RP with a Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM lens at 58mm, 1/400 sec, f/13 and ISO200. © Richard Walch
Since his childhood, Richard has gone on to a successful 25-year career in action sports photography, indulging his passion for travel by shooting sports around the world, yet never making it to northern Norway. So when he got married in May 2019, Richard and his wife decided to take a cruise along the spectacular Norwegian coast.
It was the ideal opportunity for Richard to use his latest lens, the Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM. Instead of having to take a whole set of lenses, as he would for a sports shoot, it gave him a wide range of focal lengths in a single lens, to capture everything from majestic landscapes to intimate portraits.
The lens’s compact 112.5mm length and light 750g weight made it perfect for travel. Paired with the lightweight, compact Canon EOS RP body, it made a light and portable yet extremely versatile combination.
The cruise followed the old post boat route from the city of Bergen all the way to Kirkenes on the Russian border – well into the Arctic Circle.
“I wanted to shoot the counter-perspective: the land from the sea and the sea from the land,” Richard says. “I also wanted to explore the possibilities of a lens that goes from 24mm to 240mm, which is a big spectrum. The advantage is that it allows a really free form of photography because you have one camera, one lens, and off you go.
“That’s the beauty of the whole package, because when you’re on a ship you always have to be ready. You sit down for lunch or dinner and look outside, see something cool, just grab your camera, run out, get the shot and go back in. You have to be quick, and for that it was perfect. You don’t miss anything – if you see it, you go and capture it.”
“One of the reasons I got into sports photography was that it gave me the chance to travel all over the world and find out about lots of great places,” says Richard. This dramatic vista was captured in Lofoten, one of the highlights of the trip. Taken on a Canon EOS RP with a Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM lens at 47mm, 1/800 sec, f/6.3 and ISO400. © Richard Walch
Although Richard began the trip by photographing the cityscapes of Bergen, the scenery rapidly changed over the following days and became more wild and remote. Also, the further north the ship travelled, the longer the days became. After they passed the spectacular Lofoten archipelago – one of the journey’s highlights – it didn’t get dark at night for the rest of the trip, meaning more time to take photographs.
The versatile Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM lens enabled him to shoot all the subjects he encountered, from wide-angle views of expansive landscapes or harbour scenes to telephoto shots of landmarks or seagulls in flight.
He could even capture macro shots of small subjects such as flowers. Meanwhile the fast AF made it ideal for capturing wildlife in action.
Richard found the lens’s 5-stop Image Stabilizer made it easy to get pin-sharp shots, even in locations where light levels were low. “In the fjords, the ship could go as close as 10 metres from the coast,” he says.
“At one point, we were cruising right next to a 700-metre high wall of rock, which is pretty stunning to see but greatly reduced the light levels. The Image Stabilization gave me the extra stops I needed.
“In one shot I had an enormous rock wall next to me and it was really dark, so I was using 1/80sec at f/5.6 and ISO1000 but the image is very sharp.”
“When you marry a woman from Denmark, you don’t go to Copacabana Beach or Italy or somewhere,” Richard explains. “You get married in Copenhagen, then go north. Even further north.” Taken on a Canon EOS RP with a Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM lens at 24mm, 1/160 sec, f/5.6 and ISO1250. © Richard Walch
Like all of Canon’s RF lenses, the RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM includes a control ring on the lens barrel that can be customised to adjust shutter speed, aperture, ISO or exposure compensation. On this lens, the ring can be switched between control and focus, and is close to the camera body for easier access. “It’s in the perfect spot,” says Richard. “I can hold the camera with one hand and use the control ring with my thumb, so that works really nicely.”
When mounting the lens on the Canon EOS RP, Richard found the Extension Grip EG-E1 a useful accessory: “With the RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM fitted, the body and lens combination balances nicely in your hand and feels really good. I’d highly recommend it.”
The journey took in a stop to admire views of the midnight sun at Nordkapp before the ship reached the town of Kirkenes and began the return trip.
Looking back on the images he shot during the 12-day trip, Richard finds the overall quality of these pictures far superior to those produced by other superzoom lenses he’s used in the past.
“About 15 years ago, I had a 35-350mm lens, and though I was impressed by its versatility, the image quality seemed too much of a compromise,” he says. “But if I look at the files produced by the RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM, the image quality doesn’t feel like a compromise any more.
“I’m pretty amazed how sharp the lens is, and how brilliant it is. You can see the details in the shadows, and there are some really nice highlights and dark tones. Canon has really found the magic for its lenses. I’m really impressed by the quality in every new Canon lens I try.”
“I wanted to shoot the counter-perspective: the land from the sea and the sea from the land,” Richard explains of his travel series. Taken on a Canon EOS RP with a Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM lens at 129mm, 1/2656 sec, f/6.3 and ISO800. © Richard Walch
With full-frame image quality and powerful 10x zoom, Richard says the combination of the EOS RP and the RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM is “the ultimate travel combo – small, light and powerful. I will definitely use them for these kind of trips in the future.”
And as for his dream trip: after wanting to visit the north Norway coast for so long, Richard was delighted with what he found. “The scenery was really beautiful and we saw so many fantastic and interesting places on the journey,” he says. “It was perfect!”
Written by David Clark