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Urban action shots with the EOS RP

Since its invention, photography’s power to capture a passing moment and freeze it in time has fascinated humans. However, to successfully photograph an event in motion requires good lighting, a high-performing camera as well as sufficient skill and patience from the photographer. The new EOS RP is easy to use, allowing even amateurs to take professional-level photos.

Harri Tarvainen is a professional photographer specialising in outdoors and action photography. Together with his Instagram famous curly coated retriever Kaffe, they hike in the nature and take amazing photos. You can follow Kaffe’s adventures on his Instagram account @kaffegram. Remember to also check out Kaffe and Harri's five tips for pet photography.

I’ll admit it, I am an old-school photographer. I love the sound of the camera shutter. I rather look through the finder than gaze at the display. In my work, I mainly photograph with the Canon EOS 1Dx mkII and Canon EOS 5D mkIV, both of which belong to the highest-performing end of the Canon range. Many of my colleagues have already moved on to use mirrorless cameras, and their lightness and compact size have sparked my interest as well. When I was offered a chance to try out the EOS RP system, I was happy to take it. I picked two of my dearest subjects to try it out on: my dog Kaffe and skateboarding.

The EOS RP offers a compact size and professional-level full-frame system in the same package. I photograph in the nature a lot, and often getting to the subjects involves hiking long distances. Also, for the trips I take in my free time and activities I do together with Kaffe, carrying heavy equipment is not always possible. For cases such as these, I have settled with a compromise and left that wider lens or longer zoom lens at home. Indeed, for use such as mine, the best feature of the RP is its lightness. A smaller frame and smaller lenses allow me to carry a larger amount of optical equipment on hikes. These photographs were taken with RF lenses designed for mirrorless systems and EF lenses mounted with an adapter. The lens pictured here has a comprehensive focal range of 14–105mm f4.0, but what I look forward to trying out even more is the fast 24–70mm f2.0!

When I use a flash or photograph aurora borealis, I always use the manual settings mode. Otherwise, I have the aperture priority mode on. Automatic exposure works in many situations, however when it comes to sunsets, I underexpose by one stop in order to capture the colours in their full magnificence. In modern system cameras, you can control all the settings by using the display. However, with RP, exposure can be controlled by a separate ring just under the thumb, which is a great fit with the way I tend to photograph. Also, in the RF lens, there is a third ring besides the zoom and focus rings that allows you to increase or decrease exposure without having to operate the display. Thanks to this feature, the photography can go on uninterrupted as you can make adjustments while ready to take photos at any time.

This photo was taken by using two external flashes. I set one flash to my right-hand side and the other to my left-hand side. Even though the final photo is bright, the actual circumstances in the underpass were rather dim. The RP’s focus works amazingly well in the dark. In speed and accuracy, it matches Canon’s flagship models designed for professional use. I like the atmosphere the motion in this picture creates. The picture is static when it comes to cropping and layout, but the horses cantering behind Kaffe and I add motion to it.

Low-angle shots and action photography are an excellent match. A camera close to the ground transmits an even more powerful impression of a high jump or a fast-moving situation. With the help of an adapter, I can use an EF mount wide 14mm f2.8 wide angle lens that allows me position myself close to the target while still capturing the entire view. A rotating display helps with the cropping as the camera is nearly on the ground, held in hand. An external flash helps stop the motion and give correct lightning to Kaffe and I so that the sunset on the background is captured correctly as well.
PS: The pictures in this article featuring both Kaffe and I have been taken by my wife. Pretty well done for an amateur photographer who was holding an RP for the first time, or what do you think?