This was my first attempt using my new zoom lens.  I debated on getting a Canon 300mm 2.8L but then I realized I just don’t shoot enough with my Canon (or get paid to shoot with it enough) to warrant laying out $1500 or more on a used lens.  I just don’t do enough work at that range to even consider it.  I prefer primes or zooms where I can hand hold the camera.  Yet, I wanted to get something where I could learn how to use a zoom with a tripod and shutter release.

I explored the internets until I came across a many favorable reviews of the Sigma 70-200 2.8.  I’m not that anal that I won’t use third party lenses.  Hell, one of my favorite all time lenses is a Tamron 18-200.  That thing was constantly stuck to my first camera and I still have it.  Won’t work on the 5DII but I have a 400D body that I have attached it to.  Seems happy.  I found a gently used one on ebay and got it for under $500.  Good enough to learn on and I’m guessing I’ll get damn near my money back when I resell it.

So off to GW Parkway and the scenic overlook into Washington DC.  A few things I never considered in my exuberance of trying this out:

1. I had a dog with me.  Not really smart when trying to setup a tripod and level it.

2. It was around 10 at night.  There are no lights at this overlook.  Trying to couple a camera into the tripod using a lens collar not easy in the dark and having to use the flash off your iphone.

3. Trying to get the camera level once mounted on the tripod with one hand because the other is holding the iphone.

4. Hooking up the shutter release cable in the dark while trying not to knock the camera out of level again.

It was a learning experience.  I finally threw the dog in the car because she was determined to run around like an idiot.  Switched the camera to bulb mode and then used live view to compose the shot as best I could.  It took a bit to get settings correct.  Who knew that holding a shutter open for 15 seconds and 2.8 and ISO 200 could turn night into day?  After a few more shots I got this and while not technically perfect considering the adverse conditions I was operating under, (I thought they turned out like shit to be honest) when I loaded it into Lightroom I was pleasantly surprised.

Photo Nerd Info: Canon 5D MKII, Sigma 70-200 2.8, ISO 200, f/14, 13.0 sec (I swore I counted to 15).

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