While fixed-focal-length supertelephoto lenses (400mm and up) are popular with wildlife pros and sports shooters, there’s something to be said for the more than 50 telephoto zoom lenses on the market. Tele-zooms provide long focal lengths and add framing flexibility—quite handy when you can’t easily move toward or away from a subject in the field. Zooms also mean fewer lenses to lug into the field and fewer lens changes (a plus for D-SLR users who want to keep their image sensors dust-free). And for those on tight budgets, zooms that go to 300mm can be had for far less than fixed-focal-length 300mm lenses.
A mere two hours north of Los Angeles in the Mojave Desert is the 25,000-acre Red Rock Canyon State Park. The exposed geology is stunning where the Sierra Nevadas link up with the El Paso Mountains. Shades of pink, red, brown and white eroded volcanic and sedimentary layers provide a fascinating vista. Softer sediments have been worn away into a variety of cuts and channels capped by harder volcanic material. For thousands of years, native peoples used the unique tributaries as trade routes and as part-time homes. Later, prospectors and emigrants seeking a new life plied through on the way west.