What lens should I bring?

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It’s a question that you see all the time in photography forums: I’m going on a once in a lifetime trip to X what lens should I bring? I always answer the same way: All of them. While forcing yourself to use a single lens can be a great teaching device, having options is always a good idea; especially if you’ve only got one shot at it.

In Yosemite, Highway 120 crosses Cascade and Tamarack creeks right where they come together at the top of a water fall know as The Cascades. It has a fairly small watershed, so it dries up early, but it’s a very pretty area. While it’s possible to scramble down to the creeks, when with a workshop, we just shoot from the bridge that passes over.

To get this shot I had to drop my tripod to it’s lowest level, shooting through the bridge railing and some overhanging trees. That vantage put me almost level with the surface of the water before it tumbled down another cascade. To isolate the scene I used my Canon 100-400, zoomed all the way to 400mm. Since I was using my Canon 7D that gave me an effective magnification of 640mm. Had I succumbed to the notion that “Yosemite is a wide angle spot” I’d never have gotten this shot. While having the long lens adds a few pounds to the camera bag I wouldn’t dream of a Yosemite trip without it.


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