Playing with my new Canon 100-400L at SAN

After years of being limited to short zoom lenses and sub-par camera bodies, I finally stepped up my game and purchased a brand new Canon 100-400L for my existing Canon 10D. I really don’t know why I had waited so long to get a lens with a decent amount of range, but all I do know is that the wait was far too long. I think part of the reason was that I am generally kind of on the cheap side anyway, and at this time in my life all my disposable income is going towards travel. But with a new well-paying job in hand, I can afford to splurge a little on toys like this. And that’s exactly what I did.

Just as it happened whenever I purchased a new piece of photo gear, the weather turned to crap really quick – and stayed that way long enough to make it seem like mother nature was doing it intentionally while snickering behind my back. I have been desperately wanting to get out the the airport to try out this new lens but June Gloom has been in full effect with no break in sight. With no other choices and desperation beating out patience, I cruised on over to SAN this morning to take some photos.

America West 757-200 Nevada Livery

United Express EMB-120

Southwest Airlines 737-700

I was able to stand on the infamous green electrical box in the viewing lot at the corner of Harbor and Laurel. Doing so allowed me to look over the fence with a pretty clear view of the runway, in both directions.

Long story short, I was instantly blown away by the added range that the 100-400L gave me. I had been using a 70-200L up to this point, so I effectively doubled my zoom range. It’s really great and I instantly knew that my world of aviation photography (and the possibilities) had just been expanded by a ton. But the weather is still dull and dreary, so any excitement generated by my new lens has been quickly squashed by the conditions. Bittersweet.

As I mentioned in a prior post about shooting in less than ideal conditions, I was forced with thinking outside of the box and trying new things to adapt to the current scenario. In this case, I thought about taking advantage of using the long focal length of the lens and slowing down the shutter speed to practice my panning technique. This is harder than it sounds! I shot about 40 images this morning, and these four are the only ones that were sharp.

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