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You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I was wittering about trading in the Big Lens for a 100-400mm; I had a quote from mpb offering me a surprisingly good price for my prime against an “as new” second-hand zoom, and I almost went ahead and and authorised them to send a courier to fetch it. But….. it was still a lot of money, and I wasn’t 100% certain about it…. so I dithered and mithered, until the quote lapsed and they sold the 100-400 I’d been looking at. And then shrugged my shoulders and thought maybe another time.

Yesterday an email arrived from Canon, listing their autumn cashback offers – among which was £215 on the 100-400L, plus another 10% off the full purchase price and a 3-year warranty. I phoned London Camera Exchange and asked if they had one in stock, and if they’d be interested in taking the Big Lens off my hands – and as the answer to both questions was “Yes”, this morning I zoomed over to Leamington Spa and made the trade. By the time Canon honour their part of this deal it will have cost me a hundred pounds less to acquire a brand new zoom with a 3-year warranty than I was contemplating spending on a second-hand one with a 6-month warranty. How lucky is that?!

Back in Stratford I met up with R for lunch, then unpacked the Big Zoom, applied it with trembling fingers to the 5DIII, and went off – very nervously – to try it out. Within about five minutes I was totally in love with it, and snapping away at everything in sight – it’s soooo sharp, and lightning-fast, and the bokeh is lovely…. the only down side really is the weight, but I figure that’s what monopods are for. Everything I took today was fully hand-held, in quite poor light, and the proportion of failed shots was low – I even managed a couple of gulls in flight, some people, and a very nice record shot of a moth on one of our windows. So I’m confident that the BZ is going to earn its place in my kit.

I was on my way back to the car when some people started throwing food to the gulls near the Chain Ferry, and I saw this swan, which was about a hundred metres away, realise what was happening and set off at high speed, to try to reach the feeding frenzy in time to share it. I love to see them powering through the water like this, with their wings flared and creating a bow wave, and I got a nice sequence of shots as it came towards me; I’ve chosen this one because I like the contrast between the white plumage and the red and blue of the Ferry.