Telephoto lenses are not just for sports and wildlife photographers. In fact, I will go as far as to claim that that the uglier or blander the scene, the longer the focal length should be. Of course in the rare circumstance where the entire scene takes my breath away, only a wide angle lens can capture the scene as seen by our eyes. But this is the exception, not the rule. More often than not, the majority of the scene is disordered and uninteresting, and all the work of photographing it is in finding and isolating a small, coherent story within it. This was the case on the beach in Carmel last year. The occasional few foot wave created some interest, but on the whole the scene felt like the background layers of an unfinished painting. I sat down on a rock, looked into the surf, somewhat depressed at the dearth of photographic opportunities. Moments later I realized that a telephoto lens could save the day. I set up my tripod and adjusted the focal length so the next wave would fill the central third of the frame, bounded by the soft, white surf and the pale, yellow sky. It's no exaggeration to say many of my favorite photographs were taken moments after I had worried that I would end up with nothing worth keeping.
Below is the google street view image of this scene.