(Don’t bother reading this post unless you’re interested in the equipment side of photography, you’ll be bored)
Within a week of the beginning of 2014 I bought my first super-telephoto lens: the Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6. After renting large primes (notably, the Nikon 300mm VR and VRII, ~$3000 and ~$5500 lenses, respectively) from Glazers, a local camera equipment and rental business here in Seattle, I decided it would be worth my while to buy something with significant reach for myself. While those Nikon lenses were way out of my budget (not just the primes, zooms as well), I was able able to pick up the Sigma for about $900. An expensive bit of kit, no doubt, but comparatively reasonable.
Something like 90-95% of the shots I took during 2014 were with this lens, and I’ve been very pleased with the results. As I tell people, “you need a big lens for little birds.” While I feel I’m ready for an upgrade, I’m still able to consistently get great results, and I’ll be keeping this lens around as a backup for a while.