Ain't it a B, yet again I lumber into yet another photography situation where compromise and trade-offs are necessary!
I guess that's what originally got me to thinking primes. But yes, I will take to heart for example using my 16-35 AND stopping down further - that is good advice. I was pretty gun shy about diffraction so I wasn't stopping down beyond f/5.8 or f/8. Plus that gives me a higher shutter speed since this was handheld HDR.
We went up two days, and coming off the mountain the second day, we hiked down after sunset, which was a golden experience BTW, felt like I was in a Lord of the Rings saga (with possible dwarves and goblins at every turn as we approached Mordor) and the lighting one hour after sunset was an awesome series of pinks and purples and blues but not having a tripod and needing to get off the mountain prevented capturing that part. Next up I'm getting a proper mountain day-pack that can carry my 500mm mounted and longer term a lighter tripod. My main tripod (GT5541) is simply too big to walk up a mountain with. Anyhow, we are going back next year and probably multiple times as well as heading to an even higher ridge that will put us in closer physical proximity to the Golden Eagles, of which we recorded 227 on two days.