Nice essay, beautiful images and I cannot agree more on value of long lenses for distance landscape/zooming on a sub-set of a scene with aesthetically value.
As far as I am concerned, my whole choice of equipment has been driven for years by the need to focus reliably distant objects with top quality long lenses in a reasonably light package. As a side comment, the 70-200 fx.y lenses are good, but the reference IMHO is the Leica R 180mm f2.8 APO that was designed specifically to be shot near infinity. Combine it with stitching and you have a very flexible kit.
I never quite understood why some many photographers keep shooting sea side rock scenes at sunset with ultra wide lenses and ND filters.