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Old school says something like ... "the best second lens you can get is a good tripod".
In today's world of high ISO mania, people think that a tripod isn't necessary ... but as you seem to have quickly realized, tripods can be great as a compositional tool ... in addition to reducing camera shake and allowing for longer exposures.
Totally diggin, the watch & wait, rooted in anticipate. If your tripod has a quick release mechanism, you can still shoot some handheld shots while you're watching & waiting. Then, when the time is near, put it back on the pod, with registration for your composition still in tact.
As to the EXIF info, shooting as wide as 17 mm, I'd likely shoot @ f8 rather than f11. Two reasons for this ... first, most lenses are sharpest around 2-3 stops stopped down from wide open, or around 5.6 - 8. Second, diffraction starts creeping in a bit as well. While it might seem that you get more DOF @ f11 (which you do), f8 is likely still going to be more than enough with a UWA like 17mm.