First and foremost I got a new lens for my birthday. The Canon EF-S 18-200mm 3.5-5.6 IS. This was meant as a replacement for the rather basic 18-55mm that came with my 400D body. So far the 18-200 hasn’t disappointed me. I’m really using the big span of the focal length and since it is meant as my alround-lens I didn’t care to much about the 3.5 open aperture (I’ll mostly use it for trips or well-lit situations, my EF 50mm 1.4USM is still the basement-party weapon). Check out a few of my photos on flickr to get an idea of the lens. The IS is really nice, the handling feels rich. The only downsides of this lens are it’s weight and the autofocus which sometimes has a hard time in low light conditions.
A few weeks ago I decided to finally buy a flash. I didn’t hesitate long and bought the Canon 430EX II. Before that (and while waiting for DHL) I read a lot of strobist.com, so that I hit the ground running when the flash did arrive. The nice thing about buying flashes is that you don’t have to worry so much about capabilities/size, because you can buy a bigger one which can act as master at some point in the future should you feel the need to. Along with the flash I ordered some small utilities, like the Phottix Tetra radio-triggers for off-camera flash, the Roscoe Strobist Gel collection (gel from “gelatine”. It’s called “Effektfolien” in german) and a small diffuser (just for fun). The Phottix Tetra have been great as well, especially considering the price-tag of about 30€, which is next to nil compared to other wireless triggers which quickly add up to ten times that much. However the Phottix triggers don’t support TTL, which is a measuring-system so the camera knows how to adjust for the flash. Well, what better time to really get acquainted with the M mode ;)
Aachen Open 2010, which just ended today, was the only real event I looked forward to, photography-wise, and it turned out really nice. Not only was the event itself a smashing success (no other way to put it, the organisation was flawless, the attendance was record-breaking and the venue perfect for our needs), but also meant many diverse personalities to photograph. You can see my complete photos of the event here: photos.heipei.net/Aachen_Open_2010/ and photos by other people will be collected here: http://cube.hackvalue.de/ao10/media-de.
Tonight I salvaged an old (and broken) Umbrella and simply covered the inside with white xerox paper. I sawed of the round part of the handle and now it fits into the grip of my tripod. The Phottix has a mount option for standard tripods. The results are amazing, and as usual I now feel much better when I buy an umbrella (I’m not quite sure whether I want reflective or shoot-through or both ;)