Today was culmination of the dance school Kipinä's spring term, with a big exhibition with performances from the various dance groups. This turned out to be quite a long day as I had asked if I could go there and snap some pictures of the dress rehearsal since I desparately wanted some experience in photographing low-light stage areas.
I tried with the kit lens first since that would give me the most variation in focals length, but even at the widest aperture (3.5) it wasn't enough. Good thing I had brought with me my 50mm 1.8 prime. I would have wanted to shoot at about 2.8 for best depth of field, but even that didn't really give satisfying results, so I had to it set at 2.5 for the most part. (That high-ISO on the 550D would really have come in handy.)
First of all, some pictures.
The last one is my personal favourite.
So what have I learned other than that I have a thing for flinging hair? First of all, I need to stop using the focus-lock so much; I had to delete far too many out-of-focus pictures where I hadn't bother to refocus. Second, a stage, especially one where the lighting isn't even and people are constantly moving in and out of the spotlight, is a bitch to shoot; imagine the last shot with a bit more light on the girl in center.
Besides that, some practical issues: get a spare 4GB card and check that your battery is charged. I had to start deleting a couple of sets of old images as I was shooting when I noticed I was running low on space, and I was actually stopped just 60 images from a full card by the battery running out.
And finally some trivia: I had been at a housewarming party the night before and had barely slept off the effects of the drink as I got up at 9 in the morning. Went to the place where I shot about 3 hours straight, then home to get a bit to eat and back to the scene again for my group's dress rehearsal. So I had been up for almost 10 hours already after a night of little sleep as I performed our routine. I don't know if that worked against me or for me, but it went quite ok.