One great thing about dSLRs as compared to film shooting is the immediate feedback. When learning a new technique, such as working with artificial lighting, this can really flatten the learning curve so that you take a shot, see what you need to do to adjust the results, make another shot and repeat as needed.
I recently purchases some light modified from Rogue, a Flashbender 2 XL kit, which includes a reflector, soft box and strip grid. The other purchase was a Rogue 3-n-1 honeycomb flash grid, which has inserts to restrict light to 45, 25 and 16 degree (combo of other 2).
This shoot was with my Pentax K-5 IIs and Tamron 28-300mm F3.5-6.3 Ultra zoom XR.
With soft box and my Phottix Mitros speed light:
With strip box.