The training wheels come off

I took the training wheels off my Nikon D80 yesterday.

You see, I’m a graduate of the point and shoot camera. I’ve had decent P&S digitals to this point, and my entire photographic way of being has consisted of having a sometimes decent eye for composition, and hoping that the camera would get everything else correct. I’ve spent my photographic life in “Automatic” mode.

Most of the pictures I’ve taken to date with the D80 have all been in ‘P’ mode — which is just ‘A’ mode with choices. To this point, I’ve had the camera auto choose focus areas (I felt like a complete dummy when I realized I had a dyamic and single point AutoFocus option and yes, I could actually pick my focus area), and had it largely choose all my shutter speeds and apertures. Even when I was using shutter-priority or aperture-priority modes — I still had the camera in auto-iso.

Well, I’ve been going through Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Exposure and I decided it was time to take the training wheels off. Go to manual mode, pick my aperture, pick my shutter, set my iso speed, pick my focus area.

Boy did that suck.

I got one picture I liked:

Chancellor’s Front Porch

And that one not even that much.

I know the end result is going to be better one day, but for now it’s like moving on to legion baseball and having to undo every bad habit you learned in little league. I was dial-turning and button-pushin until the cows came home.