Or I guess it could also be considered a "duh" moment. I thought I would share my realization(s) for all my other fellow newbies. Let me start with a little story time. Now that the weather has been nicer the last couple days I have taken a couple of walks around the city with no other purpose but to take some good pictures/practice (until now I had only used my camera at social functions where I didnt really have the time to play with much). After downloading my last set of pictures and inspecting them I got very frustrated with my/the camera's metering (probably my fault). I had a LOT of pictures with blown skies/highlights. So today I started playing around with the exposure lock (* button on my Rebel XT) whilst shooting in P or Av. I have never had the guts to go to straight Manual mode for fear I didn't have the know how to know where to start with my exposure (I bet you are seeing the DUH moment now). Well obviously the problem with using the exposure lock is that when reframing/focusing its easy to lose the lock since it only seems to last for a couple seconds. Finally after getting more frustrated with that I decided to give the all powerful "M" mode a try. After all I was getting frustrated with the scenery lacking anything I wanted to take a picture of I figured I might as well experiment. Then came the big DUH When I pressed the shutter halfway that exposure adjusting bar told me where I was in terms of the cameras metering!!!! Now its all clear how all you awesome photogs are able to not sit there trying to figure out what shutter speed you need etc (or have some crazy eye for light). Haha. That being said I'm very exited to use the manual mode from now on. I noticed after that point I was MUCH more aware of what aperture/shutter speed I was using (which is good!). Obviously I'll probably fall back on the other settings when there's the pressure of people waiting for me, but when I'm off by myself I cant wait to experiment more. Thats why my next question comes in. Now that I've got the manual mode thing conquered. I would love to hear techniques as to how you guys use your cameras meter. One other realization I made today. I happened to be walking by a Borders in my travels so I decided to stop in and check out some photography books. I had seen 'Understanding Exposure' by Bryan Peterson mentioned many times here before but I thought I had a good handle on aperture, shutter speed, iso so I wasn't very interested. Well I picked it up anyways and am VERY GLAD I did. I have only read the first couple chapters so far but on one of the first pages he explains using manual mode and why thats the only way to go :lmao:. Anyways He talks about using the camera's meter with your subject filling the frame, then use those settings and recompose. Do you guys have any further input on that method? Sorry this post has been so incredibly long, but if you've read this far THANK YOU and I'd love to hear any helpful input. Also, I am not real happy with any of the photos I've come up with lately, but a couple of them will probably show up in the critique section just for advice on how to improve more. I havent decided if I'll do any processing yet.