After reading Peterson's book, I began to experiment using totally Manual. I can't believe how easy using Manual is! By using the meter and adjusting the shutter speed or aperture to get the right exposure, my shots have greatly improved. Buy the Peterson book, "Understanding Exposure". This book dumbs it down for us noobs and opens a whole new world in shooting photos. But boiled down, Peterson says: Put it in Manual, set your ISO, then either adjust your shutter speed or aperture until the correct exposure is indicated on your meter. Or...you can over-expose or under-expose for more creativity or for certain lighting situations. I still have much to learn, but this has really helped me make the jump from a point-and-shooter to an beginning SLR photographer. Have fun with Manual!