I had my first (of five) photography classes last night at our local community college. It was really good! There are 11 of us in the class, and we're an all-female class - go girl power! Of the 11 of us, one has a P&S with manual capabilities, 4 have Nikons (me included) and 6 have Canons. Most of the two hours were a high-level review of things I already knew. We talked about ISO, aperture, shutter speed, composition and the Rule of Thirds, and how to find and manipulate all these things on our cameras. It was still good for me, because it got me into my manual and playing with the settings more on my camera.
Two things I got out of the first class were, first, that you should have a preferred "default" setting on your camera. That is, no matter what shooting conditions you're in on a day, you always return your camera to that default setting before you turn it off. That way, if you have to snatch your camera quickly to catch a moment, you should get at least something you can work with. I found this good advice, because just last weekend, we went for a hike by a lake, and I took a pic of some colorful canoes. A while down the path, I went to look at that pic, and noticed that I still had my ISO set at 1600 because I had been taking pics inside of the kids earlier that day. I blew by canoe pic to bits. The instructor recommends a default ISO of 400 and to keep it set at Program Auto.
The other thing I got out of the class was to turn off your multi-point auto focus (my Nikon has 11 points) and set it to single-point auto focus. Then, you have more control over where your focus falls. I'm going to try this tonight. I've been having focus issues, so maybe this will help.
Anyway, that's it from last night. I have to take 5 pics for homework and upload them to the class Flickr group before the next session. I'm so excited!