I made the decision before we bought our new DSLR camera that if I was going to drop that much money on a camera, I was darn well going to learn something about how to use it. I've been reading a lot over the past week about the technicals of manual settings and composition techniques. I know I won't ever be a "real" photographer, and I don't want to be, but I like photography, find other people's work interesting, and want to get the most out of the equipment I have.
I think it's fairly obvious that I'm not going to be in a position to take a formal class any time soon, so I've been going through a couple of online tutorials and doing the assignments to play with settings and composition techniques. I'm going to upload some of the better pictures to a set on my Flickr. I haven't even contemplated post-processing at this point, they are all raw pics sampling different specific techniques. Not even cropped. I'll work on that later, when I don't feel much like hauling a tiny Tot all around town.
The original files are too big to post a lot of them here, but here are a couple I particularly liked (resized to a reasonable file size!):
This one was part of an assignment dealing with aperature and utilizing points of lights to make those fuzzy circles of light as part of an overall blurred background. My old camera wouldn't do that. The full sized version shows the detail much better.
I was actually working on an assignment involving shutter speed and capturing motion in a fountain when I switched targets to this flag blowing in the wind. It wasn't really a better subject for shutter speed, but it did fit and also covered another assingment involving flow of motion and composing with lines (in this case an S-line). I also thought the colors turned out particularly vibrant on these if you look at the originals. This is one of those I really wish I'd shot with my old camera as well, just to compare.