I’m not talking cars here, but control. Having total control over your camera—that’s power. To be “in the driver’s seat” means knowing the camera inside and out. Start with the manual, and then move beyond to a good book. In the case of the Nikon D90—my weapon of choice at the moment—there are (no kidding) eleven books available and I’ve read nine of them.
The latest is Darrell Young’s Mastering the Nikon D90 (Rocky Nook), a no-nonsense guide with plenty of crisp screen-shots.The author addresses issues not covered by Nikon and has consulted with Nikon technicians on specific areas not covered in the manual. For instance, overriding the camera’s exposure settings when using D-Movie mode. What I find particularly valuable here is that the author’s approach to the camera inspires experimentation. Experimentation is a short-cut for gaining true control over a D-SLR. Take your camera out to the edge and discover its hidden capacity. Break the rules, explore, push the freaking envelope and you’ll not only make the camera an extension of your eye, but expand your personal vision as a photographer.
In short, when you’re not out shooting, pick up a book.