I am an aspiring photography enthusiast. Aspiring because I really know next to nothing about photography. I do own a Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z3. I play with the shutter/aperture mode instead of using auto to shoot randomly. When I find the photographs too dark or too bright, I adjust the settings. Oh, I know the model names of some of the popular DSLRs around today. This is all I know about photography, and that's not an understatement. Most of the times I am still dissatisfied with the photos I take. And I really want to consistently take photographs I like seeing. Like those I see on this site.
I had been browsing through photography books in bookshops, and been lurking around numerous websites on photography. I also read the thread on "ClubSNAP's Photography 101 for Newbies, by David Wong" and the links in it (Thanks David) However, nothing seems to prepare me for the next step I had always wanted to take - to really learn more about photography instead of just bumping around and experimenting blindly. I did consider taking up courses, but my friend signed up for one with a point and shoot camera like mine, and didn't learn much from it (not that it didn't teach much); I asked him what it teaches, but no substantive reply. In any case, I really can't find time to attend courses.
I am thinking of purchasing a DSLR. It would be very financially taxing for me to get my dream camera (EOS 350D or Nikon D70). I would want to know how to maximise the use of this camera. However I can't seem to find books or sites that teaches me about stuff like what ETTL does, what Aperture and Shutter speed does, what ISO does, etc. I might see them mentioned in passing, but almost always, the books or sites assumes the reader knows what the terms are, when I have absolutely no background knowledge. Even the beginners' forum here seems to be talking about stuff akin to rocket science. My key hurdle is, whatever medium (net, magazines, books) it is, it seems the readers already have a lot of pre-requisite knowledge is essential. Where do I find this pre-requisite knowledge?
Am I simply a slow learner? Being in my (very) late twenties, am I too old to start? Should I take the next step to invest in a DSLR? Would I be better off randomly experimenting further with my "auto" cam? If I ever get the DSLR, which will blow my finances, where do I go, to learn more about it, and capitalise on its strenghts?
Thank you for your time in reading this. I had been lurking around here for long enough, and really want to be part of this community; where passion is in the (cyber) air, and knowledge is selflessly shared; yet I can only look in through the window of the classroom, with great envy, but not know what's being conversed...