I have been shooting pictures with my newly acquired D40 for a few days and my observation is that Auto mode gives me nice and clear pictures but they don't always produce what I actually see. This is the reason why we shoot in the manual mode? So I made a right decision on a DSLR. Even in manual mode, different settings have different effect on the pictures. Getting the right setting to accurately capture the object or to produce one with desirable results are a big challenge. Today with digital we can shoot and shoot and choose the one we like best but back in the old days when film was expensive, photographer must really have good skills and judgement as he can't afford to keep shooting.
I wonder, if we just shoot, choose the best and later use photoshop to perfect the picture, will we learn and acquire the skills?