Everyone’s heard of Henri Cartier-Bresson right? He said that for him technology had changed but photography remained the same. When the French photographer and painter wrote those words in 1952 he summed up that photography is a mix of technology and visual design skills.
When technology changes ie. cameras, film, digital, lenses etc, and photography remains the same. So what is photography? It would therefore be logical to conclude that cameras have nothing to do with photography. A camera is only a device to record the idea.
The role of the photographer is to decide what is significant and how to record the idea with a camera for the viewer to appreciate or understand something better or differently.
For me photography is about the choices we make as photographers before the shutter release is pressed such as what is significant, what attracts us to the potential picture, knowing where to stand and when to press the button, considering the lighting and composition, depth of field required, exposure to give the expression we seek.
Don’t let the camera defraud you of the decisions that you should be making – exposure, focus point, depth of field etc. The more advanced cameras are, the less competent and engaged in the picture taking process the operator may be. I am not say that manual control of everything is the only way but it is a very good way to learn photography, to ubnderstand the what and why. Cameras do not know you, what you think and how you feel about a subject.