In this forum you can get very detailed opinions from many experienced members. I am still in the beginning stage of Digital photography and my kind of taking pictures...
I use A mode most of the tme when I am stooting. I control my ISO and WB. I don't balance the exposure and I prefer to get the sky little darker. I never bothered to check if the exposure level is in the middle or not. I choose to have it minus or plus. Using a Circular polarizer gives me better color for the 'blue' sky. When I want to cheat I use blue graduate filter to get the color I want as CP can't help if I am not in the right angle to the sun. Adjusting the image optimization in the menu, gives me warmer or cooler fotos. (81A warm filter isn't bad for me either). For fast moving objects I use Shutter priority. I am using an old bounce flash(bought for $5) so, Manual mode is necessary when I need to use flash indoors. I like the tone and color I get from the 'Child' mode in my D50 so, I use it when my 4year old son becomes my model. In the beginning I didn't bother about metering and now a days I do care about it. If I want the woods to be seen properly, I use centerweighted or spot metering. When I am free I take photos in different settings and check them for the details. Getting the right colors I take as a challenge(I still can't get the grass real green most of the times) and I carry my cam whenever we go for outing.