Thanks so much Sarah and corpsy. Sarah, your overview of some points to consider in choosing and getting started with a new dSLR were excellent and helpful. I liked your ideas aboutthe best way to aquirea desired skill set. I can see how narrowing your focus in this regard can prevent a person from getting overwhelmed with info. Everyone's sample photos have been great in demonstrating the effect of various techniques. Corspy, I will definitely check out the Picasa program. I enjoy the post processing aspect and am currently experimenting withthe PSP Photo XI software but I won't always havethe timesoPicasa sounds like another good tool for me.
The dSLR is going to be my birthday gift from hubby(he said I can get anything I want - a dangerous statement, don't you think:G?. All he asks is that when he brings home his new "toy" to park in the garage, Ibe equally understanding!) Our second child is due right after my birthday in early March so sleep may trump post processing for a little while :-). Having the option to do a little post processing for some of my pics and delve deeper for others sounds good to me.
I am still leaning toward the d40 but have not made a definite decision. I have so much to learn I think any of these cameras could keep me busy for a long time. I haven't hada photography course in over 10 years (and it wasn't digital, although many concepts apply) and I need a refresher of the basics. Can anyone refer me to a good website or book that might help?
Thanks again, Erin