Happy new year Lee & welcome on board.
Gordon's tutorials are great & I know what you mean about reading the camera manuals, they give you the info, but you still need plenty of practice to understand the settings/features.
Don;t be shy about asking for tips on here, the more experienced posters are very helpful.
Looking forward to your participation & seeing some of your pics.
btw,He who dies with the most toys, WINS!Nikon D800E & D700 bodies + Nikon 200-400mm F4 VR1, 50mm F1.4G, 16-35mm f/4G VR, 105 F2.8 VR macro, 70-300mm lenses. A couple of filters, Giotto tripod & ballhead. Lowepro Slingshot 302 AW