One thing you have to decide though, Rod:
Once you have mastered the "automatic" part of your new gear (which should be quite easy), you have to do a little soul searching to find out whether you need more input on the technical side of your camera or on the "art" side of finding or composing a good picture.
Also keep in mind that you can manipulate a decently exposed picture in a lot of ways afterwards with an appropriate software like Adobe photoshop or Nikons CaptureNX. Although mastering Photoshop is not a small feat in itself (I just tried once). But software like CaptureNX can do a lot of really astonishing tricks easily and you can even use it for the jpeg standard files that you shoot with your Rebel.
My personal suggestion would be to:
1. Master the automatic mode of your camera. This should already give you very nice photos and should be more than enough for a newbie.
2. Concentrate on literature (or websites) that train your eye on how to find interesting perspectives and fascinating shots and how to avoid shooting in difficult lighting conditions (e. g. the sun shining into your lens etc.)
3. If you've achieved a certain degree of mastery in (2) than you can proceed to the world of post processing on your PC. Which lets you put the finishing touches to your pics: cropping, adjusting contrast and brightness, correcting the white balance that you forgot to adjust on your camera, etc.
Many people forget, that (2) is much more important to making a good picture, than your gear - especially on a tech website
Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews
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