The classic photographer’s saying ” F/8 and be there” resonates with me. The saying is an acknowledgment of thhe e all importance of being present, on location in order to get the shot. So, when in doubt, forget all the fancy camera settings and technicalities, dial in a versatile exposure (f/8 gives a decent blend of depth and speed), and get to where the action is. Be present in tmoment, rather than fiddling with your gear.
When friends ask me about “which camera is the best”, “am i doing it right”, “teach me how to be a photographer”, I always tell them – there is not “best” camera, no “right” way, and you already are a photographer. The thing you have to realize with photography, or with anything really, is that it doesn’t matter what gear you have – what really matters is that you’re out there, in the moment, getting the shot. If what you have on you is a shitty cell phone camera, but you get the shot, you still got the shot, and the circumstances of getting that shot can only add to the reality of it. If I’m sitting at home watching tv with my SLR in my hands, I didn’t get the shot, no matter how “nice” my camera is.
So, I think that no matter what camera you have, or where you are, it’s important to realize that amazing photos can happen anywhere, anytime. When in doubt, dial in a comfortable camera setting, and just start shooting.
To that effect – I have one of the “custom” mode selectors on my SLR to be my “f/8 and be there” or “war” setting – dial in a medium F, boost up the ISO a bit, turn on auto focus, drive mode, no flash, large JPEG and evaluative metering, and let it fly. No more worrying about the camera, just be in the moment.