| | Re: Does anyone use actions from Paint the Moon?
I don't know if either of you use Lightroom for editing, but there are presets, which work like lightroom. Pretty presets has some great ones and I use hers. She has them for both jpeg and RAW. Lightroom is really great for editing, and it makes things so much quicker. LR3 has so many new features that you really need to use photoshop for fine tuning. I haven't played much with photoshop but I know my pro photog friends who started using LR3 have said they have really been able to cut down their editing time and the amount of time that they have had to spend in photoshop.
As for photoshop actions, I have heard great things about MCP actions as well. I think Florabella also has actions and textures to look into.
I shoot in manual, but I also do a lot of manual focus. When I shot with my old camera, my 50mm didn't autofocus so I was forced to become really good at it. Now it's jsut habit so it works well since I can pick up older manual lenses for cheap and use them on D300s. I am looking for a nice older macro lens and since I don't use the autofocus with the macro since it kills my battery trying to focus, I'm just getting an older all manual (aperture, focus, etc) one. If you are going all manual route, jsut keep practicing. It's a struggle in the beginning, but eventually it will be a piece of cake. One thing you can try is to use your autofocus to get you close to a focus you like and then swtich into auto focus to fine tune to get the details you really like. I do that sometimes, especially when I am trying to selective focus.