That's What That Button Does?!
Without fail I will toss aside the manual for each new piece of tech I buy or completely ignore the pdf that downloaded with the latest software.
Because, obviously, I'm capable of figuring out what each individual button or intricate setting does on my own. And if I screw something up or can't figure out how to do a specific task in the first 5 minutes, the Internet is always right there waiting for me.
But you can't Google, "Explain how the setting that I don't even know exists works."
Thankfully there are people like Julisa Haines that have spent the time reading and learning all about cameras and are capable of teaching the sorry saps like myself who think they can improve in a vacuum. From metering to back-button focusing, she taught myself and the rest of the group more in her quick hour and a half long session than we had learned in the past year about our cameras because we threw pages of knowledge in a closet never to see the light of day again.
And while I could have learned about spot-metering two years ago if I had take an afternoon to read a manual,
the manual can't look me in the eyes,
the manual can't encourage me, and
the manual can't let me test out it's beautiful prime Canon lenses that I can't afford.
My default will always be to connect with an actual person with the knowledge I'm looking for, but, when the next piece of equipment lands at my door, you can bet I will be taking the time to flip through the manual.
Take a look at Julisa Haines's work here: http://www.julisahainesphotography.com/