I am so glad to be an amateur photographer. I read posts that explain how real professional photographers only shoot in manual mode.
Be that as it may, I almost never shoot manual. I leave the camera on "A" setting and switch the autofocus to "on". Woo-pee!! I have fun playing around with the wildlife and wandering around shooting my scenery, while not having to think of all of those things the pros seem to worry about.
Are there more skilled photographers than me floating around out there ? Yes there are. Are there photographers less skilled than me? I guess I could say yes to that as well. But,I figure if I spend a couple of thousand dollars on a camera with many features including a lightmeter, I should take advantage of some of them. Otherwise I just might as well shoot with just a manual camera....if I could find one of those these days.
But there are times when I have to revert to using the camera on manual. In the following images I had to, "with weepy eyes", turn off the autofocus and use manual for the type of habitat the subjects chose to wander in.
When shooting through very thick vegetation: cattail mashes, grasslands, thick scrub, etc., I find the autofocus going wild to deliver to me every possible combination of focused subject matter between me and the intended subject. Hence the off switch for autofocus comes in handy.
In these situations, I will try to use the widest open aperture as well. This will accentuate the specific subject focused on and leave the OOF "out of focus" stuff to enhance the depth of the photo. I will often leave OOF objects in the scene. Sometimes it makes the scene busy, even too busy, but much of the time it works out just fine.
So for those Pros out there, keep shooting all your photos in manual, and I will be doing my amateur thing, while I will be with you every once in a while as well.