If Mark's blog got you in the mood for some training -- good. Instead of spending money on expensive gear, a more efficient use of your money just might be some additional practice and education. KelbyTraining is a good place for some in-depth stuff. I highly recommend the free trial. How about some other free places to go? We regularly mention individual sites to visit, but it's been a couple of years since we dedicated a blog to a list of sites. Here is a list with some variety but hardly exhaustive. It will give you a good start. All of these are free to visit and can help you get through a rainy weekend. See which ones you like and send us your list, but make sure you come back here.
Matt Kloskowski's Lightroom Killer Tips is a good place to start for tips, before/afters, and pre-sets for one of our favorite programs. Michael Rather covers lots of topics over at The Digital Photography Connection. He has a paid service, too, but there are plenty of free lessons for you. Another site with a large variety of topics is Weekly Photography Tips. One last one in this category with lots of good stuff: Digital Photography School.
A Little More Advanced
For great photography tips and business advice, especially about wedding photography, I read David Ziser's Digital Pro Talk. Want to work with off-camera lighting? You can't go wrong if you surf over to the Strobist website. Are you a fan of HDR and travel? Give Trey Ratcliff's site, Stuck In Customs, a view. TipSquirrel is a group effort, with "Photoshop Nuts" contributing a large menu of tutorials, just waiting to kill your free time in Photoshop.
Photography Discussion and News
For discussions about living the photographic life from a world traveler, go visit David duChemin at PixelatedImage blog. I also enjoy listening to podcasts on my way to work, and the next three websites have associated podcasts for your enjoyment. Want strong opinions and no-nonsense advice? Head over to Scott Bourne's Photofocus site. Every week, a rotating group of guest hosts join Frederick Van Johnson on This Week in Photo, to talk photography news, rumors, and tips. Their style is very relaxed and draws you in. If you like photographer interviews, my favorite is Ibarionex Perello at The Candid Frame. Ibarionex asks great questions and gets more than just perfunctory responses from his guests.
Sometimes you just want to go peruse photos for fun and inspiration. The newest entry here is 500px.com. This is a popular site and guarantees high quality browsing sessions. I also like to visit photo.net, PBase.com, and fredmiranda. Each of these sites has a different flavor, but there are lots of photos for you view.
Just Plain Fun
For good stories and outstanding photos, I have to re-mention Joe McNally's blog. I've had the pleasure of shooting with Joe, during one of his Photoshop World adventures and sat through several of his seminars. The man is as funny as he is talented. I recently started listening to another podcast, run by two hosers from Vancouver who jabber about photography and, occasionally, have a tip for you. The Two Hosers Photo Show is a great place for a beginner to pick up some good photo advice between chuckles. I look forward to their weekly episodes.
There are so many more places out there for you to find good information. You could spend so much time on the web, you'd never get out and push the shutter on your camera, but don't do that. Get out there and put some of that learning into action. As we always say, you have to explore lots of different photography genres, inspirations, and techniques to keep growing.