So far, I am enjoying my new Speedlight (Nikon SB-700), but any good results I have gotten have been mostly luck. I'd really like to understand how to use it so that I can make intentional technical decisions (as opposed to relying entirely on accidents and tweaking).
Assuming that I have a decent understanding of ISO / Aperture / Shutter in non-flash photography, what would you recommend as a very first, hands-on step to systematically explore how to use my setup in flash photography?
I am perfectly willing to take 200 consecutive photos of the same object if you think it is instructive to do so.
(As part of the answer, I'm also looking for settings: TTL vs Manual vs Distance Priority? Manual exposure mode vs Aperture- / Shutter-priority? Center-weighted vs spot metering vs matrix? Slow/rear/no curtain sync?)