I've been in the Smokies for about a week and have been taking lots of digital pictures (and video snippets) for use in my classes. I recently bought my wife a digital camera. It is much better than my own, but most of her pictures are not better than mine. The biggest reason for this is I know my camera and she is still learning hers. I've spent a lot of time with my camera and have deleted many of the pictures I've taken in the years I've owned it.
A former professor of mine used to say film is cheap compared to the cost of getting there, so take as many pictures as you can and take more than one picture of important things. With digital cameras the cost of film is non-existent. Take lots of pictures!!! The best way to learn your camera is to take pictures and document the conditions and the settings you used. Most people don't do this. Barring this you should take pictures in different ways and preview them on your LCD display to get an idea of how they came out, but know they may look a little different when you see them on a larger screen.
I was going to list some tips of my own, but I found better ones with a simple search: