Don, I just realized something when I checked out this particular lens - the Minolta 50mm f1.7's aperture was not connected. This got disconnected after I cleaned it. After fixing it, it turns out the aperture will not close again if opened to the widest. It might need a new spring. This is such a shame because it is a very nice lens.

The problem was of course over-exposure. The only way to get around it is to not use it or to shoot full manual. So I laugh a bit at how one thing led to your exercises/tips. I thought I knew quite a lot but I still have quite a bit to learn about exposure.

Will try your exercises and will hopefully post some results.

Lovin' the alpha...