Four Photos, Different Settings

One of my goals for this year is to work through a couple of photography books, continuing to educate myself on how to be a better photographer. Right now, I am reading through 'Understanding Exposure' by Bryan Peterson. The first section of the book covers 'Defining Exposure'. Since my freesia bulbs have started blooming, I took my camera out to the backyard and took these four photos:

 ISO 100, 50mm, f/11, 1/100 sec

ISO 100, 50mm, f/11, 1/100 sec

 ISO 100, 50mm, f/5.6, 1/400 sec

ISO 100, 50mm, f/5.6, 1/400 sec

 ISO 100, 50mm, f/4, 1/800 sec

ISO 100, 50mm, f/4, 1/800 sec

 ISO 100, 50mm, f/2, 1/3200 sec

ISO 100, 50mm, f/2, 1/3200 sec

I had my camera (Nikon D3100) set to manual mode so I could control the aperture and the shutter speed. You can see a big difference between the first photo and the last photo. 

In the first photo, you can see more details in the whole photo (including the weeds that are now growing with all of the rain that we have had!)

In the last photo, the center flowers are in focus and the surrounding area is blurred. This last photo would be a great one to add a Bible verse to along the top (hmm, just might have to do that!)

Do you typically shoot in manual mode? Which photo is visually appealing to you?