I had my camera set to manual mode at 1/40 sec and F 5.6. The little thingey on the bottom of my viewfinder that looks a little bit like a ruler with a "0" in the middle and "+" and "-" on the outsides had many hash marks in the positive side. That little thingey's name is the exposure indicator. I know because I looked it up in my user's manual. Had I taken a picture (through my kitchen window glass, mind you) at those settings it would have been blown out, and only capturing the very darkest portions of my picture. So what do you do when faced with too many hash marks to the positive? Slow down the speed and decrease the opening that allows light into your camera.
With the F-stop changed down to 1/36 I also had to speed up the shutter speed. (It needs to open and close very quickly to prevent too much light into the exposure) I halved the speed to 1/80, not because I'm a genius but because that's when the "thingey" balanced. All the hash marks lined up over the zero and thus I took this picture in manual mode.
Make a resolution to take a "manual" picture every time you have your camera out.