It's refreshing to find someone who relishes their photography in its purist form...(i.e., full-manual).
That's especially rare in today's world.
When I started getting serious back in the early 80's, the auto-program boom was in its infancy and I was able to get my first manual SLR for next to nothing from someone who wanted to upgrade to the new technology.
That first "real" camera was my learning tool and I still use it to this very day.
I see photography as more than just capturing a moment in time. It's a compilation of challenges. understanding light, problem solving, and learning to master the tools at your disposal to get that image out of your head and onto that little piece of film or sensor in such a way that the viewer can share in the experience.
Sure, you can push a few buttons to expedite the process...but where's the fun in that?