This infographic/cheat sheet from Zippi might be helpful for those looking to get out of auto mode and gaining more control over their cameras. While section 1 is much more for those shooting with film the rest is relevant for digital photography.
The use of negative space in this photo further illustrates the abandoned/loneliness of this town. The slightly washed out colors also help the look. If this had very saturated colors it wouldn't look as uninviting.