I’m a photographer by avocation. I began my formal training at the University of Colorado under Gary Metz and Charlie Roitz. Film, baby, film.
Fast forward through years (okay, a lot of years) to the arrival of digital photography, specifically digital SLRs, at a price point accessible to normal people. As an engineer, mastering the mechanics, the technology, of digital photography was relatively easy. But understanding exactly how a paintbrush works doesn’t mean you can paint. More years, and tens of thousands of digital photographs later, I feel like I’m beginning to get it.
About once a year, I try to sneak off and take an on-location shoot-and-critique class with someplace like the Rocky Mountain School of Photography. Basically 5 days of rising before sunrise, shooting all morning, critiquing each others' work all afternoon, shooting all evening, madly editing/curating the next day's show until the wee hours, then a few hours of sleep. Repeat.
These days, I’ve swapped out all of my larger SLR gear for micro-four-thirds gear. Cool functionality, great lenses, but no mirrors or prisms and much, much smaller and lighter.