The thought came to me earlier… “Pick your best picture.” Very hard to do. I have pictures that mean different things to me. They “best” approximate the image I was trying to capture. Once you know how to operate your camera, that’s really all there is to photography. You create a great picture when you most accurately capture what you saw.
That doesn’t always mean you took a sharp picture. Looking at a waterfall may make you feel serene, so you use a smaller aperture and slower shutter speed. The guy next to you sees a raging cataract. He widens his aperture, speeds up his shutter speeds. You both took great pictures… of the same thing.
Cameras really are the mind’s eye. It’s a unique device for capturing both a place and a mood. It’s analytical and creative at the same time. After I’ve been using my camera heavily for say a week, I’ll walk around guessing exposure values for a couple days. It’s as if I’ve adapted my vision to the camera viewfinder, similar to the way a person gets used to a new eyeglass prescription.
That’s why photography is so fun. Looking through that dim mirror both hides and reveals things about the world. Sometimes, I reveal something that only has meaning to me, sometimes other people share it. Either way, it’s a great picture, to someone.