Yesterday, as I often do I was thinking about my photography (this particular moment was some hours after reading an article on techniques) and how to improve it when I had an "aha" moment. For a number of years now I have understood and practiced the technical aspects of photography and that has led me to take very good, sometimes great, photographs. However there was something lacking. I knew if I set my camera to this and that setting I would achieve a certain result. However that was knowledge that it would happen. What I was lacking was the ability to "see" the photo before I took it. Place salt and pepper shakers 2 feet apart. Your human eyes can only see one at a time. You will see the other one in your peripheral vision however only one will be viewed sharply. As your eyes flick between the 2 shakers each will come into focus and the other out but you can't really see this. Now take a photograph with your camera settings showing one in focus and the other blurred. When you look at the photograph you will see both of them, one in focus one blurred. This is because the actual scene is in 3d where the photo is in 2d. You are not seeing the 2 objects, you only see one, the actual photo. What I was not doing was "seeing" the photo as the camera would "see" it, i.e. I was not visualizing the blurred pepper shaker and the sharp focused salt shaker. I saw salt and pepper shakers and just knew that if I set my camera a certain way it would achieve the scene I just described. There is a difference between knowing the result and seeing the result before you even press the shutter. Maybe only I will understand what I have just described but rest assured this is a big step in my abilities as a photographer. Nearly 20 years a go I took a mail order photography course and the very first lesson was about developing the eye. I now finally "get" what that lesson was trying to teach.