One of my students recently brought my attention to some interesting research lately into the area of achieving exellence has come up with some interesting findings (thanks Tanyia!). We all know about the child prodigy's, the ones who can play the violin or piano from a very early age. We assume that they're born with this talent. The fact is that without regular practice a prodigy will never achieve excellence, day in, day out practice. So if you're born to greatness then a lack of investment in time and effort means you're unlikely to achieve the greatness you were born to.
But what about the rest of us? Those who weren't born to greatness? The same research is actually saying that it's the practice that counts. In fact it's 10,000 hours, or 10 years, of practice that's needed to achieve mastery in any field.
I've been shooting creative photography since 1984 and it wasn't until I was in Asissi in the summer of 2007 that I got what I considered a shot I was really happy with (see right). Is this my 10,000 hours? Maybe, but I had been tricking around my new Nikon D200 at the time and I thought it was the camera that made the difference, who knows!
Unfortunately mastery does not come about by staring at your camera while it sits on a shelf. You have to go out and take mundane shots, screw up the camera's settings and generally mess up before you start achieving a higher skill level. So get out and shoot.. now!