I've been ruthlessly culling my older images, and I am shocked at how bad many of them are compared to where I am today. I know... I KNOW... that at this time next year, I will be saying the EXACT same thing... "man, in the summer of 2008, I really STUNK"... A large percentage shots I was taking back then were not sharp (where they were supposed to be), well composed or well lighted. There were the occasional good ones, but by and large I have come a long way in the last year. I still have a LONG way to go though... a LONG way... to get to a level where I think I need to be. I need to work on my lighting, my depth of field, my composition and my colors. I need to work on my post processing skills and exploring my creative artistic side more. I can tell one thing though... and it is rather shocking. I began producing much better photographs the day my D300 arrived. The difference between the D300 and the D80 in overall image quality is startling... it is an order of magnitude improvement. Normally, I would say that "equipment just doesn't matter" but then I look at what I was doing in the two weeks before it came and the two weeks after, and the results are indisputable. It is the only bit of kit that I have that I can say this with (although my super-cheapo 55-200 VR's images really stand out too... overall, they are better than those with the 70-200 VR which costs 8 times as much... that's a hard fact to deal with since I saved for a year to buy the 70-200 and I picked up the 55-200 on a lark, but it is what it is). I still really struggle with some things that I need to get fixed. I know about them, I just need to work past them... the problems are right between my ears. I am hoping that with enough work and practice that the proverbial light bulb will go off over my head and I can take some steps forward in what I am doing. I would bet we all could look back over our work and see when and where we "got" something, and a flood of improved images started coming through.