there is a balance between art (composition, etc) and the technical (exposure, etc). as one progresses the other must eventually catch up or your work will stagnate. i was fortunate to once have dated an architect. she beat composition into me. from the golden mean, to converging verticals, to spatial juxtaposition; she had a field day with me. and i thank her for it. i've asked and observed what other photographers read/have read. i have close to two dozen books on the subject and refer to them often. i started with a konica tc camera with an in camera, general meter. i had to compensate my exposures based on 'gut'. that taught me a lot so that when i bought my f100, i was so tickled that i shot film until my viewfinder eye clouded over. shooting a lot helps. shooting a lot using every bit of knowledge that you have up to that point helps much more.