If you want to get beyond what a favourite artist does you have to go through it. You can't hop over. You will either recreate all their steps without seeing their work or you will see their work and go through it faster.
Everyone in this book. This is my 'bible' of contemporary landscape
Between Home and Heaven: Contemporary American Landscape Photography [Paperback]
Merry Foresta (Author), Stephen Jay Gould (Author), Karal Ann Marling (Author)
Thanks everyone there's some great photographers come up here, some known most unknown. Great :)
Michael Kenna, Christopher Burkett, Edward Burtynsky, Clyde Butcher and myself of course to name a few.
TOTALLY AGREE. After being involved with photography and education for close to 30 years now, the best advice I have to give is this. If you're interested in someone's work, COPY IT. Try to make some of the same photographs. Chances are - you'll find you'll be leaving your own fingerprint on the work - in doing this, you are exploring aspects of what you find interesting about it. Once you start actually THINKING about it and exploring the options - you'll find you'll end up at a place that's very different from where you started - and probably a lot more satisfying to your own interests. But you have to put in some brain time to get there. You can't get there without that investment - or commitment.
There are a lot of good books out there - compendia on contemporary photography. Go to the library. Go to book stores. Spend some time with your head in the pages. Don't limit yourself to artificial categories like 'landscape' either - it may well be that what you find interesting about that category can be had in another form... second guess yourself. That's what it's all about. Good luck!