Quote Originally Posted by FrankB
Stage 1: Shiny kit syndrome - the search for the latest camera with the most bells and whistles, buttons and functions, the sharpest lenses and the largest format.
Stage 2: The search for the perfect technique - The perfect metering methodology, the ultimate development process, the surgically-precise dodge-and-burn, the last work in toning.
Stage 3: The artistic stage - where the photographer attempts to convey an emotional response or message to the viewer.
Stage 4: Fun and Games - trying out everything you can lay your hands on (papers, developers, toners et cetera) with the sole purpose of having fun trying new things. Must not be confused with "magic bullet chase", which comes under 1) and 2).

This is must fun when you accidentally produce a great print. It is least fun when you realise you have no idea how you did it. But it's very rewarding when you find out (unless you find out on the last sheet of a discontinued paper).