Take the concept out of the AA mystique - don't use the P-V or V word. I look at a scene and decide what I want it to look like in the finished work. I try to accomplish that by all of the decisions that follow - lens selection, filters, exposure...... It is nothing more than setting a visual/emotive goal and striving to achieve it.

Without that goal, I am along for the ride - merely a passenger who experiences lucky images. While I am happy to have these "lucky" successes, I am frustrated at the uncertainty as to how to experience them more often.

With a goal, I experience failure and success. That stimulates the learning process and lessens the chaos of "luck". Someone said "luck favors the prepared."

If I don't stop to think "I want the sky a deep black" - I won't even think about using a #29 red filter. If I don't define the target, I won't even take a mental inventory of the tools available to me to achieve it. More importantly, I won't have the language to express the miss - let alone quantifying and qualifying the miss. This began, and remains, a conscious discipline. Overtime, I hope it will become an unconscious skill.

Obviously, this approach is heavily biased toward the shooter who has time (and the desire) to ponder all of these things. Dogma - no. Useful - yes (to me!)