Spent some of yesterday morning shooting at the Capital of Texas Triathlon, in downtown Austin. I've been shooting this race off and on now for 8 years. For the last 5 years, I've used exactly the same equipment. It was interesting to see that I was starting to make some decent pictures, this time around. The first few years I was just happy to get a sharp picture. Then the next year, I was starting to get cleaner compositions, less stuff in the frame that I didn't want there, more sharp frames. This time around I seem to have learned enough to start paying more attention to the light and getting shots that actually start looking like what I wanted to achieve. Part of that is getting much more comfortable with the camera controls. Being able to react and change settings quickly and correctly, with only a few seconds to spare, really helped make the pictures I saw the potential for. I was also doing a better job of getting more interesting angles, shooting down from above, getting low, trying to do something more than just shots from eye level.
Perhaps most effective was looking for interesting light and then exploiting it - finding places where the light was coming between buildings or bouncing around from glass and making shots that worked in those locations. All of this with the same gear I've been lugging around for half a decade. I imagine if I'd been switching cameras more often, or changing lenses, I'd have less familiarity with how they all work, I'd have to look at the controls and think more - be able to react less automatically. When things are changing quickly, that muscle memory really helps get the picture.