Well, trying to answer this question is long and tedious. It spans the learning of everything I have thought about over 25 years.
So where to start. What I like to look at is the black and white images of how they compose and how what they were looking for in lighting when they created the image. So I study the great paintings and have the privilege to be a consultant with the Smithsonian Here in my spare time I studied paintings, photography, japanese and chinese folding screen and many other inspirational artworks. Remember there are old ways of capturing images that can be dome today to create a unique look with our camera systems today.
For instance, stitching images should be thought about in the way of how a Banquet cameras took images. This I should and have been asked to do in a video.
But I have had the ability to show and exhibit my work with Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter and others. But I'm not looking to mimic them but to see what they see and improve upon it in a number of ways. Wether its lighting, use of composition, elegance of style in shooting ect.
And please don't take this as arrogance, I believe we are only as good as the way we see and pre-visualize. I spend a tremendous amount of time trying to envision what I hope to see and compose and then create and print. I have a method to my madness and Michael and others have witnessed it when being around me. I believe this is what allows me to shoot such elegant images and see lighting in a new way.
Color, I believe has been thought about wrong. My friend John Paul gets it right. Its not about the color its about the lighting the color just has to be there. But most people stop when when they see bright colors. Getting images to have dimension can be emphasized with color tones, lighting difference, focal length and unique lighting like fog, sheening light, illuminated light, reflected light and color ect. This is very hard to write about, but is very easy to show with my prints or slide shows. I wish everyone could see my new gallery and then they will see what I'm talking about.
Anyway I'm not a writer, but do have a nice lecture and its easier for everyone to see what I'm talking about. But in short, its like a puzzle picking every aspect of what you want in your final image and create it with the right Lighting, composition, depth of field, right angle to shoot the image, right focal length and the right relationship of your main subject matter to its surroundings of your highlights to your shadow area with detail. Hope this helps, maybe if you want you can talk by phone sometime. Tim