...but then again is it an accident when I must have seen something worth pressing the shutter release for (subconsciously perhaps) to shoot the image, I don't really know.
Dave, This gets back to something I've said before in various ways on LuLa: It seems to me that the best way to shoot meaningless pictures is to engage your brain in the process. When I look at the work of HCB, Elliott Erwitt, Robert Frank (especially), and others like them, what always jumps out at me is the fact that their best pictures are snapshots -- shots made in response to something in front of them that they couldn't possibly have examined in detail in the time they had available to make the shot. This fact is emphasized if you look at the "expanded" version of Frank's book Looking In,
which includes the contact sheet for each of the pictures in The Americans.
It's fascinating and it gives you a great deal of information about how he worked.
But the picture I keep coming back to when I think about this is Cartier-Bresson's "Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare, 1932." There was no way he could possibly have thought about that shot before he made it. The guy's jumped off the end of the ladder, is in mid-air, and is about to end up in the water. The splay of his legs is repeated in the splay of the dancers' legs in the advertisement on the wall behind him. It's simply too much detail to recognize consciously before you trip the shutter. But it's not too much detail for your subconscious to recognize. That it's a snapshot is made clearer by the fact that it's one of two pictures in his repertoire that's cropped. There was a fence on the left. He hadn't time to move to the right, so he shot, and cropped.
In the end it seems, most of the good stuff we get with a camera involves, if not pure luck, at least a lot of luck. But maybe a lot of that luck comes from being willing to fall back on your unconscious and just shoot when it feels right. I think so.