John, I detect a hint of disappointment in your post.
But I say to you don't be disappointed.
Most of what I articulated was encouragement.
By way of clarification, if you do not already own some of LuLa's video tutorials (Lr3 and CPS are my two favourites) do yourself a favour and get them.
In the context of what we are discussing, while the technical information in those videos is very valuable, seeing what the two worthies, Jeff and Michael, have secreted away in their harddrives is most illuminating. While many images are brilliant so so many of the images that I saw displayed in library module are just the sort of near misses that you gave us the privilege to view.
These two gentlemen are world-renowned photographers yet they suffer from the same malady that you refer to - it takes a lot of shooting to produce a real keeper.
I am no one in particular, but, in six years of shooting I only have about 30 images or so that I consider portfolio grade quality from about 15 000 image captures. Not fantastic percentages.
Ansel Adams apparently used to say that 12 significant images in a year was a lot - this from a man who was arguably the greatest landscape photographer of all time.
You refer to yourself as not artistically inclined - if I may be candid, that is a lot of crap. It may be true that your artistic intent is not represented by many or any others but that is of no consequence. Pursue your interests and perfect your craft. Things will grow and progress. Enjoy the journey. One small suggestion - whenever shooting work your subject - shoot lots of different compositions with different intents.
As a small aside, my inside track into the possibility that I might really be able to use a camera to express myself creatively came quite by mistake.
I, and my other half, were in Africa on safari. On a game drive one day in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve we were confronted by a bull elephant. Playing it safe the driver of the Landcruiser put the vehicle in reverse to keep a certain distance between this bull elephant and our vehicle. So, there we were bouncing in reverse down a steep hill with this elephant continuing to plod after us down the hill. I was trying to shoot events with a 500 mm lens. Much later, when I got to review the images that I had shot over a ten week odyssey in Africa nearly all the images I had shot were standard record shots of very interesting African wildlife and landscapes. Some were OK, most were average. One image that really stood out was shot from that moving Landcruiser. All the images except one were hopelessly blurred, no surprise there. The one sharp image had captured just a part of the elephants right eyeand eyelashes, cheek, ear, and trunk with some intriguing side-lighting. As I stared at this astounding abstract portrait of this bull elephant, fully comprehending that the capture itself was a complete and utter fluke, the idea was planted in my brain that I might be able to achieve similar results with intent rather than by chance.
And so began my photographic journey. I wish I could report that everything I shot turned to metaphorical gold but that has not been the case. I found I needed to learn an astounding amount about cameras and optics to allow me express myself creatively. Even then my attention to detail was often found wanting so good compositions were torpedoed because of depth of field and critical focusing bloopers. Good lighting is also ephemeral - weeks might go by before the light would be cooperating especially considering that one can't spend all one's time in the field.
Slowly over time I began to see progress, interspersed with long periods of complete creative drought.
Buying an excellent printer has really allowed me to critically appraise my work both technically and aesthetically. The result has been a slow but definate improvement in my image-making.
Like you, I am on a journey to try and express myself through a camera and a lens. Like you, this journey has been a slow and meandering one. Like you, I suspect, I have learn't the most from my mistakes rather than my successes. Again, like you I suspect, I have been frustrated by my lack of progress and apparent inability.
Yet, I do have images that I conceived before I shot them, that rival any that I have ever seen in any gallery at any time (who would have thought) - just not that many yet.
This weekend I will be out and about with my camera, perchance I may have an opportunity to capture a significant image. Even if I don't I will enjoy myself and I will take the opportunity to fine tune some or other technique so that when it is mission critical I will actually get the shot.
John, stick to your guns.
I fully expect to see images that you have shot in the future, on this forum or elsewhere, that move and delight me.