I was going through a real slump with my photography.. I couldn't get any contrast in my shots, and nothing exciting was happening my photostream. I remember when I first went to the digital imaging show, and sat behind these 2 people talking. They kept going on and on about how they never edit images in photoshop, and how using photoshop was considered 'cheating'.
After that, I kind of felt bad about editing photos in photoshop, so I would upload photos directly from the camera to flickr. I realized that only some of my shots were coming out nicely exposed. Specifically, the shots that I took at the auto show seemed to be exposed very nicely. I turns out that light is my biggest foe when it comes to shotting in non-studio areas.
The lighting at the autoshow was actually really nice. I could shoot in jpeg and have the images exposed really well. But when I'm outside doing some urban abstracts, I almost always have to shoot in RAW and edit it in photoshop.
I've been trying to figure out exactly how to edit in RAW. So I started doing some research on using Camera Raw in photoshop CS2. It was actually a lot easier than I thought. I recommend picking up a book on Camera Raw and using it for your initial photo enhancing.
However, I do want to get better at shooting in different light situations. I've been reading "Understand Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. The next chapter I have to read is the chapter on light. Hopefully once I get that done, I'll understand what light really is and how to use it to my advantage.