I spent one Saturday morning at Usery Mountain Regional Park, attending a desert photography workshop conducted by Julee Meltzer. Each of the half-dozen or so participants was given a specific subject, assigned to him or her by drawing a card. Mine was landscapes. We then hiked off down a trail, pausing in several places so each of us could take one picture -- and one picture only -- at each stop, based on our particular assignments.
This was time and money well spent for me, and I learned some new tricks, including a few that common sense should already have taught me. Later in the day, as I uploaded the images on my computer, I was struck by the sharp detail I had captured, simply by using a tripod, small apertures, and slow shutter speeds -- and by removing my UV lens filter and placing the circular polarizer directly on the lens itself, instead of on the UV filter, as I had always done before. (My remark about common sense was based on this particular tip.)