See the light.
Shooting the light can be tricky, but remember that it is the light you are trying to capture and not the landscape or subject. If you are shooting a misty golden morning and the trees can not be seen very well it does not matter. Just make sure you capture the golden misty glow. Also when shooting light you should under expose your shots by 1 or 2 stops, most of the time.
Try different exposure settings like f3.5 and then again at f5.6 and f8 and so on. Then later study the image and see which was the best setting. Always take lots of shots.
Get a close up shot. Difuse the sun.
Photo Exif Data - f4. 1/400. ISO-160.
Study The Scene Carefully.
Study your scene carefully, stand on a rock to get some height and then also lie down to see it at a lower angle. Be imaginative, get creative, but remember the rules.
Foreground. Middle ground, Background. This is a solid rule not to be broken.
The rule of thirds is also important but it is a sometimes rule and can be broken but only sometimes. If you are shooting into the misty distance a close up flower or grass in the foreground can have great impact.
Hide the sun if you can behind a branch or rock like in my pictures above and below this helps to
diffuse the light.
Shoot from a low angle. Hide the sun.
Photo Exif Data - f10. 1/320. ISO-1600.
See the shadows.
A lot of people will see a water lily, some people will even see the leaf, not very many will see the dragonfly and very, very, very few will ever see the shadow. But I do and you will also if you open your eyes and really see what is in front of you.
Shooting in the golden hours of dawn and sunset will improve your photos 100%. The lower the sun is in the sky the longer and deeper the shadows are. Shadows add depth and contrast to your photographs. The golden hour light is softer and warmer.
Get on the same level. Look for the shadows.
Photo Exif Data - f6.3. 1/1250. ISO-200.
How to Read the Exif Data.
I am not going to go into the details of exposure etc. Just give you an idea of what is happening in the photo as described in the exif data. First every photographer knows that shooting at ISO-100 gives the clearest noise free image. So if, as I did in the second picture a photographer selects ISO-1600 then the only reason to do that is to get a faster shutter speed or a greater depth of field.
In the first photo the grass with the light on it was moving a lot due to it being windy so I needed the 1/320th second to freeze it. And the f10 allowed me to get some sense of the background.
Catch the light and the action.
Be quiet, be patient.
Photo Exif Data - f13. 1/320. ISO-320.
When shooting things that can fly off or move away take a fast shot first, then be patient and wait. Use the time to look around and see if you can get a better angle. Look where the light is. Check your camera setting, is the focus spot on. As in the photo of the White Egret my patience was rewarded as it started to prune its wing.
If you are into photography in a serious way you will have Adobe Photoshop or maybe Adobe Elements or maybe another similar program. I use Adobe Photoshop and it helps a lot to be able to correct and enhance the light as I always shoot in RAW format. This gives me the most photographic details in the image and more is always better, right.