Recently I came across a suggestion on ideas for daily excercises to improve photography technique. Here are the main ideas from "art school's true exercises":
- Take n pictures of a single object, making sure that no two were the same (n was generally some large number like '100' or '250') - The exercise was designed to train yourself to begin to see the many ways it's possible to approach a subject...
- Find an object and take the exact same picture of it every hour for 24 hours (generally an inanimate object... ) - The goal was to see how even something that doesn't move changes quite radically depending on what is going on around it.
- Take 100 pictures of objects that have a common characteristic (they're all buildings, they're all less than 1 inch wide, they're all blue, etc.) - The goal was to learn how to find interesting pictures 'hiding inside' everyday objects.
- Take 100 pictures from a perspective you wouldn't normally think to take pictures from (lying down, under water, upside down, cropped to 1x6, etc.)
I think these four steps could be mapped to the similar process in learning and mastering the art of programming, ie learning your tool, understand the context, form your own opinion and open up to new ideas.