I'm a self-taught landscape photographer from Germany. I live in a small town near Nürnberg where I work as software engineer in my full-time job. I started with photography in late 2008 and learned a lot through the internet. There are various excellent blogs out there, which gave me a good start. I especially liked The Radiant Vista, which is now www.tmelive.com, or the www.photography.ca blog.
Currently my landscape photography takes place in my freetime, mostly on the weekends. It's a nice balance to my day job to be out in nature, hiking and taking photographs. Unfortunately, taking all those photos brings me right back in front of the PC to process them ;-)
Ok, that's not so unfortunate since I happen to like this post processing work. For me it's a very creative process, and it helps me to achieve my style.
The process of planning and taking the photos is closely connected to processing them. To get a good result in post, I already have to know what result I'm after when I'm on location. I have to know how I will process a photo before I take it. It's all closely related, and it took me some time to acquire enough experience to know what is needed.
In situations with dramatic light, it can mean that I take 50 pictures of the same scene with my camera mounted on a tripod until I finally have harvested all the light I need for the final picture. I won't use all those photos in post processing, but a selection of six to ten photos is no rarity.
Since I started with landscape photography, I think I acquired a new awareness for the beauty of nature. It's so exciting to see all those beautiful places, those colorful sunrises and sunsets, the milky way at night or a rainbow when the sky breaks up after heavy rain. Being able to capture all this in a photograph is just awesome.
It's also funny that it's gotten so easy to get up at 3 or 4am in the morning, when the reason is to photograph a sunrise. Those are the times when I have nature for myself. Seldom do I encounter other people, and even most animals are still asleep.
When you love what you do and you are passionate about your photography all it needs is practice combined with some help from the internet.
So go out and shoot. At home, have a close look at the results and think about what you could improve. Go to blogs like www.tmelive.com or www.photography.ca and ask others what they think. There you'll get valuable feedback. Also, look at the photos of other photographers. Find out what you like and what you don't like about them.
It's also very important to master the technique so it won't get in the way when you are hunting that spectacular light. The more you shoot, the more the handling of your camera will become second nature. With time you won't have to think about camera settings, and you'll just know what is needed in which situation. Although it might sound boring: Read your camera's manual!
And when it comes to post processing it's the same. Trial and error—with time you'll get better, and there are many tutorials out there, which will help you improve faster. What is important is that you don't let those tutorials define your style. Also don't let any software define it. The tutorials just show you what's in the toolbox and how it could be used and software is nothing more than a toolbox. You have to find out which of those tools you need to achieve the result you're after. This takes practice.