The way to truly improve as a photographer is to practice it all the time, not by doing it once in a while and I really do want to become as good a photographer as possible.
In the past I've often been guilty of thinking it was a waste of time trying to take photos as I was walking around where I live as there was nothing interesting to photograph. But when you actually make the effort to go out and start looking, it's amazing what you notice.
I just love the fact that photography causes you to notice and appreciate little things in life, little moments of beauty, which most people would just walk past and not give a moment's thought to.
I went out with my camera recently one evening just on the streets in the area where I live, and I began to notice all the strong, colourful lights contrasting in the night sky, casting long shadows onto the street below.
Had I just been out for a walk normally, without my camera, I may not have noticed such little pockets of beauty in every day things, but by having your camera with you, you start to look more and the more you look the more you notice and appreciate. Doing this on a regular basis, you will notice more and more, which of course will make you a better photographer.
You don't have to be photographing epic landscapes to consider composition, lighting, subject matter, these are things you should always be thinking about and the best way to improve on all these elements of photography is just to go out and look for them in every day things.
Taking photos like these might not win any awards but they will definitely make me a better photographer if I do it regularly and not only that it helps me to appreciate the simple things in life, which can turn an otherwise mundane walk into something magical.