At some point in my life I realized that I was really into photography. I'm not sure how far back this goes, to be honest. I remember playing around with the first webcams around 2000-ish. I remember my first digital camera was a 2 MP Kodak EasyShare. But somehow in the course of my life I started getting into photography... I mean... seriously into photography.
So what does that mean, exactly?
The first rule of photography is that you always carry a camera. No exceptions, no excuses. I can think of hundreds of examples in my own life where I either had the camera and got the shot I wouldn't have otherwise, or where I didn't have the camera and ended up missing the shot. Always have a camera!
The second rule is that you must know your equipment. It doesn't matter if you shoot with an SLR, DSLR, point and shoot, etc. You have to have some idea what your equipment is capable (or not capable) of to be able to take pictures. Indoor photography is almost never a good idea. Using a camera zoom on maximum is almost never a good idea. Doing ultra close macro photography without a tripod is almost never a good idea.
The last rule of significance is that you have to interact with your audience. Your audience can be your peers, friends, customers, whatever, but ultimately you need to interact with these folks to make anything happen. The difference between a person who takes good shots and a photographer is that the photographer shares his pictures... posts them on walls, promotes his material and looks for opportunities to take more pictures.
For myself, photography has taken me to many areas and situations that I would have never seen otherwise. I remember standing on a beach in Vernon taking pictures of the sunset in a suit while the police ran across the beach after me. Photography, particularly digital photography, is a no cost, high return activity!
Lady Madonna by *pachocanadian on deviantART