...And mathematical equations about focal length, exposure, crop factor, ISO, aperture, DX, FX, depth of field, hyperfocal distance, grain and so on...
In the end, I think it's all about a good balance of technical knowledge so you know how to handle the equipment, and getting to know what feels right to yourself. And a bit of luck to be in the right place at the right time.
I was a little kid, the smell of photo chemicals was almost a daily thing, me and my siblings grew up peeking at the darkroom with the red light and following the process from developing a roll to dry up a finished photo. My dad got his first camera when he was 15 years old in 1965, and he worked with photography ever since then, until he passed away a few years ago.
Despite this, I didn't really get into doing it myself up until around 5 years ago, when I got my first Point & Shoot camera (A Sony W30 which I still have), but I didn't go to far thinking I wasn't good enough to make myself do it more. Last year finally decided to get a better camera, and keep trying to learn more about the technical side of photography.
I got myself an used Olympus E-510. It helped me understand many things, and grasp some of the concepts that were sneaky for many years, and actually got a few good shots from it. The camera was a bit old and had an unpopular lens mount with very expensive lenses and not very many options available. After one year, feeling much more comfortable with a camera I decided it was time to get a better one.
A few weeks ago I bought my first Prime Lens (which means a lens with fixed focal lenght), a Nikkor 50mm / f1.4 and this is one of the first shots I got from it.
Having a Prime lens is a different way of shooting, it forces me to think about the composition more carefully and move around instead of just zooming into things. Also, the large aperture allows for a whole new range of possibilities, like taking photos in low light conditions.
I'm not sure if I am (or ever gonna be) a great photographer, but so far it is something I truly enjoy doing, almost as much as my main job as a front end developer.
At this point, it's hard not to get carried away. There's so many things I'd like to have, so many things I'd like to take photos of. And so many things yet to learn.