Photography is actually quite a simple process. All you essentially need is a tight box where only the light is captured you want to be there, you don’t even need optics to concentrate the light, a mere well done hole will do and at least a sensitive medium to capture the light.
Getting as well some optics in this setting will give provide you with fun and incredible creative possibilities for many years to come. Pinhole cameras, Holga’s, Diana’s and more sophisticated other brands up to the expensive Leica’s are the creative tools you can use.
Now as we are in the digital revolution and everything is going easy peasy a lot had been swept aside. When everyone nowadays can do photographic project our ancestors could only dream off I like to ask the question if this brought as well ” better?” photographers and better images? Looking through thousands of images on Flickr, 500px, Facebook, Google plus or alike it seems sometimes it’s getting worse, less creative, more slavish and lemming like. Everyone is just part of the big herd trampling down the same road.
Back in the day when most professional cameras were not automated and didn’t do the thinking for you you had really to think about how to control the flow of light onto your film plane and because of this fact you started to know how to expose, external meter what the heck. Practice makes perfect. Don’t get me wrong I like as well the easiness of todays fast workflow from shooting and getting the instant result on the back of my devices. But once in a while going backwards and making it harder for yourself might give you different insight how light and your gear works.
You’re no longer a monkey pushing a button. You certainly start to see different things; you start to notice light again in not letting the machine do the thinking for you.
Try to get the hang on the sunny 16 rule (wikipedia helps). By far it's not 100% accurate but neither are the light meters in camera especially when you don’t know what kind of metering is best to use. As a matter of fact film has some latitude to compensate for a guessing f stop. Don’t be obsessed to much the more you practice the better you will be able to estimate the correct exposure for your purpose.
So get creative don’t get in the monkey habit just pushing buttons as well as pray and spray but do some conscious creative work. And most and foremost: Have Fun!