I have noticed in the year since I began to actively participate in the forum that folks usually tend to come down one one side or the other.
Either they tend to discount a highly technical approach to large format photography in general, or they tend to discount a very simplistic approach.
The very technical remind us there is much information to be considered before making an adequate photograph. Those who prefer a simpler approach tend to remind us that it is very possible to make wonderful photographs without, in effect, the many considerations the more technically-oriented folks might believe need to be looked at.
Where does the truth lie?
First, it seems to me, a technical versus a non-technical orientation may lie in the personality of the photographer. The highly technical person may appreciate and enjoy the technicality of his approach, to some extent, for it's own sake. He or she likes how technicality, in effect, makes the world a more understandable and stable place. Often, these folks remind us where those of us who are less technical may be missing important issues - or might even be wrong.
Some would say that an overly-technical approach stems from learning in childhood that in order to be "good" we had to do everything "just right." That's speculation at best, I think. Although it describes me.
The less technical person, or the person who likes things simpler (and who, nonetheless, makes wonderful photographs) also has a valid position. Michael A. Smith is a case in point.
Not long ago when I was talking to him about attending one of his 2006 workshops he explained his philosophy and approach. He said, basically, "Why get so involved in technique that you lose sight of your end product and vision?"
It was shortly after my conversation with Michael Smith that I realized again my own tendency toward obsessive-compulsiveness. Or more simply, perfectionism.
I have since paid my deposit and plan to attend one of Michael Smith's May, 2006, workshops in Pennsylvania.