There are 4 key elements to be a better photographer.
1. Understand your subject.
2. Understand the fundamental concepts of photography, including composition aspects.
3. Understand your equipment and shooting techniques.
4. Have a good grasp of digital post processing.
Each of these are very tightly coupled with each other and it is important to have a good grasp on each of them.
The posted image is a result of all four of them coming together. Once you understand the subject behavior, you need to be ready with your camera settings and composition to convert your pre-visualized shot into reality. This was shot with my first DSLR, the Canon 10D and the 500mm lens. Understanding the camera limitation (focusing and shooting speed) helped me to be ready to get that one shot which I had visualized. Final PP skills helped me to get the best out of the camera.
Don’t worry about camera settings…just enjoy the image!