Back then in early 1990s, there was only film photography. I ended up examining characteristics of films and photographic papers in order to achieve the optimal quality. Before photographing, normally I pulled out my Spotmeter measuring shadows and (sometimes) highlights. It was a necessary redundant process.
None of above is required in digital photography. RAW processing application is much more capable than restrictive films and photographic papers. Some digital techniques are totally impossible for film photography, even with extensive darkroom work. You shall simply appreciate the blessing of digital photography.
However honestly, essence of film photography is always and only acquired by practice for years, even for decades. And, I don’t know if there is an essence of digital photography yet, since I find there is much less build-up in yourself practicing digital photography. Everything is in your camera or applications, and you would only pick and use some of those.
Simply because I know the world of film photography, I wander back and forth between them. I don’t know when I would reach a settlement. KT