I started in Photography at the age of 11. I was given a Kodak Instamatic camera. I was always thrilled to take pictures of various items I liked. I took this camera on a trip to Door County, WI. With my grandmother and mom, here my grandmother explained the basics of composition.
I continued to learn the best I could. I looked at photos in large coffee-table books and National Geographic magazine. I read magazines on the racks as well.
When I started in high school I was able to attend photography classes. I did two years of classes. This taught me so many things. In my first year I had an Olympus 35RC camera. It taught me how to compose images and plan my shots. Film was expensive and I couldn't just shoot and burn through film. I developed an eye for images.
I worked hard during the summer and saved my money. I was able to buy a new Canon AE-1 Program. This camera was awesome for a young man of 16 yrs. old to own. I would shoot black and white as the film was less expensive and I could develop the negatives easily without a dark room.
I used AE-1 camera steadily for the next 3 years. During that time I found that film was increasingly more expensive and I had other priorities. I joined the Air Force and soon after was stationed in England. My passion for photography was reignited while I was in Europe. I bought a Canon A-1 camera and had my trusty AE-1 as my backup. I was able to shoot everything from ruins, cathedrals, people and landscapes.
Since I was in the service I wasn't allowed the chemicals to do my own work. I was at the mercy of the film development capabilities on the bases. None were able to tweak images when I wanted them adjusted. This was disappointing and started to wear away at my passion. This basically caused me to put photography on the back burner as a hobby. I only would use my cameras to capture memory events.
As my film cameras sat digital cameras began to come out. I saw this as a future for my hobby. I bought into it. Soon however I was disappointed at the resolution. Digital cameras needed to progress and they did.
As digital technology progressed I waited. Finally it seemed that DSLR cameras where making serious progress. I purchased a Nikon D70s camera along with a couple lenses. I was able to also purchase a copy of Adobe Photoshop. With these tools in hand I started to shoot more often again. My Photography hobby was reignited. I often found myself wishing for more equipment but other priorities kept my hobby just a hobby.
I retired from the Air Force after 25 years and started to examine my next career options. Photography was always something I enjoyed and wanted to pursue as a career. My equipment was dated and I needed startup capital. I worked in the airline industry for the next few years. I saved and was fortunate to make enough to allow me to re-kit my camera equipment.
I decided that my Nikon equipment was due for an upgrade. I was going to get a D800 but I wanted to be open minded on my upcoming purchases. I looked at the two main brands Canon and Nikon. As I held both camera bodies I found that the ergonomics of the Canon 5D Mk3 fit my hands best. I felt that both cameras were excellent and offered great options. The Canon won out since I preferred how it fit my hands.
A new camera body several quality lenses, lighting equipment and a leap of faith in myself has led me to my present career path. Taking a hobby of 37 years and turning it into a career. If you do what you love you'll be happy...I can say I am happier today doing what I love than ever before.
I'd like to thank my wife for encouraging me to take this step and supporting me. My Sister always forced me to want to shoot better. She is also a hobbyist photographer and sibling rivalry always pushes you to improve. My Grandmother showed me the basics and helping me early on. My Mom who was a shutterbug and took more slide images than you can imagine. Also my Mom never discouraged me as she also had the same passion. I'd also like to thank the rest of my family for being willing or in some cases not so willing participants to my explorations in photography over the years. Last but not least my daughter, she has been my source of inspiration since she was born. She also has a great eye and I hope she finds that photography is a bigger part of her life too.