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What Got You Started?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by seabee1999, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. Good day to all. I am not sure if this was already done but here we go. I was just wondering what event, circumstance, or influence started everyone into taking photographs; whether professionally or just simple snap shots? What was your first camera and at around what point did taking snap shots turn into learning more about the art of photography?

    I remember my first camera. It was a simple point and shoot I got as a Christmas gift from my parents when I was a kid. Several years later during my senior year in high school, I turned in the old point and shoot for a Chinon Genesis III. Good camera but I lost it while in the Navy. Move ahead several years to August, 2003. I have always loved the power of nature and a hurricane is about as powerful as you can get. Many people living in the greater Norfolk, VA area remember the warnings for Isabel when it was churning in the Atlantic. I decided to ride out the storm but I also wanted to photograph the storm. I went out to a local camera shop looking to buy a Pentax. When the shop did not have that camera, I asked about both Canon and Nikon cameras. I settled on an N65 and shot away. When I got the film developed, I was highly disappointed with the results. So I began to read and study and the rest is as they say is history. Since the N65, I moved up to an F4 and now I have an F5 with a ton of lenses and a serious case of NAS. I am still learning hoping someday to make a little money with the pictures I take.

    God Bless,
  2. RedFox

    RedFox Guest

    What Got Me Started

    I started when I was about 7 with one of those little rectangular Kodak box cameras (still have it somewhere). I didn't really pick up a camera again until I was about 26; then it was a Canon AE-1 belonging to a boyfriend. A few years later I got into bluegrass music and going to festivals and bought a Canon A-1, and a second not long after that. At the time I was just taking pictures to remember where I'd been and who I'd seen.

    Folks started asking to see my pictures and I guess they liked what they saw because promoters began hiring me to document their festivals; groups began asking me to do album covers and publicity shots; and I found some work that I enjoyed very much (though I never tried to make my living from it - I think I've always spent more on it than I've made).

    When I was about 34 I sold all my Canon stuff and switched to Nikon F3H bodies and Nikkor lenses; I think it was a good move, at least for me. With the Nikons I found my images vastly improved - maybe it was the brighter screen.

    In 2002 I bought a Nikon Coolpix 5700 which I used for a couple of years. For a point-and-shoot it makes very nice images of still subjects and landscapes but left much to be desired in capturing moving targets and in low light.

    A year ago I got a D70 and am very well-pleased with the camera (though the shutter mysteriously broke after only 30,000 or 40,000 actuations; luckily it happened just before my warranty expired so Nikon repaired it for free, though I was out of a camera for most of a month). I use the camera primarily to photograph foxhunting in Wales, music concerts in America, children, horses, and landscapes. I am delighted with it (though I have higher aspirations).

    My photos ARE my memory. I lost mine long ago, it seems.

    I guess what would please me most would be faster lenses of better quality. Mine do all right for what they cost, but I am Jonesing for the 85mm 1.4, a Micro-Nikkor and perhaps about a nice telephoto VR lens. Meanwhile I'll keep using what I have and read about all your nice lenses and dream...and dream...

  3. Had a tiny point and shoot Agfa film camera for snaps. Then graduated to a Minolta Maxxum 7000 series for SLR in the 70's. Never used it very much, and when the light meter broke, it sat in the camera bag waiting to go to the camera doc for 9.5 years!!! Believe it or not, I then used Kodak disposables if I went on holidays!! LOL

    In 1999, I took the Minolta in, paid $265 to have the whole thing overhauled, cleaned, worn parts replaced, etc. While there at the service desk of large camera store, I wandered over to the digital area.

    I spied the brand new Coolpix 990, test drove it and I thought it would be perfect for real estate pics. A bit pricey, almost $2,000 out the door so I put it back in the case and set my mind to being satisfied with the film Minolta for a while. Two days later, I had the real estate deal from heaven fall into my lap (double ending a $650K commercial bldg), so I phoned the guy at the camera store, told him to pack up the 990 with all goodies I'd need, an extra 16MB card for over $100!!!!!!!, etc., and went to pick it up. Never ever put another roll of film thru the newly refurbed Minolta since then. Gave it to a real estate client who was a film buff but didn't have extra coin for a good camera.

    Played extensively with the 990. I just loved that camera! I took it everywhere, and even now, it still feels like an old friend in my hands when I pick it up. Can't beat the macro on that camera! Did my first photography job with that camera which paid $3,600 for the day!!! To be able to do THAT again!
    I have a problem with my eyes, can't see thru the viewfinder on DSLR's so I never went there as I always needed a live LCD screen. Got a 5700 and had a LOT of fun with that too. Shot all my kayak/bird shots with it all last year. Even went up to 420mm with the teleconverter! Pretty good camera but it also had it's limitations and frustrations. Blown highlights have never been my favourite....

    A buddy of mine finally convinced me to go DSLR, buy good lenses and let the lenses do the focusing (thanks Bernie for helping empty my wallet!!! LOL). I decided in the lenses department "buy good, buy once" and got two really great sharp lenses. I've been having a ball with my new kit. Haven't looked back. Just don't know what to do with the thousands and thousands of pics I've got!! LOL Photography has become my passion and it's not a cheap passion, but hey, I don't do two-year-itis with my vehicle, I don't spend thousands of $$ each year on clothes anymore (working from home has its benefits) so I indulge myself with what really turns my crank - shooting wildlife from a kayak! Sitting still, gentle waves rocking me, warm breezes, and the birds coming over to chat with me and getting to know me. Life just doesn't get any better....
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  4. Baywing


    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    A Kodak Brownie (127 I think) when I was a little nipper. I wanted to be like Dad, who had a Practika and Agfa 6x6 Twin-lens. In college, I got interested again, bought myself a Ricoh and a pair of lenses. When my grandfather died, I got his first-year Nikon F, then bought an FE. Followed with a 6006, then F4s, F5 and 990, ending (no, I guess it never ends) with a D100. In 1992, I started into large format with a Wisner 4x5, then went to 8x10 with a Burke and James I rebuilt. Rebuilt a Gundlach 8x10 and a Deardorf 8x10, still have them. Sometime inbetween, I picked up a Pentax 645 to fill the gap. Still use them all, from time to time, though the digital gets the most use. The rest, as they say, is history. What I like the best about photography is that it goes with any and all of my other interests, whatever they may be.
  5. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005

    You're trying to make me cry with that pic. :redface:

    I got started just under 2 years ago with the purchase of a Sony 828. I wanted a camera to take pics of my kitties. Everything just kind of exploded from there. I'll have to say that I've met more great folks, and been to places that I never imaged in this short time. I hope that this is the beginning of a (long :smile:)  lifetime hobby.
  6. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I had a passing interest in photography in junior high, and bought a 35mm point-n-shoot. Didn't really pursue it seriously though, and had stopped taking pictures by high school.

    About 2 years ago I decided that the price of digital cameras had finally become a bit more reasonable and purchased my first EVF digicam, a Fuji S5000. Started reading and researching on the internet, and caught "the bug". Quickly ran into limitations of my camera and started the upgrade cycle. I tend to immerse myself in hobbies (my wife calls them obsessions) trying to learn everything I can. Photography has pretty much taken over all other hobbies for me now, although in a way it has opened new/related hobbies.

    The cool thing is it's completely changed the way I look at the world, and my interest in experiencing it. Never had much interest in travel, hiking, or nature/wildlife before, but photography has opened those doors for me. Now I feel like I want to really take it to the next level and get better on the creative/artistic side, which for me doesn't come as easily as the technical side.
  7. First of all David, this is a good thread starter. I always like to learn about others and their backgrounds on photography.

    I got started using a Kodak Brownie and a Kodak 126 as a kid. Then as I grew up, I used a point and shoot film camera. Then in 1981, I was given the Canon AE-1 program as a present. Since I didn't know much about photography, I always had it set to auto. Believe it or not, I didn't use it much through the years because of raising kids and busy working. Then 3 years ago. I was lay off from my job and needed something to do since jobs were so hard to find. So I thought I would get myself back into photography thinking that maybe someday, it would pay for itself. So I did a lot of research on pro dslr's and came up with the Fuji S2. I outgrew that at the same time the D2X was coming out so I switched over to Nikon and never regretted it. I took a short class on photography and learned more than I ever have so now I sometimes go back to the Canon and shoot manual here and there to get the film used up.

    Just recently, I finally found my Nikon D2X manual which was lost for about 4 months. So much better than reading a pdf file. Thank God.

    This just about sums up my short life of photography.

    You may ask, well did it pay off for itself. Not money wise but photography wise, absolutly yes. I love it and it relaxes me.
  8. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    I too started with a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye around 1956. Then by 1960 I was using my fathers Rolleicord. There were sevral others that I can't remember over the years....but I have had Konica, Minolta, Olympus, Canon, Pentax and of course Nikon.

    So, Ive been pointing cameras at things for 50 years but the problem is that I still can't take a decent photo........

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  9. Mary...Photographing concerts in the US is nice job. You are one lucky person. I wish I could do that and meet some musicians that I have always dreamed of meeting.
  10. I also started with a Brownie Hawkeye when I was a tyke. I wish I still had my first photograph which was of the mailbox on the corner across the street. I became seriously interested when I was fifteen at the urging of a neighbor who was then an art director at the National Geographic. After getting married, my wife and I got interested in the outdoors, and we spent much time backpacking in the state and national parks around the country. I took my camera with me, and my interest in landscape and wildlife photography emerged. In the late 1970s, I became acquainted with the work of Eliot Porter – the first photographer to have an exhibit of color photography at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and he has been a serious influence ever since. In 2004, I changed over from film-based equipment to digital equipment, except for my 6x6 cm Bronica which I still use for landscape work.
  11. Stef


    Nov 1, 2005
    Peoria, AZ
    I'm a newbie

    I got started about 3 years ago. It all started with an Olympus D550 zoom 3.2 MP digital. I retired that to my sister, who still uses it :biggrin:

    I then got the Sony F828 and really fell in love with photography.

    Then I bought a Sony P200, because it was too hard to take the 828 everywhere with me. The P200 is in my purse ALWAYS!

    Then I got a REALLY good deal on a brand new F717, so I bought that for my husband, hoping he would get into photography with me. He has a little... but not as much as I would have liked.

    It all has changed since I got my D50! I love this thing. Sometimes I wish I didn't work so much, because I don't have alot of time to go out doing what I really want to do. I'm not very good yet, but I keep trying. Learning is a little overwhelming sometimes too.. but I may just figure it out sooner or later. :confused: 
  12. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    My first camera was an Oly P&S digital that I bought when Amanda was born. A few weeks after Logan was born I thought it was time to change hobbies. There wasn't going to be enough free time to continue drag racing so I purchased a D70. First paying photography work was product shots of hot rod parts.

    Now I have a D2x, some very nice glass (thanks to the lens lust forum), studio lights, backgrounds, etc, etc. With xmas just around the corner I have several portrait shoots scheduled. Photography may be a more expensive hobby for me than drag racing, but I never made money from doing 100+ mph.:smile:
  13. Frank, didn't mean to choke you up.... I just still love that pic best of all - his attitude!!! LOL
    So you paid ALL THAT MONEY to take pictures of your kitties????!!! LMAO VERY expensive cats!!!!

    Love reading about the history of photography with all our members - tells a lot.
  14. RForshey

    RForshey Guest

    I actually owned a Canon once! My first camera was an FTb that I kept for about 3 weeks before I bought a brand spanking new Nikon F. This was in 1971, and I've shot Nikon ever since. In the early 80s I had a studio and did portraiture and weddings, and I was one of the first in the Bay Area to get involved with "Boudior" photography. I used my Nikons for everything except formals, and for those I used Rollei SLXs. I stopped photographing people as a profession in the mid 90s and have shot landscapes ever since. I switched to digital professionally in 2001 with the introduction of the D1x. I still own two F5s, and one F6, but haven't shot a roll of film since 2002 (I've never even loaded the F6)! I got my first D2x body at the end of February ('05) and my second mid March. I still keep one of my D1x bodies because of the infrared capability. I go on photo excursions at least once a month (5-10 day outings depending on where I'm going, I give workshops, and am currently writing a book. I sell prints through galleries and my website.
  15. I suppose snapshots, it was traveling. I had a p&s APS camera that I took on a trip to southern france. then years ago we got the CP 885 3.21mp- my first digital. I loved it. Used it on several cruises. Then I got to high school. my involvement in the video/film department got me into photography: our teacher is also a good still photographer, and bought a D70 not long after it came out. I bought a CP5700, but within a few months I was ready for a D70 of my own.
    I now own 2.25x as many lenses as him, all top notch stuff. He is the single worst cause of my family's financial anxiety :biggrin:
    Now a D200, and next a few more lenses, a d2HS (unless the D200 beats it noisewise), and a second d200.
  16. dbirdsong

    dbirdsong Guest

    I started with the good old Kodak Instamatic back in the late 60's and my first hour class in high school back in Sept, 1970 was Photography.
    Shortly after school started my Mom helped me buy my first 35mm SLR, a Exacta. That served me for about 3 maybe for months when I got my first real SLR, (one that you could really buy lenses for and had a light meter in it too!) The Minolta SRT100. I later added a second lens for it a 100mm lens and then a second body a SRT101.
    During high school I shot on a average of 3 36 exposure rolls of Tri-X and was the only freshman to be allowed on the school newspaper. The next 3 years I took 75% of all the photos in the yearbook and 100% in the newspaper.
    After I graduated I wanted to go to college but my grades weren't good enough in other subject for scholarships and my parents didn't have the money to send me to school.
    I slowed down a lot over the next few years and ended up selling both the cameras to help buy a mobile home and I got married.
    After 2 years of marriage I saw an ad in the paper for the Nikon EM for $199 or something like that and I told me wife that was it, I was buying a nikon.
    As time went on I got back into photography and ended up owning several different Nikon's, let's see a EM, FE, FE2, F3 and couple others that I can't remember for sure, like a FM and I think a FA too.
    Once my first daughter was born, my darkroom became her bedroom and then when we had our second and third daughters I was forced to start selling some of equipment and kind of put it on the back burner.
    On Jan. 2, 2000 I got my dream job as a rep for Apple and that was great all be it a short career that came to a end as a full time rep 9 months later and 5 days before my last day, I was asked to stay on part time. The pay was still pretty good so I did and I ended up getting a second job as a rep for Kodak Digital.
    That ended up as a full time job and also sparked my photography skills.
    I ended up with my first D70 on July 30, 2004 and also made me work harder than ever to become a better photographer.
    I am looking forward to adding a D200 to my bag soon.
    Over the last year I have been published in some different newspaper and a small national magazine and even did a picture of Ronald McDonald with a member of the Motor City Mechanic hockey team for a billboard. (Seeing a picture you took on a billboard is very cool!!)
  17. When I was 21 (3 years ago) I moved to China (still here) to teach English. I bought a Canon S-1 point and shoot to document my experience over here. Before that the only exposure I'd had with photography was through my mother who used to annoy all the family members with her incessant "let me get a picture of you!" nonsense at holidays and gatherings. I was never really interested. After getting the Canon point and shoot I started carrying it around with me everywhere I went. I loved the fact that I could download my pictures onto the computer and mess around with them right after I'd taken them.

    I initiated the learning curve and motivation to create compelling images with that initial Canon point and shoot. Afterwards I developed a healthy lusting for a digital SLR. I saved for a D70 kit (which I purchased in April of this year), ordered a few books from Amazon.com, and have considered my camera a friend ever since.

    By the way - great thread.
  18. Well lets see......

    Old history:
    I remember having a little instamatic camera (one of the 110 thingys) - Kodak I think? and used it quite a bit from about age 12 or so till I was 15 or 16. I did not take tons of pics at that time but, did take a fair amount. Limiting factor was always cost of film/developing. I still have some rolls of film from way back when that are undeveloped. At some point I got an el cheapo 35mm camera and used that for awhile. Same story, I liked taking pics but film and developing costs were always limiting the number of photos I took. At 22, my girlfriend and I bought a Canon SLR - EOS I think? Used that for awhile till we broke up a couple years later. She took the camera. Long spell of not much photo taking until about age 30. Then started doing more video stuff with one of those big VHS camcorders - Man that thing is huge - I still have it and it works but it has battery problems. From 94 to 01 I had a simple 35mm camera and same deal - Took photos but cost of film/developing was a limiting factor.

    More Recent History:
    In summer of 2001 I bought an Olympus 2100UZ. I choose this camera has it had a nice big zoom and IS. I originally bought this camera to document the build out of my store. If you are bored you can see lots of pics of the store being built here -> http://www.gvtc.com/~mao/cbpets/
    Ignore all the text as it is way out of date - For fun count the number of starbucks coffee cups - Way too many! Hah. Anyway, for the first year of owning my first digital I never messed with any of the settings - it was always on Auto. Eventually though I started to gain some interest in all the options/settings the camera had and so it begins...... For several more years I continued to learn lots of the camera basics and began experimenting more and more. I cannot remember when it first came out but, when the Canon Digital Rebel first came out I started to begin searching for my next digital camera and was determined to get a DSLR. It took 2 years of saving money and finally concluded that I liked the D70. Of course, I did not get the D70 and eventually got the D70s in June of this year.

    And like many of you I am now totally addicted and still trying to learn more everyday and enjoy participating on this forum.
  19. jjdesanto1


    May 1, 2005
    Warwick, N.Y.
    John DeSanto
    In 1972 - my sophomore year of college - I skipped out of an anatomy class and, to kill time, went browsing in a local camera shop. The salesman talked me into buying a 35mm camera (a Rolleiflex 350) and I was hooked. Several weeks later, I dropped out of school and announced to my parents that "I was going to be a photographer." (Boy, were they pissed!)

    During the next several months, and after many false starts, I wound up taking a photography course from a retired LIFE magazine photographer by the name of Bernard Hoffman. I took four 8-week courses in all before he took me on as his apprentice, and I helped to teach others around his studio. Bernie and his wife literally took me under their wings, cracking open my young and stupid brain and pouring in general advice and photographic knowledge. After a year of that, they convinced me I was good enough to get a job at the local weekly newspaper, which had an opening. I had my doubts, but - miracle of miracles - the paper hired me at the inflated rate of $85 per week.

    I worked for that paper for four years before moving on to the local daily and then four years later, to an even bigger daily. Nowadays, I'm 33 years into a newspaper career and still loving every minute.
  20. I agree with the above! Have camera will travel!
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