Even though now I have a little collection of cameras including my dad's old Canon, his dad's camera, various point and shoots, my first "professional" camera was given to me by a family friend, Geoffie. I still have it (thank you, Geoffie!) to this day. It is a 1965 Nikkormat. He gave it to me when I started becoming serious about photography.
Before that I had point and shoots, (still do), and even the occasional disposable. Hello 90's! I say that 10 years ago I got my first "professional" camera but I've always loved taking photos and documenting moments to look back on later. In high school and college I filled binders and binders up with photos (mostly of band and dance, let's be real) of my friends and family. Back in the day where you had to wait for film developing!
Somewhere after graduation and I got into the real world, my mom wanted me to take some photographs to depict the idea of people (not full shots- just hands, parts of the face, a ladder, etc.) Things that you would know it was the person, but not full on regular shots. After that, she took my love of photography and pushed it a bit farther by confirming in myself that I had the eye for photography. Time went on and I got into it more and more. I took many photos for free with willing participants. My mom had me take lot of things for her cookbook and other projects. I did photos of my dad's building and work.
Also, when I started to think I might be serious about photography, I had many people who let me try my hand at photography. Two of my first patient participants were Katie and her husband Nate. At the time, they were engaged and I convinced them to wander and hike around Montana while I experimented and played with my 1965 camera. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
I took tons upon tons of bad shots- I really need to find those and post them here. I promise- they are absolutely hilarious. But because Nate and Katie were patient with me (balancing that exposer needle, manually focusing for the first time, etc.) I finally got a gem. And it was a proud moment. This photo was their engagement photo that ran in the local paper to announce their upcoming wedding. I took this photo 10 years ago on that old Nikkormat camera and printed it out on film! Here it is!
Boy was I proud of that sucker. And so time went on and I finally upgraded to the digital world. I have my mom to thank for her never-ending encouragement, buying my first DSLR, giving me jobs for me to shoot, and friends like Nate and Katie who have spent hours letting me play with cameras. 10 years later, I took their family shots with their girls this weekend.
Always improving- I have not arrived, nor will I ever. I have tons to learn and am figuring out everyday by failing. Still working on focus. Still working on lighting. Still working on equipment. Still working on posing. These two still let me practice. Many people do. My band students even let me take photos to practice! Thank you to all who let me learn by failing and help me to get better each day. Cheers!