Your Photography Beginning


May 22, 2013
Bergen, Norge
My dad had an AE-1Program with a few lenses when I was very young and always had been surrounded by his images from that camera. Dad moved into HQ point&shoots and his old, nice leather bag with the Canon gear (35 3.5, 50 1.8 and 70-210 4 -- all non-FDn) sat in a closet for years... In late pre-teens I experimented with very early Apple digital cameras (QuickTake 100 & 200) and Clarisworks & Photoshop, shooting lots and processing cheaply on the old PowerMac. Eventually I got my dad to loan me his SLR gear in the summer that I turned 13. This exploded into a passion of shooting 10s of rolls of film a week and eventually started shooting/developing/printing for my high school newspaper with a very good mentor, along with a girlfriend to be my muse/model. A sad day occured when my dad's AE-1Program died while having an autowinder attached to it (shooting high school sports) and it was replaced soon after with my mentor's old AE-1Program (never to see use of an autowinder again...). 'Worked and saved through high school and bought a used EOS 1N and a EF 100-3005.6L, then a EF 50 1.4 USM and then a Sigma 24 1.8 EX and then a 500EX flash. 'Took that to college and shot for university paper while slowly upgrading gear and eventually becoming photo editor of the weekly paper. 'Took a "history of photog" class while a pre-med student and teacher suggested I take a studio class -- I did and the following semester changed declared degree to Fine Arts Photography (and Sociology). 'Spent a few years shooting 4x5 and 120/220 and freelanced in Chicago newspapers regularly. 'Started shooting product and doing other integrated marketing services -- today providing broad design & communication services (incl. Photog) internally to offshore/fisheries industries on the west coast of Norway. 'Miss the view camera and miss my fingernails tasting like "fix"....


Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
AE-1 in 1978, I got it after taking action photos of race cars with a Polaroid camera I was given! I realised pretty quickly I needed to shoot 135 film for cost, I didn't really have an issue with timing with that Polaroid but I only got one actual image, copies etc were very expensive as they needed inter-negatives.

Started shooting for the local paper at football (soccer) matches that were too small to send an actual photographer to after they saw some of my pictures :) That morphed into weddings for friends and family and then paying customers, it's funny, I was shooting 'documentary style' and giving my clients the negatives 30 years before anybody else it seems! Did some aimless meandering around the world with the camera in hand, fell into shooting yacht racing in SE Asia for a massive developer, met some cool people, moved to the Caribbean where I shot everything from real estate to surfing to yacht racing to lifestyle and 'art' prints (Cibachromes), got in trouble because I didn't have a trade license for photography on the Island I lived on but smoothed that out (which is where the privatebydesign anonymity came from). Married a girl from the USA and moved there where I shoot mainly for developers with the occasional more interesting bit thrown in, I do regular photography teaching sessions for a local University and a camera club. I looked up to the guys at the camera club in 1978 and like to think I can pay back some of that help now to others. Still have wanderlust deep in my bones and travel regularly.

I am also a marine engineer and ships Captain, you know, the kind of stuff you fall into when Islands are your home for many years! I actually teach the Captains how to captain on one of the worlds largest sailing trimarans, but photography is my profession. :)


Nov 17, 2011
Good topic Sabaki :)

1. 2008 and before: $99 P&S shooter

2. Late 2008, Welcomed 1st child: got a used 40D + 50f1.4

3. 2009 to 2014: went through 40d, 60d, 7d, 5D II, 7d II, 5D III and 1Dx + a lot of well known L lenses.

4. 2014 to present: exploring mirrorless world. I'm shooting with mirrorless more and more these days.

My kids are still number #1 reason in photography.


Got hit in the face by a skateboard got the shot!
Parents bought me a Mickey Mouse camera when I was 5 or 6 I believe it took the 126 or 110 film.
Than in grade school they got me the Polaroid Instant camera that I still have and in High School they got me a Ricoh KR -5 super from Sears. I know it was hell finding lens for it and ended up saving my lunch money to buy an adapter and 135mm and 50mm manual lens from some off name brand still have the camera and lens.
Every now and than I put them on my Pentax DSLR because of the K-mount you can use them in manual mode.


Feb 15, 2015
In early middle school (80s), when I wanted my second Agfa pocket camera (the ones you push together to advance the film) with the WA and tele lens, my mom wondered why I need that, as I am not a professional photographer. Little did she know ... Did not shoot anything remarkable: boyscout camp, random around town shots.

In high school, got a Yashica FXD with Tokina 35-105 and a manual flash and shot quite a bit of B&W (FP4, HP5, some XP1), went to summer photo camp, and also did a bit of darkroom at a local youth center. Have some published photos form that area on a documentary DVD on the Dutch Jazz-post-punk band The Ex (also named a snail species for them).

Got a "real" SLR from my parents when becoming of legal age: OM4Ti, with Zuiko 50 mm macro, bellows, flash. Seriously cool! That opened the avenue for serious nature photography. Shot lots of KC64. Eventually, purchased more lenses, including a 35 shift (mom: the wobble lens), and a 300/4 (mom: the stove pipe). Put that in a Hugy underwater housing.

Once OM abandoned SLR, moved to Contax (RTSIII) and a bunch of Zeiss glass. Finally could also afford a 4x5" kit (AS classic compact) and some modern glass from Schneider 72XL to Nikkor T360/500/720. Still use that. I was rather unimpressed with digital for a long time, so scanned Provia 100F for quite a while. Have about 40K slides. Also got a stereo and a compound microscope, used half for work half for fun.

Once Contax abandoned SLR, I got a 5D2 as my first dSLR.

Have always mostly shot nature/natural history. Thought that I needed to have my own image library to teach classes. That was before google image search. Still like to shoot nature/natural history, but mainly the under-appreciated subjects, like worms and slime molds. Birds and mammals are not my game. People scare me.


Mar 22, 2012
I guess film during the 80's. Disposable cameras. I used to like the Panoramic Disposable Cameras. Then a Canon 5000 and Canon 5 (which has an unusual focusing system that could track your eye). I then moved to digital with a number of Fuji compacts (which were very good for their time). Then I went to Canon for my first DSLR about 2010 (500D - which actually still take lovely pictures). I then made the leap to the 5D Mark III which is a remarkable camera still. Mine is completely battered but takes great photos. I aquired GAS along the way. Maybe too much gear has been acquired but Canon makes great glass. I've fallen in love with F1.2 which is really expensive. I have diverted to a Fuji X100s at one stage but its hard to beat full frame quality.
Besides a 600mm F4 II all I'm short is small compact APS-C camera with an articulated screen, that has good focusing that I could find in a reasonably sized pocket. I keep hoping the next EOS-M provides the platform for something like that. Either than or something like the Sony RX100 IV but with a 24-105 reach including an electronic viewfinder. Other than that it's location, location, location. I need to travel the world and explore more before my knees give up.
I'm in a club which makes my photography very social which is great. I also teach beginners which is very rewarding when you see the interesting in photography growing in them.


EOS 60D, G5X
Aug 8, 2012
In the mid 1980's, my brother left his Minolta X700 on the roof of his car and drove away, and he was unable to find it. He sold me his lenses and I bought myself an X700. My wife borrowed the camera and began a successful career as a fine art photographer (see I had a couple of compact digital cameras and we went fully digital with the EOS 40D.


May 15, 2014
Good topic, interesting to hear the stories and history of a number of you.

For me, I got my first real taste of photography in the early 90s. I was a freshman in high school and took a photography class. I loved the whole process, including the time spent developing in the darkroom. The slow, deliberate process (compared to today's instant images to social media) made each good shot that much more satisfying.

Of course I didn't stick with it and high school and college kept me busy. My 20's were a fun time, a blur of a young professional working on his career, an avid social life, etc. As I got a bit older, and started to settle down I really started to appreciate life and the little things more. Fast forward to almost 5 years ago and the upcoming birth of my daughter and I figured I had the best excuse to get a "real" camera and see if this photography, that had piqued my interested decades ago, would have any staying power. I did some homework, consulted with some avid hobbyest friends and eventually went to the wife with the idea of buying a T2i. She was against the idea, it was sooooo much money to spend and a new baby and maternity leave, etc. I still chuckle thinking about it as that initial purchase just seems too trivial today.

Anyway, my own expectations were completely blown away. I thought I'd enjoy the camera, taking pictures, etc. but I really have gotten into it. Granted, I look back at that first year and just cringe! The pictures are not all that great. And throw in zero to little post processing knowledge, I mean I still laugh at outdoor winter shots with lots of snow, completely underexposed with the white balance way off. Getting my first manual speedlite for Christmas in 2012 just opened my eyes to a whole other world, controlling and making your own light.

Anyway it's been fun so far and I keep trying to explore and improve. I got a little crazy there for a while, focusing on acquiring all the "right" gear. But I've recently sat down, did some analysis and consolidated to what I felt I really need, simplifying things a bit. That was liberating. Now I'm just focusing on getting out and shooting more.



Jun 12, 2012
Around junior high age, I started bugging my dad to let me use his Pentax SLR. After I shot a roll or two, he found a friend who was selling a Canon A-1 with the standard 50/1.8. I used that off and on, and in high school I bought a 28/2.8 and 135/3.5 on ebay (even had the box for one of them!). Took the kit off to college, shot mostly for fun. I declared a minor in art and took a basic design class just to get into Photography 101, where I learned to develop and print B&W. Bought an enlarger and all the supplies, put together a home darkroom in my closet, and printed almost nothing after the class was over!

I completed a minor in communications, where I applied my knowledge of photography to videography and video production. That led to an internship at a local TV station, which led to a job in the production department, which led to a job in the news department as chief news videographer. Did that full time for a few years, during which time I barely touched my Canon A-1.

Went back to school to switch careers. My wife bought me our second digital camera as a wedding present (Elph SD800 IS). Took that to Italy on our honeymoon, then a few other trips around Europe. When we had an opportunity to travel to Madagascar, I finally sprung for a DSLR, the new Canon t1i. Got my 20mm on ebay, and a 100mm macro on B&H. It's all snowballed from there.

But I'm pretty sure there is still film in the A-1, and I keep mentally laying out the darkroom for when we finish the basement...


Advancing Amateur
Aug 17, 2012
Nice topic! I wrote this a while back in another thread, but it sums it up nicely :)

"I'll answer this question with a timeline. Back in 2004 my first child was born and like most parents we wanted to capture every moment of our daughter's life. Fast forward a few years, my wife and I were looking at the pictures we had taken with our Nikon 885 p/s camera and noticed that our pictures looked just as crappy as our parents picture books did. Though we did 'capture' family memories, we wanted them to look better and figured it was the camera and not technique (noob mistake). In 2009 I bought a rebel T1i and started with the kit lens and a 70-300 IS USM. I stuck with that for a few more years. 2011 - both kids start to participate in sports, so now I can't get where I need to be for a good picture being on the sidelines. Start really using the 70-300 but find that after 200mm the lens was too soft. I found this website/forum and started to learn as quickly as my brain could absorb. I lurked here for a year before really starting to participate in the forum. My techniques improved dramatically and I made smarter lens choices. I got lenses that complimented my camera: 10-22, 17-55, 60 macro, 70-200 Mk II L IS USM, 85 1.8, 50 1.8, a couple of flashes, a much improved tripod, and last a 1.4 mk III teleconverter. I focused on technique and glass rather than updating a body. During the last couple of years I explored macro photography, portraits mainly for family pictures, and nature/wildlife photography. As my kids got quicker in sports, I grew my skills there by asking our local high school coach if I could take pictures during games from the sidelines. He liked what he saw and gave me a season sideline pass so I could practice in return for the pictures. I also take pictures for my daughter's diving team and son's baseball team. Now, my kids have joined the 4-H club and I'm providing "event" photography for them - again, to build my skills. I have a few realtor friends who've asked me to photograph their new listings for them. They've called me back for more work, so I must be doing okay there.

So why did I buy the camera to begin with? - to make sure my family memories don't look like crap"


Dec 4, 2013
I got into photography by accident really. Never had much interest in it...

In 2011 I had a blog, and wanted to take photos for it. The only camera I had was on my (first generation!) iPhone, which was terrible, so I decided to get a 'proper' camera - a DSLR (though like most laymen it was mostly that DSLRs had an aura, when I could probably have done just as well with a compact or bridge camera). I got the cheapest secondhand one I could find on eBay - a battered old 300D with the kit lens. But the image quality was so much better than anything I'd had before, I was very pleased.

Didn't use it all that much for the first year. Got a telephoto zoom, but I had very little idea what I was doing, so never got much out of it. Later I bought a couple more secondhand lenses.

But it was really the following year I started exploring, and accidentally taking an interest in birds, and photographing them. That led me to a series of improvements in my kit - longer lenses, extenders, a better camera (the 50D), and so on. From that point, it became something of an obsession, and I spent hundreds of hours reading the theory, reviews and forums, and especially trawling through Flickr.

The last couple of years I've spent mostly with the same equipment, but learning new techniques - astro image stacking, focus stacking, HDR, panorama stitching - and honing my fieldcraft and knowledge, travelling to new places and suchlike. I've not got bored of it yet, and I don't think I ever will now :)