photographers – when was the moment the magic happened for you?

photographers – when was the magical moment when you first got hooked?

I’m sure we all have similar stories – how we got hooked on photography, and it became less of a mild interest, and more of an over-riding fascination. A fascination bordering on compulsion, where you felt you just had to take photographs of everything around you. What was the moment where you realized you’re hooked on photography?

Let me kick this off then – My own interest in photography started somewhere during high-school years. I was an avid nature enthusiast as a child, devouring anything to do with animals and nature. From this I was also a keen bird-watcher.

My dad had a Praktica camera. In fact, it was the Praktica Mat model. Praktica cameras were made in East Germany. Solid in every aspect, and not as sweet and lithe as the Japanese cameras. But as a first camera, I loved using it. My first proper camera that was mine, and not just borrowed from my dad, was a Pentax ME Super, but I digress. My dad also had a Tokina 300mm f/5.6 with stop-down metering. This clunky old lens was my first step in trying to photograph animals and birds … and I soon realized that photography was far more interesting than passively observing animals.

That’s where it started for me. I steadily became more and more interested in photography, but there was one moment where I knew this is it, WOW!

I was kneeling on the bathroom floor, the windows blacked out with towels in a make-shift darkroom … and I was developing my first B&W print from the first roll of B&W film that I shot and processed myself. As that first image sprang to life and that white sheet changed into a black-and-white – an actual photograph! – that was it. Pure magic.

That first photograph I printed was of a Dalmatian we had as our family pet. I loved that dog! Disney had it right in how wonderful Dalmatians are. While I still have that original B&W negative, it is in deep archive. And by deep archive, I mean some random box deep somewhere in the basement. Instead, here is another photograph of another Dalmatian I had years later.

The photograph at the top is of Brakko, who was one of two dogs that I owned way back when we lived in South Africa. (This is from early 1990’s.) I used him as a test subject when I tried out my brand-new used flashmeter that I had just bought. The light is from an off-camera speedlight diffused through an umbrella that I lay on the ground.  Very simple lighting.  That guarded look on his face is because he wasn’t sure about an 80-200mm lens pointing straight at him.

Of the photos I took of him, I loved this very tight crop, with his eye the only bit of color in the frame .. aside from him not having had a bath in weeks and weeks.

Ok, your turn. Let’s hear about your moment when it just hit you that photography is something I just had to do.


contest (now closed)

With the kind sponsorship by Dream Strap, this article was tied in with a small contest where a Dream Strap camera strap could be won as a prize.The contest closed on Tue, Nov 19th, and on the 20th, a lucky number via a random-number generator was drawn, and the corresponding numbered comment here won the prize. Very democratic.

The winner is Jesse Rinka (comment #47), and my announcement of this is at comment #56

57 Comments, Add Your Own

  1. 1 says

    Nice discussion Neil. I think my magic moment was when I reached the top of a very challenging climb in 2010 and photographed the sunrise from there. Since then, I’ve always tried to re-create that moment with varying degrees of success.

  2. 2 says

    I was a 12 year old kid living in Brooklyn, NY. During the summer, my school offered a free (unheard of!) photography class. They loaned us these manual range finder cameras (I don’t remember the brand) and copious amounts of Tri-X and Plus-X film. I remember all I had to guide me back then was the ‘sunny 16’ rule. Our instructor would toss us all into a dark closet where we practiced loading film on to development reels (the plastic kind). After developing the film, we’d print it. I remember the first time I saw an image appear in a tray of Dektol … it was magic. I was hooked forever :)

  3. 3Ciaran Kelly says

    My mum was the only person in our locality who had a camera back in the early 1960s, and she used it to take hundreds of photos of her growing family. The camera (a Halina) was always a source of fascination for me, as was the little Rollei 35 which followed it. But the day my interest exploded was on my 18th birthday, when to my total surprise and delight my parents handed me my first camera (a Halina Paulette) as a present. The day I picked up my first set of prints from the lab comes a close second…..

  4. 4 says

    I’ve always taken snapshots, but in the spring of 2004, I took a photo of my elderly father-in-law as he walked back up the driveway towards his home. I caught him, his home and detached garage in silhouette with a soon to set sunset in the background. One of his last walks up that driveway became very meaningful to myself and the rest of the family when he passed away a short time after the photos was taken. We printed and shared the shot at his services and I got a lot of compliments on it. I started earnestly trying to take more artistic shots and then finally bought my first DSLR in 2006. It’s been a wonderful and rewarding learning experience ever since!

  5. 5Mariah Giles says

    Honestly, the moment I KNEW I always had to have a camera in my hand was when I was 10 years old. I had always watched my dad with his camera and was always in the darkroom with him (how I loved the smell of those chemicals!). But that one day, he decided I was big enough and took me out to a field where he talked about composition and focus and then went and sat down for me to take his photo. Boom! Hooked! I had already loved looking at my fathers numerous photos of the family and other events so I knew the emotional importance of them. But when I finally took MY FIRST PHOTO, that was my ah-ha moment. I still have that photo, 27 yrs later.

  6. 6 says

    I’d taken pictures with Kodak 110 & 126 cameras as a kid, but the magic moment came in my senior year of high school when I held my first SLR, a used Canon AE-1. Although I hadn’t taken a single photograph with it, I just knew right then I was going to be taking pictures the rest of my life. And since that day, me and my wallet have never been the same…

  7. 7 says

    I wanted to be a photographer since I saw an ad by Kodak about a young girl playing on the steps of a church and then being a woman getting married in the church. It was about time passing by. I knew then I wanted to record my own history. The real magic though happened the first time I saw an image come up in the developer. It was magic. And it was magic every time after that for as long as I printed my own work.

  8. 8Jim Wiscombe says

    For me it was when I borrowed my Brother-in-Laws Nikon with its high speed wind up motor attachment that allowed rapid 35mm shots. I took it to the sand dunes where I photographed nitro powered dragsters equipped with paddle wheels to allow them to speed along in the sand.

    After getting the photo’s back from the lab there was one particular shot wherein the shutter opened at the exact moment the rear wheels began to rotate stopping the motion of the paddle wheels with the sand just beginning to be ejected from the tires into the air; the background was a wall of sand from the other driver who was milliseconds faster on the throttle and had already moved beyond the frame.

    From that time onward I was pretty hooked on photography in general, and have spend countless hours, and dollars capturing the moments of life.

  9. 9 says

    I studied commercial design and ended up being a landscape artist (oils and acrylic). My fav paintings were when I captured the “light” just right – I’d go out with a camera and take the picture and come back to the studio and paint what I shot. The more paintings I came up with that had that certain lighting to them, the more I wanted to go out and take more pictures to paint! – I just finally realized that my photography was far more enjoyable (and much better than my paintings!!!) than sitting in the studio, so – I’m now a freelance wildlife/landscape photographer and have the October month posted in the Oregon Coast Calendar. My oils have since dried up…. ;-)

  10. 10 says

    When I was at high school – and into chemistry – I became fascinated with photography though only had one of those plasticky Kodak Instamatic thingies. Arming myself with all of my parents negatives (gathered over many years) I shut myself in a shed and, using a bicycle lamp (as a safety light) with a red cellophane chocolate wrapper as a filter, proceeded to try contact printing the negatives. Weeks later and I had managed to produce ONE image that was half decent. Unfortunately, I’d destroyed pretty much all of the negatives in the process.

    Years later, and with my own (tipping my hat to Neil here) interest in nature well grounded, I went and saw David Attenborough (the famous naturalist and tv personality) when he visited Australia in 1991. It was a Saturday when I saw him. So inspired by the experience I went out on the following Thursday and brought my first SLR – an Olympus OM-10.

    Twenty-something years later and I am still as avid in my photography as ever. Indeed I find it the one thing that transforms every other aspect of my life and pulls it all together.

  11. 11Gonzalo B. says

    I think my moment came when I read the Like Library of Photography books and the images there awakened a desire to share my own reactions to the world. I can’t draw so photography gave me the hope that I could create art.

  12. 12 says

    For me it was a dance recital that took place just outside of my old place of work. I had just picked up a 70-200 f4 and wanted to try it out… So I got in the middle of things, snapped a few photos… looked at the LCD and was blown away at the compression. It was the first time I looked at my camera and thought, wow… thats kind of cool. The reporter covering the event eventually made his way over to me and started chatting about how he knew nothing about photography… and was curious if I would send him a shot… which I did.

    My how things have changed since then. Now, I don’t reply on telephoto compression to impress clients, but instead, the subject matter. I also would never GIVE a photo to a publication without being fairly compensated.

  13. 13L Andin says

    Ok, I don’t remember exactly when the interest really sparked, but I have some early memories that is relevant.

    I as most others started with analog compact cameras, but my real photo interest started when I got a small compact digital camera (a Minolta). I never really cared for analog images with the slow feedback loop it gives but learning how to take pictures with a digital camera opened up the world of photography for me. When Canon released their first Canon Rebel I bought one as soon as it was possible. I even went to New York to buy it and I live in Europe (ok, I was in the US to visit friends, but I really took advantage of the opportunity :-) )! The feeling of having a “real” camera in my hands and taking pictures with it I would say was the real magic moment for me.

  14. 14 says

    I know exactly when I was first hooked on photography, I remember it like it was yesterday (and not 40 years ago!) because one of my favourite personal photographs came from that time. My Grandmother gave me a box brownie camera for my 9th birthday that had belonged to my Great Grandmother and I can still remember taking photographs of everything under the sun on the first roll of 120 film and posting it off to Kodak in the yellow envelope, waiting for two weeks (yes, two weeks) and finally looking at those prints. It seemed almost magical, and that feeling has never left me. Every single time I look at a great print of a photograph I have taken it takes me back to this very first portrait that I ever took, which happened to be of my Grandfather and is still my favourite pic of him:

  15. 15 says

    As a teenager I had a Nikon L135 compact film camera (I’m 44 now), shot the usual things like family and friends. Around 2004 my mother gave me her Olympus C-5060 or C-5050, I don’t remember as she had both, and I shot more family and more friends more often. In 2006 I went to a Supermoto Race in St.Wendel, Germany and became quite frustrated with the trusty “old” Olympus as the AF wasn’t the fastest. After some hard thinking it dawned on me that I could focus on the tarmac before the bikes pass, so I picked out one guy who always used the same racing line, focused on the spot of tarmac where I wanted to get him, waited another lap… and BAM! Nailed it! That was it, I was HOOKED!

    By the way, the shot I took was of Bernd Hiemer who won the World Championship that year.

  16. 16Dany says

    For me it started when i got a very tiny camera from my grand father it was a 8mm, from there I always had it and was the one who tooks family / holidays and friends pictures. But for me it becames a real kind of obsession 5 years ago, when I decided to do it in a less “magic” way and more “understanding” how it works, then I starded to train myself, and went to one of your workshop in Amsterdam, in parallel the instagram phenomena addiction …

  17. 17 says

    I traded my moped for a Minolta srt101 and a 45mm f/2 lens, and did not know what to do with it really. Just took some snapshots. My father tried to explain how I needed to tell a story with every image, but at that age I knew the best and was not too keen on advice. But at a family reunion I shot a couple of rolls of B/W film expecting it to be the same waste of money as usual. But when the pictures landed in the mail, there were some portraits with expressions and moments that will never come again. Some of those images are still my favourites today over 30 years later.

  18. 18Carl Grooms says

    in 1959 my mother gave me her Kodak Brownie to take a roll of film. i was 7. i have been interested in photography since. my parents dissuaded me from becoming a photographer though. i bought myself a Minolta SRT 101 for my 21st birthday that i had until it got stolen in a house break in a few years later. the expense of film limited how much photography i did as did having a family and little time to pursue photography as more than snapshots that i took at work as a contractor of jobs we did. i am retired now and can pursue the craft much more.

    i have recently looked through boxes of old photos and came across those first photos. how great to have them to help remember the past.

    i love living in the digital age!

  19. 19Seedeich says

    As a child I had inherited the old box camera of my aunt. Equippet with that camera I went by bicycle to the forest to photograph the burnt landscape after a fire.
    That roll of film made a twelve year old boy a proud photo reporter.
    At the age 14 I bought a manual 35mm viewfinder camera, a couple of books on photography and learned the craft.

  20. 20Mario Latronico says

    I remember the first set of photos, taken with a disposable camera during a play-day. Most of them were unusable, either overexposed or underexposed, but the other really exicted me, even if they probably were ugly. Later on I continued to take pictures with my father’s camera (an old Miranda Sensorex), learning the exposure and the framing.
    I now shoot after a long hiatus and every time I take a good shoot I feel the same emotion I did when I was young.

  21. 21Peter Durk says

    To be honest with you, 53 years is rather a long time to remember certain details in life. Suffice it to say that I have been hooked for that period of time.

  22. 22 says

    For the first time it was about 13 years ago – I had Canon A65(probably) for a few days and I totally loved it and learned everything about SS/aperture/ISO triangle. But I didn’t have any camera after that untill now. My brother wanted newer gear and gave me his “old” Konica Minolta Dynax 5D and Sony 1,8 SAM. It is amazing combo and I felt in love with photography, especially shooting my first newborn son. I think it shoots beautiful photos. I learn new things about photography every free minute and I think about new gear and future use. It is wonderfull hobby and maybe more in future.

  23. 24Greg Helms says

    My interest in photography started when I was 12 or 13 and found a Kodak Instamatic under the Christmas tree. I used this camera when I could save the money for film and development. I joined the Yearbook staff in high school and became the photographer using their Yashica Mat. I have been learning and trying since

  24. 25Jessica Joy Thompson says

    The day it all changed for me was the day I met you. Seriously. I remember you saying how much time and work goes into it and it made me want it more. You made it look so easy and I knew that it wasn’t. Your patience with people was surprising because I am sure that some of the questions came off as down right stupid, yet you answered them in a way that was “Oh I see your confusion”. To me it was not because of my passion or love to take photos, but the power that you can have with a camera. You can make a woman feel beautiful. You can create something. You can take complete control and be the boss in a way that is not pushy or obtrusive. That is what you did. That is what I wanted. I knew it was possible that day because I watched you do it.

  25. 26Lester Daniels says

    My fascination with photography became mania in 2008. I have always taken pictures of my family, but I also started learning that there was a “science” involved in taking pictures. This made me get deeper into photography and since then it is my “thing-to-do”.

  26. 27Hoang Nguyen says

    I actually love taking pictures since I was very young, but back in Vietnam in the early 80’s, having a camera was something no ordinary people could ever dream of. When I was fortunate enough to arrive in the USA, my dream came true when I bought a new Yashica 35mm point and shoot camera. I took it everywhere I went. Took photos whenever I could. I dropped it in water and yet it still survived. I have learned a lot about photography as I grow older but looking back at the photos taken years ago brought back so many wonderful memories.

  27. 28Alan Ramsey says

    I was never particularly interested in photography until i went to university and a friend commented that i should really get a”proper” camera. He had his dad’s old Minolta.
    Off i went to buy whatever i could and came back with a rangefinder ,a Zorki 4K with a Leningrad 4 lightmeter.

    I soon migrated to SLRs but the old rangefinder started it all. Someday when I’ve too much money, I’ll buy a Leica. Apparently they are even better than the Zorki

  28. 29James B says

    My kids were the reason I picked up a camera and started taking lots of pictures, but the real wow moment was when one morning I saw the sun streaming of the dew in the garden and I ran outside with my Panasonic G3 and the famous Lumix 20mm f1.7 lens and started snapping. One photo of some miniature daffodils just blew me away – the sun streaming through the clouds, twinkling dew drops on the petals and the grass in the background thrown out of focus with my first really good, fast prime lens. That photo one a prize in a local photography contest and for my birthday my wife had it printed out on a big canvas and it hangs in our living room, where the sun can catch it every day.

    It was only a few weeks later that my neighbor plucked up courage to ask me what I was doing in my boxers and t-shirt at 6am in the morning. I think she thought I’d been burying one of the family pets or something before the kids woke up. When we showed her the print on the wall her response was the same as mine that morning: “Wow!”

  29. 30Robert Rossi says

    It was in the mid 60’s for me. I was visiting a friend’s house and I saw his brother go into a closet in their garage. I asked him what he was doing, he told me developing some pictures. I asked if I could watch him, he said sure come in and turn off the lights. I saw the process from focusing the enlarger to the foggy print come up in the Dektol developer. It was a picture of a beautiful cheerleader. That sold me, I was hooked! My first camera was an Argus C-3 and a GE light meter. As a matter of fact my wife just bought me an old C3 for my birthday, it’s a deluxe model with a light meter in the hot shoe.

  30. 31manny says

    I have a Job that takes me all over the world . One day I was sitting in Tahiti and came to the realization that after all those years I had not documented one Iota of my travels . Well I went and got my self a little P&S to carry with me on my travels , that was nearly 15 years ago . My only regret is that the little P&S has turned into a DSLR , bag, lenses , you get the point . Have seen and documented many things in my travels . Oh and i still have that little P&S :)

  31. 33Charlene Lybarger says

    It started for my when my husband bought me my first digital camera.
    It seemed we never had the money to buy film or get it developed, but with my digital camera
    I could take pictures of anything and everything. And I did!!

  32. 34Al Guzman says

    Wow, back in 1993 my wife gave birth to our twin boys two months early and one of my boys experienced problems with a collapsed lung and the doctors gave him a 50/50 chance of survival. They both spent a month and a half in NICU and that was the longest and most trying time of our lives. I just remember thinking that I had to document this and purchased a pentax and everyday I photographed my boys recovery and I captured this photo of my wife with one of my boys. When I developed the photos I was hooked and wanted to photograph everything from that time on.

  33. 35Wallace Ferguson says

    I was a college freshman in 1981 when I found out the Architecture Department had a one year waiting list for entry.The Industrial Design class I took (while pondering my plight) assigned me to build a pin hole camera out of cardboard and aluminum foil. I didn’t even know such a thing was possible, but light leaks and all when I dropped my first piece of Kodak Polycontrast III RC in the developer and an image came up it was magical. I didn’t even know enough to realize that it was a negative. I just knew I had to do this.

  34. 36Charles says

    I started when I was 5 years old with an old 126 and shot my first wedding when I was a junior in high school. But the moment came for me when I was watching the 1972 Summer Olympics – gymnastics and saw the wonder and grace of Olga Korbut. I said to myself I have got to learn to shoot gymnastics and get serious about photography. My first event was the World Gymnastics Championships in 1985 in Montreal as a member of IFPO and got published in IG. That was the magical moment and have been hooked from then on.

  35. 37Nicole says

    I was 15 and an aunt flew me out to Hawaii to nanny for her kids while on vacation. I took my camera and shot…probably an insane number of rolls of film. As I looked through the viewfinder I found PURE MAGIC. This same aunt had an SLR and I asked her about it. She told me I needed to earn an SLR and from then on I was bound and determined to do so. I practiced with my P&S all through high school and as a graduation gift my aunt gave me the best gift I’ve EVER received – her SLR (she had upgraded). I still shoot with the lens she gave me. The magic has never stopped.

  36. 38 says

    When I was a kid I really enjoyed candid photography. At around age 10 my grandmother gave me a kodak disc camera as a gift when I went away to summer camp. I used to put a bucket of water on top of a door and hide in the bunkhouse and wait for someone to open the door and get of photo of them getting splashed.

    Years later , I rediscovered my love of photography when I started travelling alot. When I would come home and tell my friends about some of the amazing places I had seen , they never believed me. So I started travelling with a camera.And over time I started getting really good at photography. So I bought a more professional camera and started reading alot of material and learning. It had come to the point that I never leave home without my camera. I am addicted to taking photos. Finally I have an addiction that I cant get arrested for :)

  37. 39 says

    Neil my dream moment was when i was photographing a Bengal tiger in thick jungle.
    It started coming towards our vehicle with eye to eye contact & i was photographing with telephoto lens & final it came so close to me that i had to stop pressing shutter button & watch the charismatic beast passing 5feet from me :).

  38. 40michael says

    Neil, my first experience with photography was back in the 80’s when i was in my early 20’s reading lots of surfing mags and loving the pictures in them and deciding to have a go at surf photography myself. Armed with my new Richo KR10 SLR, an 80 – 210 lens and 2x converter which completely emptied my bank account at the time i started into an adventure which eventually grew into an obsession. The surf photography has been taken over by landscape (lots of traveling) and now bird photography (still lots of travelling)….who knows what direction it will take me next,(probably more travelling) but one thing for sure i think the passion/obsession will stay with me forever as will my love of travel and the search for that magic moment.

  39. 41Tara says

    Mine probably isn’t a unique story. When my daughter was born my in-laws bought me a camera. My favorite snapshot of my daughter is at 3 months when she would smile at me as I made goofy faces. Considering how colicky she had been I was elated to capture a moment that wasn’t shrieking. Since then I have been chasing genuine emotions on the faces of family members, grooms during the first glimpse of his love, mom’s pride at the sight of her new child…the list could go on forever. The technical aspect of photography appeals to my obsessive compulsiveness and the emotion appeals to the hopeless romantic in me. Sometimes I’m still in awe that I get paid to do something I love so much.

  40. 42 says

    Although I’ve always loved it since my parents first bought me a yashica point and shoot for a 6th grade school trip to the zoo, my first time thinking i could make money from doing something i love, has to be when i second-shot my now sister-in-law’s wedding in south africa about 5 years ago!

  41. 43 says

    I am not too sure when it all started but I think it’s because of this particular moment. As a kid in Mauritius with parents working hard to make ends meet, we did not have a camera. One of my uncles and one of my aunts each had a Pentax SLR. One day my aunt asked me to take a picture of her. I tried my best. I don’t recall having seen the print. To this day, Pentax holds a place in heart even if I shoot Canon. Fast forward to 1999 and I went to France for work, leaving my native land for the very first time. I did not own a camera, and had to buy a disposable film Kodak. I remember my dad and my youngest brother not understanding why I kept taking pictures without any people in them. I guess this explains why I like taking landscape pictures today. In fact, if it were not for Neil’s blog, I would not have tried to improve my people photography.

  42. 44Andre Bonnet says

    I think the minute that I saw that I could freeze the beautiful smiles of my friends from our debaucherous nights out, or the frenzied excitement of a good punk show, or just the moments shared amongst loved ones that hold no meaning to anyone but the participants I was hooked. I was about 19 having received a gift of a cheap thrift store SLR with a 50mm lens. After seeing what was possible in a friends dark room, I never turned back. Now I am reigniting my love with having to learn digital and keep track of my young family’s adventures.

  43. 45 says

    Not sure of the exact date but it was during the tail end of the 60’s. I was living in Sweden and my grandfather took out an old photo album from a trip he had made to Africa early in his life. He wasn’t a professional photographer, in fact he was a furniture maker. I so taken back by his photos. To me they told stories that motion pictures couldn’t. I stared at each picture in the album, for what seemed to be hours. Every time I went back after that I took out the same album. That was the defining moment for me. Since those days I don’t remember ever not having a camera, whether it was a 110, a point-and-shoot, SLR or DSLR. I LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY.

  44. 46 says

    I was happy not even owning a camera and then my brother presented me a basic point and shoot. I was 40 years old and never ever even thought of taking photographs as a hobby. But gadgets fascinated me. So searching on Google for ISO, aperture and TV mode opened up a brand new world to me.

    Now I am trying to stop being an accountant and do the work I love, spending way too much money and even more time on just how to shoot better.

  45. 47 says

    This is a tough one. But I guess I’d have to say that the moment the magic happened for me was the day I saw my first enlargement framed and up on a wall. I knew I loved photography the second I picked up my first DSLR but the satisfaction that comes from seeing your hard work up on display, whether its just on a wall in your own home, or at a friends/clients home…it’s tough to truly describe. I’m one who believes that no matter how nice an image looks on a computer screen…it never compares to how it looks in a print.

  46. 48 says

    The magical moment for me happened around 1961 when I was eight years old. During that summer I had collected hundreds of labels from inside coke bottle tops, pasted them onto pre-printed sheets, and sent them to Coca Cola. For my efforts, I received a Herco Imperial Sixty-Twenty camera in the mail. The first photo I ever took was of the oldest silver back gorilla in captivity in his outside cage at the Philadelphia Zoo. Everything about the camera was so fascinating; putting in the film, looking through the viewfinder, taking the shot, advancing the film, and then taking the film to get developed with the mystery of not knowing what the shoots would look like. The magic still happens when I take a portrait with my Canon DLSR and nail it, so to speak.

  47. 49Steve combs says

    When I was 15 I became the junior photographer at my high school newspaper. I took shots of the homecoming court, covered football, basketball and other games & events. All was done with a 50’s Speed Graphic ( it did have a Graphlok back and would take a 120 film back, Polaroid back and the standard 2.25 x 3.25 plate film back as well ). I’d set up the darkroom in the upstairs bathroom about once a week to develop and print the week’s shots. This was back in 1965 – 1966. Never got the news photographer bug BUT definitely got bit by the photography bug! A few years later bought my first 35mm, a Canon Ftb. Didn’t get my focusing screen back until my 40D (for those who’ve never used a view camera, you could focus on a ground glass screen with the shutter locked open and THEN put the film carrier in, cock the shutter, remove the dark slide and take your shot! Live view on the 40D and my new 5D, as well as many others, gives me my ground glass screen back! ).

  48. 50 says

    Hey Neil! I just stumbled across your site yesterday while googling tips on using flash. I must say… I have hit the jackpot. Thank you so much for taking tons of time out of your day to teach photographers about the freaky realm of flash photography. I’m so excited to see that you update very frequently and will be visiting over and over. And over.

    I honestly feel like with each shoot, I improve. Even in the tiniest of ways. And seeing that improvement is exciting to me. So, pretty much every time I pick up my camera, that’s the moment that I know I love photography. That I need to do it. I HAVE to do it. I look forward to improving and seeing myself become more of the photographer I want to be… That’s the best kind of satisfaction.

  49. 52Peter Salo says

    It was sometime in the late 60’s when I was bitten by the proverbial photography bug at the age of 11 or 12. I had taken a bunch of snapshots over the years but one day a helicopter landed nearby and a private Catholic High School. I grabbed the only camera that was available to me, a Kodak Brownie and climbing the fence and ran through the woods to find the chopper that was parked on the tennis court. This day I didn’t take snapshots… I suppose you could say that this became my first photographic “project”.

    I found myself taking pictures not just of the machine, but of the pilot as well. He had some time on his hands and was writing a letter so, I climbed in the back seat and shot over his shoulder to catch him writing, pen in hand with the instrument panel and that big “bubble” windshield in the background. I photographed him as he inspected the helicopter and got a bunch of close-ups and wide shots from way back.

    And wouldn’t you know, he asked me if any of my friends were around and if so, I should run off and find a few of them. When I got back with two neighborhood kids, he started the engine and took us all for a ride! I’m now thinking, “wow this camera makes opportunities appear out of thin air”.

    When his passengers arrived I also photographed them as they got in and when he took off, he flew a couple hundred yards away, over a soccer field, hovered and waited for me to get there and then, flew right at me about 40 ft over my so I could get the shot of the day!!!

    That was it for me. A couple years later I got my Minolta SRT 101 with a 50mm, a 200mm and a top of the line Honeywell flash on a bracket that even had built-in rechargeable batteries. I was hooked and spent the next few summers going to the stock-car races and getting myself into the “pits” to shoot the action close up. I was under age (13-14 yrs old) and no one under 16 was permitted in the pits. Even though my older brother was on someone’s pit crew, I’m going to credit my professional looking gear for giving me the additional street cred that got me into best shooting areas!

  50. 53 says

    I saved up from summer jobs and bought a Minolta SRT 201 after my freshman year in college. One of the guys on my hall sophomore year was a yearbook photographer and got me started shooting for the college yearbook. All black and white in those days. I think they shot one roll of color for the whole yearbook. Anyway, the first time I saw that print come up in the darkroom tray I was hooked!

  51. 54 says

    My love of photography started as a child. I wanted to capture memories. My pets, my family and nature. I remember getting a developing kit, from Sears of all places, that stoked my interest. Now, I love seeing my two teen daughters share a similar love.

  52. 55 says

    I started taking photos in the late70s, but it was the B&W darkroom I built and used in our basement throughout the 90s that hooked me on photography. Those film B&W images are still some of my favorites.

  53. 57 says

    I became ” photoamateur ” latterly.
    The hardest thing is when you find a hobby like that when you have a family.

    By the way, I`m curious how you guys deal with it ? ;-)

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