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    Hello Community!

    I have always really enjoyed hearing stories about where the passion begins. The stories of your first love of photography.
    So, I would love for you to share! If anything, I hope it gets some of us back to the roots of why we love the craft in the first place and for the newer guys (and the fauxtogs too) realizing why it’s something so special to us and using that to draw inspiration for improvement and growth!

    I promise to read all of them at least 🙂


    I fell in love with photography back in 2003. I was in college in Southern California and under an exchange program that my school offered, I attended the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Croix for one semester. Prior to my trip, my mom gave me a 2.0 megapixel Canon PowerShot for my birthday. I knew this trip would be the trip of a lifetime, and I wanted to capture that memory but I didn’t like the idea of waiting to develop film.

    During my time in St. Croix, I visited other Caribbean islands like St. Thomas and St. John USVI, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Antigua, and Martinique. The Caribbean, especially St. Croix and St. John, are just beautiful places with its clear turquoise water and practically white sandy beaches. The landscape pictures I took of all the beaches I’ve been to were absolutely gorgeous. I remember after visiting a new beach, I would take my favorite picture from my camera and use it as my new wallpaper for my computer. To this day, I still take scenic pictures and use them as my wallpaper.

    When the semester was over, I came back to my hometown. I showed the pictures to my friends and one told me I should sell them as postcards. Even though I took landscape pictures from a point-and-shoot, they are by far, still my favorite pictures 10 years later.

    Here are my favorite Caribbean pictures taken from my 2.0 megapixel Canon PowerShot and slightly edited in Photoshop:

    St. John

    Buck Island Beach

    Buck Island

    Sunset Over St. Croix

    Sunrise Over Antigua

    This one below is still my favorite picture. I remember taking this picture in St. Maarten as I was boarding the cruise ship. I was surprised how the picture turned out.
    Sunset Over St. Maarten

    My St. Croix experience sparked an interest in landscape photography. I would want to visit national parks just to take awesome landscape pictures.

    Here are more landscape pictures I took years later:

    Dusk at Lakeside Beach
    St. John

    I purchased my first DSLR, a Nikon D50, in 2006 and continued to take more landscape pictures. For a couple of years, I was just taking pictures in auto mode, and then later fiddled around with the shutter speed and aperture.

    Even when I was either shooting with a point-and-shoot or auto mode on my DSLR, many people told me I have a good eye for photography. I think it’s because the way I frame my shots.

    I took an online photography class from my local community college just last Spring. I already had prior knowledge in shutter speed and aperture, but it pushed me to take more and more pictures, as well as thinking about my shots. The teacher seemed to be impressed with my shots and I received an A in the class.

    Here are a couple shots from my final project:

    Marc at 18B Arts District

    I took the shot below by setting my camera on a tripod and putting it on a timer.

    Anjanette and Marc at 18B Arts District

    This sparked an interest in take pictures of people. After doing my first trade for print shoot for a calendar last September, I’ve been really hooked on photography to the point where I think about it and talk about it all day and night. It’s starting to get to the point where I’m getting bored of my full-time job and freelance job (web/graphic design). Maybe I’m more excited about photography because it’s a new thing of mine,  and I’ve been getting mostly positive feedback about my pictures. I would love to focus on my photography full-time, but I know it’s a hard career to get into. Considering that I’m primarily bringing in income between my husband and I, along with the fact that I have so much more to learn, I know I can’t jump right into being a full-time photographer.



    My interest was sparked when I was little. My dad always did photography as a hobby. He did shoot a couple weddings, but that was for friends/family. Mostly he shot macro. I used to LOVE going out on walks with him and then admiring his shots after they were developed.  As I got older I got my own camera and found that I loved photographing people. Several years ago I was talking with my grandpa and I found out that he used to be really in to photography as well. And when my Dad was younger my Grandpa actually had a dark room setup in his basement. So I guess it is in my genes. Photography is my main job. I am fortunate enough to be in a situation where my husband makes enough money to support our family so that I can have my photography as my full-time job.

    Now my 10 year old son is interested in photography and I have been slowly teaching him. He went out and snapped 150 pictures the other day (his first time using my camera and I made him shoot on manual). It was interesting to see what he found interesting…and we went through each picture and talked about what could have improved it, or why it would be considered a throw away.  About 90-95% were throw-aways, but he did have a select few that I edited and they turned out pretty nice.


    I also has a great interest when I was really young. The neighborhood I grew up in was at a high elevation with a nice view of the lake so we always had gorgeous sunsets to view. I used to take my family’s old point-and-shoot film camera and some disposable cameras and take tons and tons of sunset pictures. Some of them looked pretty nice. I also liked taking pictures of flowers and my pets.

    My dad had done some photography, mostly way before I was born. He grew up in a small town and was good friends with this guy named Steve. My dad bought a “nice” SLR camera and Steve liked it and bought one himself. Well, Steve and his wife went on to be the owners of one of the most successful photography studios in the area. My dad shot one or two weddings but never got into the business side of it.

    I got involved in 4-H when I was 11 and enrolled in the photography project and entered some in the fair. That was where I got my first “real” critique. The judges told me that I should not center my subjects and instead use the rule of thirds. I remember being a little crushed that I didn’t get many blue ribbons (first place) that year but you know what? That was great! I always loved art ever since I was young too, and most art instruction I’ve had has helped me develop my photography. My first digital camera was this huge clunky Polaroid camera that was probably less than one megapixel and produces the most pixelated photos. I was about 12 when I got it as a hand-me-down. I used to set up my stuffed animals against bedsheets and put “props” in the photos. It was pretty pathetic really! When I was 16 I got a Canon Powershot A510 for my birthday and it had “manual” settings where you could change the shutter speed and aperture. I didn’t know what any of that meant at the time but once I started college and got in a photography class I started playing around with that, and actually got some really nice photos with it.

    That being said, I never would be where I am today without the college courses I took and the job experience that fell into my lap working for a photographer named Michelle (who I only met because I sold her a pair of shorts on craigslist!!)

    I’m not sure if anyone can see this photo due to privacy settings, but try it anyway. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4890891922241&set=a.1002219427859.2000153.1596030065&type=3&theater

    Worst Case Scenario

    I started out selling darkroom equipment in London. I won’t say how long ago it was, but the camera shop I was based in still had had some old boxes of flash powder in back of the store room.


    I started out as every cliche’ artist does. It was in my bones, my soul. It made me feel alive for the first time.

    I began taking photographs as a child, egar to learn more. A photograph here, another there. It was my secret magical moments between my camera and I. My foster mother first got me into is. She taught me the importance of a moment. How you should capture every memory and put in a jar so it’s yours forever. The first time I took a photograph that I would consider more than just a snap shot was when I was twelve. I began with film, but sadly, wasn’t as engaged in it as I wished. I recieved my first Digital Camera at 14 and that’s when I really started. Trees, flowers, animals, random people. I was everything a fauxtographer was, but aspired to become something more. I studied every night, constantly. Apature, shutter, manual, anything. Sadly, I became distant with my camera when I began dating my first serious boyfriend. I was 15-16, he was 17-18 and it lasted a little over a year. After it ended, I felt like such a void. A part of my soul was missing.

    I remember laying in bed one night, crying to my sister about my heartache. I wished I had more photos to cling to, to stare at. And that’s when I really knew what I wanted to do. That’s when I knew I wanted to take as much photographs as I could. Every moment of the day, If I could. I saved up every dime I could until I finally purchased a cheap Rebel T3I on sale on black friday. I was so excited. It was more than just a camera, it was my way of expression.

    Over time, I upgraded to a Canon 60D and enhanced my skills. At first, I wanted to please everyone with my photographs. Take what they wanted, what they found beautiful. As I progress, I took photographs for myself. What I liked, how I saw the world. It was then that I became a photographer instead of a fauxtographer. When the worlds opinion no longer mattered and my soul was lit on fire when the click of my camera.



    I got my first P&S (Canon I think) when I was about 7 from my dad and started shooting everything. Sure the photos were not good but then when I was about 15 I bought my first SLR which was a Canon 300V. A couple of thousand shots later through that later I borrowed my dad’s old work camera for durability and better lens reasons while I was in the military, a Pentax KX and from there things really took off. Six months later I got my first digital camera, a Canon 350D which was so much easier to learn with as you got that instant feedback. Then things continued spiralling and thousands upon thousands of shots have been taken over the years since and it was indeed sad when that 350D finally died, at least it got got off a great final shot of two of my friends on the first dance at their wedding.


    I took my first photo when I was 8-9 (2005), and visiting some family who was doing volunteer work in Costa Rica. I remember we pulled over onto the side of a road because of something interesting, and I asked my grandpa if I could take a photo. He wanted to be really careful with the film since he only brought a couple of disposable cameras, so he taught me how to frame the shot and then let me take one.

    http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2013/145/e/3/scan_by_maniiacy-d66lljl.jpg (Sorry it’s a link, I can’t insert an image here?)

    And so it began..


    I took my first photo with an old Canon 35mm Rebel that was given to me by my mother, of my younger sister throwing a large oversize teal ball around the yard. There was something so warm and heartfelt when I got the film developed of my sibling who I cherish and the moment of her childhood I didn’t just take a snapshot of, but an actual portrait of her youth.


    I’ve been an addict ever since.


    I always loved the art of capturing images. I remember at 8 years old I got a kodak 110 film camera. I had a blast photographing anything that moved.

    At about 12 I teamed up with my brother and a couple of our friends, and we made our first film using dad’s old handycam. It was a vampire flick. (It was terrible.)

    At 15 I had saved up for my own camcorder. I went to live with my aunt in Florida for the summer, and made many a films.

    While in high school, I got an opportunity in the TV industry. A local program that was broadcast to a 5 state market needed someone to time tapes. It was a small job, but it got my foot in the door. I sat in a room during recording, and I logged the timecode as tapes were being recorded (this was in the day that tape to tape editing was still common).

    Much like the Dread Pirate Roberts, I stuck to that job, learning anything I could from anyone who would teach me, and slowly worked my way up. A producer for the network the show was on took me under his wing, and gave me one-on-one training on just about every piece of studio gear out there. By the time I was ready to move on, I could run an entire control room of a TV studio, and had developed a pretty good eye for shot composition as well.

    From there, I took an assortment of jobs in the audio/video world, gaining more experience and amassing my own stash of gear, until I was able to start up my own business. It was slow at first, but a good connection got me in doing a corporate promotional video. One thing led to the next, people started seeing my work, and I found myself producing videos for several large businesses. (I won’t name names, but if I were to, I’m certain that at least the Americans here would know them.)

    Then came late 2008. With several of the people who used to hire me jumping off their buildings, saved only by their golden parachutes, my business took a bit of a downturn. I kept myself busy, but I was taking on a lot of projects that weren’t as fulfilling. I bought a basic DSLR at this time, and started exploring my first love, the still image.

    Eventually I was offered a position doing something totally off the beaten path – helping kids by running a group home for troubled teens. I jumped on it, moved 400 miles away, and started my life teaching social skills to kids who have none. It’s intense work at times, so one of the requirements is that I can’t have a second job. This meant no more video production, but I was really getting into photography as a hobby.

    Fast forward to today, and here I am. Still helping kids, and still doing photography as a hobby. Video and photo really are closely related, so it was easy to make the jump, but I will admit that I am still learning. I would very much like, once I leave this position someday, to shift into doing photography full time. I’m not ready for that yet, but I find something to shoot every day, I have read hundreds of books on the subject, and with luck, I will be eventually.

    And that’s me in a nutshell. 🙂

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