Actually, I wasn’t really interested in photography till my 23. I had a couple of times when I took several photos by that moment but, honestly, it wasn’t serious. It was like “OK! If nobody else wants to take a shot, I’ll do it!” But then it happened that I occurred in the photo equipment store just a couple of weeks after my university graduation. And there I had to study cameras, films, flashes, tripods, and so on. Quite natural to my mind that after I’ve learned the technical basics, I started to interest photography itself, as a human activity, as an art.
But the only interest as it is not enough for getting decent photographs. Nowadays, I know and notice, many people think that you became a photographer immediately after purchasing your first DSLR or mirrorless. Why does nobody think that way about music? (Here’s the answer I invented just now: because not a single musical instrument plays music after you give it an introductory pair. And that’s the main trap of digital photography to my mind.)
As for me, I’ve stopped to shame call myself a photographer only when I started to earn with photography. Honestly, that’s another extreme. Now I think that even if you’re not working as a photographer but spend much of your free time for shooting, processing, and, of course, learning photography, you are a photographer. Not a pro, yes, but sometimes that’s really better.
Frankly, I hadn’t an idea what exactly and how to shoot properly in order to express myself, to transfer what I feel till my 29. That’s when I bought my first camera. It was a Canon EOS 450D, the simplest and cheapest DSLR at that moment. But I didn’t buy a starter kit (my ambition didn’t let me!). I’ve purchased it with Canon EF 50mm/f1.4 USM lens. And I still have it in my bag! Honestly, now I use it quite rarely but when I take it that means I really need it.
I think that in some way this limit (I mean the focal length of my sole lens in combination with the camera crop factor) pushed me to find something, to invent the ways of how to show the beauty I saw with the equipment I had. Of course, now I know much more about using almost any lens in nature photography but at that moment it was quite hard for me. I very seldom got the results I really liked. Nevertheless, there are few photos from that time I still love.
Read further: Part 2. Don’t Drown!