I have always been interested in Photography, when I was a kid I would steal my aunt's camera whenever I got the chance. I was never one of the kids that was in the photos because I was trying to take them. For the most part I missed out on the film age because by the time that I could afford a camera of my own to take photos with, the digital age was starting.
My digital camera history started with a Casio QV-300. A very early model which cost an arm and a leg and didn't even have a flash, it was also clunky, killed batteries in a fashion that would make manson blush and most of all, possessive of horrendous image quality. Receiving that at 17 was however formative in that I actually owned a digital camera. I was hooked on the speed with which a person could take a photo, put it on the PC and print. I also liked the instant gratification that I received in that I could see if pictures were blurry etc.
The Casio inevitably languished because it ate batteries too fast and was useless in anything other than direct sunlight for about 10 minuites. I moved on and put my photography aside for a while. It wasn't until I had my student loan that I purchased what I would describe as my first "Real" camera. A Fuji Finepix F601z. A camera that for the money paid (£450 6 years ago) delivered great results. Results that I could put on the internet, for by then I had access and that I could print without worrying that the light was all over the place because it had a flash, some semblance of ISO and a PASM user interface. However I shot mostly on auto. Photography to me was art not science and I didn't understand the relationship of the two. The Finepix served me well until my girlfriend's Nephew dropped and broke it. It was a sad day but one which I believe completely changed my outlook on photography and moved it from an interest to a hobby.
My girlfriend's brother brought me to the local camera shop and asked me to pick a replacement. I chose a Finepix S5500. This at last was a camera that felt like a camera. It had a hand grip, a flash housing and for all intents and purposes looked like a "pro" camera. I didn't understand what SLR Was at the time but knew this looked like what they shot with on TV. I love my Fuji and despite it passing on to my partner, it's still regarded as "My" Fuji. It has served me very well and it was the camera that I learned how to adjust aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation and actually started learning the science of photography from. It's since been handed to Debbie who is learning from it too and I cannot reccomend it highly enough as a great step down from a DSLR for those wanting to learn more without investing hundreds in a DSLR system.
Another seminal day came for me after my Girlfriend's sister's wedding. I was asked by the groom "Would you like a SLR" to which I replied yes of course. I was given a Pentax K1000 SLR camera with the SMC 50mm f/2.0 lens and a 75-150mm zoom lens. Prior to this I had adjusted shutter, aperture, focus and zoom on the rear of a camera. The K1000 allowed me to do most of this on the lens. I felt for the very first time like a photographer. I wanted to know more about the camera I had been given and found out it was a K1000, the years that it was made, that it was a first generation K1000 and that it was considered by many to be the beginners camera for the SLR world of photography. I wanted a DSLR. I wanted the best of both worlds, I wanted to be able to have the feeling of digital photography with the feeling of film SLR photography. I had bought into the Pentax system because I had two lenses and a compatible flash so therefore felt that Pentax was the way to go.
I purchased my first DSLR, a K100D from Pentax in 2007 and have not looked back. I believe that my photography is getting better with every shot that I take and my lens collection has taken off. I currently own 11 lenses in various aperture and focal lengths and my photography has gone from strength to strength. I feel that I can apply myself to the situation and learn from it and take photos that I can be proud of. My K100D has been through a lot of rough and tumble and I have taken it places where I didn't think that I would want to bring a camera, for example a Mosh Pit.
Nothing is invincible and I dropped my K100D + Tamron 70-300 lens in Dec 2009. The K100D is a writeoff, I might resurrect it at a later date but I doubt that for now it can be replaced. It's the camera that made me a photographer, the camera that made me a hobbyist. It's the camera that I constantly can recall going "Ooh...that's how that's done" on.
I have a K7 now, my second Pentax DSLR and my third Pentax camera. At time of writing it is less than a month old but I look forward to taking great photos this year and the year after, and the year after with it. I am hoping to have it's first big outing in May to shoot the reception and after party of a friend's wedding. It will probably be the biggest thing that I have done with my photography because I intend on making a book for him to celebrate the event.
Well that's my photography so far. I will update in three years time.