I started in photography in ninth grade (1978) with my Dad's Yashica TL Electro that he bought on his way back from the Vietnam war (1972). I got proficient at snap shots and figured out shutter speed and f stop settings. In tenth grade I went to a high school that had a magnet program for photography and was introduced to the dark room. I learned how to develop negatives and print images in both black & white and color. It was here that I learned techniques that are essential to making good images. We used these ancient medium format cameras - which brand I don't recall - and it was a pain to haul them around to take images.
After high school I continued taking images and found that my interest in birdwatching and photography mixed nicely. I bought a used K series Pentax that came with a 35mm and 200mm lens. I used this camera up until the late eighties when I purchased a Canon T-90.I now shoot with a Canon DSLR. I learned a great deal about good big lens technique from a forum call Naturescapes.net, and it shows in the images I now produce.
I grew up in California, and live in San Diego