When I was about 11, I sneaked outdoors with my mother's Kodak twin lens reflex camera and took my first pictures. I don't recall getting in trouble for it but when the film came back from the lab (you had to send it away somewhere for processing in those days), I'm sure she wondered where the strange shots of trees in the woods behind our house came from.
This was my first experience behind the lens, or should I say above it, since the twin lens reflex was held at waist level and one looked down into the viewfinder to compose and take the picture.
None of those early photos exist anymore and only a few extremely faded ones from the Polaroid Swinger I received for Christmas later that year, given to keep my hands off Mom's camera, I'm sure. They weren't much to speak of, just simple snapshots, and not many of them since film and processing was a luxury in those days.
But they ignited a passion for photography that burns ever brighter as I get older. It still amazes me that a moment in time can be captured forever with a little box, a machine that must be loved, learned, and well understood for it to give its best. My cameras are my friends, I can hardly bear to part with one even when it's hopelessly obsolete. They've gone with me to the tops of mountains, they've been there for me in times of despair, they wait patiently for the next adventure. You're invited to tag along with us. And do bring your camera!