When I was a kid my father always had a camera with him. He had an old Pentax film camera, that was so state of the art it is still probably a great camera in the current market of digital SLRs. I remember him explaining how the shutter speed and the aperture work together to create the crisp picture I saw as an end result. Back then you had to wait until your picture was developed to see if it was as good as you remembered.
My first pictures were not so great as I experimented. Too slow shutter speed leading to shaking, not perfect focus leading to blur. When I finally got my first digital SLR I was so astound to find how much more professional my pictures looked. This wasn't because of my abilities as a photographer, but because of the higher quality lens and the increase in amount of pixels I could get in my pictures. Now a lot of photographers will say that it is not the equipment that makes the photographer. Let me disagreee in part. I am definately a firm believer in the concept of a sturdy foundation to photography and without it no matter if you have a $5000 kit or $500 kit your pictures will always be terrible, however, I also believe that once you understand and develop your eye there are pictures that can be improved with the right piece of equipment.
I fondly remember the 2MP point and shoot Canon camera that I had bought with my own money. The picture quality was fine but any zoom into the picture would show exactly how many pixels there were. Enter my first Nikon D50. It was my first digital SLR and I had a great time taking thousands of pictures with it. The shear amount of pictures I could take and review instantly made it fun. I could experiment with so many options and not care about cost of film. I learned about low exposure and night photography and invested into better gear, from filters to macro lenses. I did this out of love and care. It never crossed my mind that my pictures were any good. I kept at it and kept improving. Years later I got a better camera the Nikon D300, again, not because I thought it was going to make me take better pictures but because I was pushed to want more from my camera. My D50 started to show its limitations and while great for my initial exploration I found more and more instances that I needed faster response that only a more sophisticated camera could give me.
For those who wonder I am not a person that collects cameras or equipment I don't use. I had always a limited budget which allowed me to be careful with my purchases. I still use my D300 and I found new uses for my D50 with infrared (although the camera feels slower now more than ever). Like others I have longed for newer cameras and if I look really hard my pictures could use some more pixels or better ISO handling, however, if I never stuck with my cameras for as long I have I wouldn't know it as well, and wouldn't be able to instantly adapt to the scene as I do now. With every new camera comes a period of learning. The more pro your camera gets the longer that period will be. Yes you don't need that better lens or camera body to improve as a photographer, but it will blow your mind once you have it when you know what you are doing because you will see the difference.
I will talk about these experiences in my blog and let you see what I did to better my photography. I will try and give you links to sites I use for processing and inspiration. This blog is not for professionals but for amateurs and enthusiasts. It is for the people who want to learn a trick or two with what they already have or to know what directions they might want to follow with their photography.
The fun I have been having with photography never stopped. It is still going on every time I take a picture. I don't think I can say I am an expert but that I learn everyday something new. The day I wake up and see no progress in my pictures I will trade my camera for a point and shoot one.