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It all started for me when I got my first job, followed by my first pay cheque. I immediately went out and bought a Canon Powershot S1 IS. An incredibly capable camera... that I used exclusively in fully automatic mode. As you can imagine I was sorely disappointed that the images I was taking with this expensive camera didn't look a whole lot different than the ones I shot with my crappy point-and-shoot.
Given that the S1 had a fully manual mode, I decided to learn how to use it. I got myself a book on exposure theory, and spent an entire summer just giving myself little photography assignments -- for example, one day I might just go out and shoot nothing but doors -- and I tried to make something interesting out of it. As I had already been doing design work, I gave myself the restriction that I wouldn't photoshop any of my images while I was learning -- it would have been too easy to fall back on it as a crutch. That taught me how to exploit the camera's setting to achieve whatever aesthetic I had in mind.
That stuck! Now I travel the world, and I always have my camera with me. I love shooting urban landscapes, especially at dusk when the sky is that deep indigo blue colour.