Many times I am asked when I started taking photos. Very often I will answer, since I was 12. Yes! I was 12 when I remember learning to love to take a photo, make it interesting and produce awe inspiring photos. At least, awe inspiring to a 12 year old. :) What I don't often say though when asked this question is who inspired my love of photography. It was my dad. He loved photography too and owned and used a SLR camera when he was younger. So he knew a bit of what he was doing. We were at the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Festival that year when I was 12. That is when it started.
I remember the dawn breaking over the sky as hot air and noise and beautiful, vivid colored balloons filled the giant field. Completely surrounded by the beauty of the moment, I wanted to capture the balloons on our family camera. Dad patiently showed me what to do. I don't have a great memory of a lot of the details of that trip, but I very clearly remember that. Not only wanting to take the photos but wanting to really show what it was that I was seeing. Through my eyes directly to the camera. Taking the shot from the ground pointing directly up at the balloon made a perfect circle in the frame that filled the photo with blue sky and colorful balloon. I fell in love.
When I turned 16 and was heading off to spend a semester in New Zealand, my parents bought me my first Nikon. I loved that camera. I took my first photography class when I was living in NZ. This is when I fell more deeply for photography. I knew it was the path for me. I have never wanted anything else since.