I come from an era that pre-dates digital. I’m not sure if those of you who have only ever known digital are at an advantage over me. My first experience with a camera was my sisters Kodak Brownie 127. I was only ever allowed to play with it when it had no film in it. Of course when I became interested in photography and acquired my first camera I immediately understood why. It was seriously expensive. I liked shooting kodachrome slides, even worse. What added to my sense of woe was the realisation that I was a rubbish photographer.
My first SLR was a Zenith EM. I was definitely a gadget freak then, as I wanted an off camera flash, which meant a bracket, and if there was one available for the zenith I would have tried to obtained a 250 exposure back. Heaven knows how I would have afforded that. Then I discovered monochrome, and found that it was easier and cheaper than colour to process, so I built my first darkroom. I’d joined the local camera club by then, that’s probably where I acquired my enlarger. Ken was a big member of the local camera club, and the local butcher, he seriously encouraged me. I only wish I’d worked on my photographic technique. I remember one photo I produced that I did like, it was a ploughed field, and minimalist in its own way. Sadly, my skills still hadn’t developed.
My first really proper camera was a Canon AE-1, bought because my friend Steve had one, not just to copy him, but because it was a seriously good camera. My skills? No. Having better kit doesn’t make you a better photographer. I can’t remember what happened to the AE-1, I must have lost interest, and possibly sold it. A few years later circumstances enabled me to buy very cheaply a comprehensive Praktica BX-20 and an assortment of lenses, including its monstrous 500mm . I sold that as well.
My next venture in to photography wasn’t until a few years later when I acquired my first digital camera. I think the sensor was 1/2 a megapixel, or something ridiculously small. Anyhow, my phone has a 12 megapixel camera, and I use that almost exclusively now, although I do have a reasonable entry level DSLR.
My photographic skills? Any photo that comes out of me, that anybody else classes as good, is almost entirely, but not completely down to luck.