When I was 10-years old, my parents bought me dozens of rolls of 127 roll film, a decent camera, and everything needed to develop and print black & white film. Even at that age, I connected with taking and making images of the people and world around me at a very visceral level.
I got a Canon Demi half-frame camera in eighth grade and started a long love affair with 35mm film. Moved up to a Canonflex RM SLR with a 50mm f1.8 lens at age 14; and for my 16th birthday, my parents gave me a Canon F-1 - a beautiful machine that I still have today, and which still works perfectly.
In between my first photos and now, I've shot everything from 8x10, 5x7 and 4x5 view cameras to minox B and C spy cameras along with almost every film format in between. I've shot Leicas, Nikons, Nikkormats, Minoltas, Besselers, Bronicas, Mamiyas, Rolleiflexes, Hasselblads, Rapid Omegas, Kodaks, Olympuses, Honeywell Pentaxes, Agfas, Anscos, Panasonic Lumixes, Fujis, Keystones, Richoflexes, Yashicas, Sonys, Bell & Howells and Polaroids; I've shot straight 8, super 8 and 16mm movie film cameras and even owned a Canon Scoopic 16mm film camera for a time.
In my film days I shot a lot of black and white and never let anyone develop or print any of it...only me; I hated the idea that someone else would decide how the final image might look. When I moved to color, I shot transparency film, and Kodachrome - especially Kodachrome 25 - was my favorite; it was so beautifully saturated and rich. The big advantage to shooting transparencies (or 'slides') is that, barring potential problems in the automated processing step, no one could change the framing or character of the image I captured. The big disadvantage to shooting transparencies is that you need to always be mindful of everything in the frame, because there isn't an easy way to crop and re-balance the image...I learned life-long lessons about mindfulness and composition from using that medium for a lot of years.
During college, the light meter on my F-1 stopped working. I didn't have the money to get it fixed, so instead I just shot by feel; by looking at the light and thinking about how much and what kind of light the film would need to give me the shot I wanted. Not that I didn't blow some shots now and then, but over the two years I shot meterless (and of course with manual focus, because that's just the way things were), I developed (pun intended) a real physical feel for light and how it affected the film in my camera.
I shoot mostly digital now (RAW only) although I still shoot film for fun and for the feel of it sometimes (I still develop my own B&W). My primary cameras for general use are a Canon EOS 5D MkIV and a Canon EOS R5; I also have a Canon EOS 5DS R primarily for macro/nature/landscape (although I use it for everything else too...it's more versatile than you might think). For film, I have a Canon EOS3, a Canon EOS A2E, a Canon Elan 7, and a Canon Rebel (all 35mm film); a Mamiya C330 (120/220 roll film, with 80mm f2.8 and 180mm-Super f4.5 lenses); and a Graflex Crown Graphic (2-1/4x3-1/4 sheet film). My lens kit includes Canon 8-15mm f4 L fisheye, Sigma 14mm f1.8 Art, Canon EF 11-24 f4 L, Canon EF 16-35mm f4L IS, Canon TS-E 24mm f3.5L II, Canon EF 40mm f2.8 STM, Canon EF 24-105mm f4L IS, Canon EF 50mm f1.4, Canon EF 65mm MP-E f2.8 1-5X Macro, Canon EF 180mm f3.5L Macro, Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L II IS, Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L II IS, and Canon EF 500mm f4L IS along with a Canon 2x III and 1.4x III and set of Canon extension tubes. There are others, but those are the ones I use all the time. (I still have a full suite of Canon FD lenses as well to use with my F-1 and AE1 35mm film bodies now and then.) I have a Canon 580ex, MT24EX, two 430ex flashes and a pair of Nanlite Lumipad 25 LED lighting panels (along with a bunch of umbrellas, soft boxes, backgrounds and stands for various setups) and use Manfrotto, Feisol, and Gitzo tripods and heads mostly; a WeMacro Automated Focus Rail and a Manfrotto 454 Micrometric Focus Rail for tight macro stacking (I use Helicon Remote and Helicon Focus s/w for managing and rendering the stacked images; but sometimes I'll render a stack in Photoshop CC). I have an AquaTech underwater housing with several lens ports for my 5Ds. I use a Phottix Ares II remote triggering system for my flashes and have a Pluto Trigger for fun (oh, and a Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K UHD Camera Drone with GPS also mostly for fun...for now). I scan my film images to TIFF format at 3200 dpi using an Epson Perfection V600 Photo scanner (or have the custom lab do the same). I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (since the pre-release beta) for import, organization, cataloging, tagging, geotagging and all post-shoot workflow.
I've shot photographs on six continents (I need Africa - I have Antarctica, so I got the hard one) in 36 countries, 50 US states (plus DC, Guam and Midway), six Canadian provinces and lots of weird, hard-to-get places (like in the Arctic ice pack, the Aleutian Islands and crossing the Drake Passage). There's beauty and unrepeatable moments to be captured everywhere and sometimes there is no photo that could possibly capture the beauty of the moment.
Photography is the way I remember life. Photography centers me and forces me to look at the world in small, detailed rectangles of form, motion, balance, light and dark. Photography makes me happy...and it's a tremendous side benefit that others enjoy my work.