Hi all, As a Dutchie I'm one of the many foreigners on this US based site. When my father gave me a Mamiya rangefinder in my early teens I started to shoot a lot but it didn't last. Nevertheless my parents bought me my first SLR with a couple of lenses when I was seventeen but it was through a coincidence that I got really into photography. When my now wife decided she wanted some portraits done we went to a very good pro for that and he and I clicked immediately (forgive the pun). He took me under his wing and motivated and stimulated me in a major way. I got to shoot pro models in his studio and things like that and learned a lot from him and his feedback and always positive attitude. But it also got me thinking I could get more out of it and since there is only one way of finding that out I eventually went to do a four year study in my early thirties at an Acadamy of Fine Arts to study photography. Doing that besides having a demanding full time job proved to be a major task but in some ways it was one of the best times I ever had. God I'm glad I did that. I never went pro because while the market was quite good at the time it would have meant doing a lot of things I don't particularly like such as doing weddings and shooting babies and losing a job I happen to like. Also since I know what it takes to actually run a business I eventually decided to stay in my job as a RN which gave and gives me the opportunity to shoot whenever and whatever I like which is street and documentary. Since then my life pretty much revolves around photography. There is not a single day that I'm not doing something dealing with photography. I started to do digital processing black and white work for some other photographers and as a RN I actually apply it partly in my work as in processing highly specialised medical images that are part of a fairly new and spectacular imaging technique (might post some examples in the future). It does actually affect our social life but I have a very understanding wife (she also did an art study). Also I've become an ardent student of photographic history since and hence started to collect books. Any "wisdoms" to share. Well there is one. Don't get caught up in gear but in getting good results (learning never stops btw).