I was always a photographer. Or at least, what I remember, I always had a camera. My equipment usually corresponded with my age, money ability and, of course, technology development. That's one of few good genes I had after my father, who was a photographer when he was young. When I was a little girl, my favorite weekends were about hundreds black and white pictures of our family floating and sinking in our bath, and me and my dad "developing pictures" with all equipment from the 80ies :D
I loved classical photography and classical cameras for normal film reels (hell, is that right english term? lol). When I travelled to China many years ago, right after my post-comunistic country opened its boarders, I brought back more than 30 films and spent not just time but also all my money to make some photographs. I took it very serious. Each my holiday I created a book, wrote down all stories, glued the best pictures and spent at least a months creating it... And of course, never opened it after it was done. It was my small photographer ritual. But I never, and I meant NEVER, will go and get digital camera!
Well, time has changed. But I was also always very stubborn. So when I accepted my first digital camera, I rather gave it to my boyfriend to use it at our holiday in Egypt and Kenya after, than accept it as a fact. Slowly I started borrowing the little Canon Power Shot (very old one) from him more and more, still moaning something about "old gold film cameras" and "modern shitty technologies which have no respect to the art." First digital camera I have ever bought was Canon G9. I liked it, I never knew how to use it, and I was very sure for long long time after, that I can't learn how to use any camera in the manual mode. Terrible, as it last me for another more than 10 years! My pictures were ok and my friends loved them, but mostly because of my "good eye", the gift I have got, with The Luck, more than anything else. One day I forgotten this camera at the toilet in one of camps at Corsica. But my digital camera era just started inherently and I somehow accepted it.
I don't remember how many cameras I tried after, even with underwater housings, working always on fully automatic mode or maximum the underwater program. Another milestone has happened here in Dahab already. I was a happy owner of another Canon PowerShot G11, which I bought at Maldives, and I became crazy about underwater photography. One of my much advanced friends in Dahab showed me few months later how to set up a white balance in my customer mode (this was already huge progress, stop using programs). It meant the revolution number two in my photography and I became good on setting my camera at depth, regarding on a distance, color and sun position. I loved my pictures and I always tried to convince myself that they can not be any better with the camera I had :) But! My friend Laci, manager of Lighthouse dive center in Dahab, had the same camera, but his pictures were completely different level! So... maybe I should change something?
I reached the level, when my pictures, using only the natural light, were ok. Of course, shallow only. Some of my favorite images are still done with the natural light only, but usually I could have had just a snorkel while shooting. In depth I was loosing colors of my shots, but never excuses :) I so did not want to buy strobes, as I was very afraid, that I will never get how they work! And I also didn't have money for it.
At 2013 I had my Ganon G12, Ikelite transparent housing and lots of ideas, how to become photographer only, and don't have to work as an instructor anymore. I started saving money for strobes and on April 2014 I got my first two Inon strobes D2000. I will always remember the feeling when I picked them up, got some help from my friend Rich Carrey, professional photographer, to set them up, and took a selfie at the Blue beach bar with my new set up. It felt great! Till I entranced the water. I came back after one hour, maybe even less, crying. I wasn't able to take one single picture" I was crazily changing everything, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, strobes position.... everything. And I finally gave up. It was the huge ego lesson I have got.
I left my strobes at home even when me and Rich went to Marsa Alam for photography diving week! I borrowed his strobe there, but the same story. He just took my camera with me, and came back with amazing shot of a group of butterfly fishes! I hated the whole world. But on this trip I manage to get a shot of dugong, the sea cow, of course on the natural light (I gave up, you remember?), which was another huge move forward. With this shot I have won a third place on the international photo contest WorldShootout.org, amateur category and it comes with one week of diving holiday at the island Yap, Micronesia.
Lucky me, that even without using them, I decided to take my strobes to that trip. I have met there a guy who was a great photographer. What Rich Carrey started, he finished, when it comes to my photo career. Brad figured out my strobes! It was not my fault totally, as the internal strobe, fiber optical cable and transparent Ikelite housing don't work together. We covered my housing by simple cartoon and lately I even customized it totally to lose its transparency, and I finally became "photographer". At least I started the long journey to be a photographer. Thank you, all my friends and teachers, for a job you have done on me.