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 view cameras to minox B and C spy cameras. I've shot Leicas, Nikons, Nikkormats, Minoltas, Besselers, Bronicas, Mamyias, 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 I 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 although I still shoot film for fun and for the feel of it sometimes (still develop my own B&W). My primary camera is a Canon 5D MkIV as well as Canon EOS3 and Elan 7 cameras for film. My lens kit includes Sigma 20mm f1.4 Art, Canon 16-35mm f2.8L II, Canon 24-105mm f4L, Canon 50mm f1.4, Canon 180mm f3.5L Macro, Canon 70-200mm f2.8L II IS, Canon 300mm f4L IS, and Canon 500mm f4L IS along with a Canon 2x II and 1.4x II and set of 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 bodies now and then.) I have Canon 580ex, 430ex and MT24EX flashes (along with a bunch of umbrellas and soft boxes) and use Gitzo and Manfrotto tripods and heads mostly. I use a Phottix Ares II remote triggering system for my flashes and have a Pluto Trigger for fun.
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.