It's a FACT... 
Today, everyone is a photographer...
But in 1962 that was hardly the case. I started photographing at 9 years of age with a Kodak Hawkeye Funflash, purchased with cereal box tops. Photography has been with me ever since, competing with other interests until the digital age, when it finally turned into my creative passion.
My father photographed early on with a bellows camera, and later, shot hundreds of photos using a handheld light meter, a Tower 35mm camera, and flashbulbs of course. Photography was documentary - photos of places and people, pets, etc. - and was a normal part of life. For me, given the expense of film and development versus my lack of resources, each shot was carefully considered, mostly in black and white, and sometimes developed with a home darkroom kit.
Eventually, I took a college-level course in photography, as part of a Fine Arts major. That later changed to the study of Environmental Science, however, in the aftermath of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill disaster. In any case, for the better part of 4 decades now, I've been living and working in the Coachella Valley, all the while enjoying it's great beauty and serenity - perfect for photography.
Today I shoot Canon DSLRs and do post-processing in Adobe and Topaz Suite software. I am strictly an amateur, pursuing photography for the love of it, working to develop knowledge of the traditions and methods of the craft. 
Great credit is due to the Coachella Valley Desert Camera Club, which I joined in 2018, for personal growth via competitions, guest speakers and friendships. I can't overstate the value of this club to my development as a photographer.
I'll finish with some inspirational quotes:
"A photograph is not a likeness. The moment a fact or emotion is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a photograph but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth."       Richard Avedon, Fashion Photographer
"After I have assessed their technical quality, I think about which of my images actually say something, something beyond "Here it is", and "I was there". I look for magic and mystery. I look for an image that makes the ordinary extraordinary, or an extraordinary subject discovered and revealed".     William Neill, Landscape Photographer
"At age 70 now, I've had a good time experimenting as an amateur photographer and "pseudo-artist-in the-making guy”. When I reach 80 I'll have developed still further, and will really master the secrets of art by 90. By the time I'm 100, hopefully I'll have achieved a measure of simplicity and economy of expression… "revealing the truth by not making it explicit", as the truly great artists do. But my final goal will only be reached around 110...  
...then I'll switch to painting!"  ​​​​​​​   Craig Toms, Amateur Photographer

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