You may or may not know that when I first started taking pictures, it was with a Canon A-1 and a roll of Ilford HP5+, way back in 2006. I distinctly remember my dad telling me how to load and unload the film, and then forgetting to release the film once the roll was finished. What resulted was a damaged roll with only a few pictures, but I still found it more fun than taking pictures with my dad's digital point-and-shoot.
After a couple of years I finally commandeered my uncle's enlarger, trays and filters and set up my own darkroom in our newly remodeled basement kitchenette. I remember going to the camera store to buy all of the chemicals without a clue as to what they did. My aunt got me a book on basic darkroom techniques and I ventured into the dark, red-lit world of printing.
With so many photo editing tools on the computer, it seems like film is a dying medium. I shoot with a Nikon D7000 most of the time and edit with Lightroom. But there's just something cool about watching a picture appear before your eyes. While sometimes frustrating - I've ruined several rolls of film sitting alone in the dark, feeding the film into the reel - there's nothing like creating a product from start to finish. Just this year I picked up another film camera on a whim, and it's safe to say I often look like a crazy camera lady carrying all of my equipment around.
I'm not saying I'm an expert on taking and printing pictures. I've never taken a class or had formal training. I still hang all of my prints on the shower curtain bar in the bathroom, and half of them aren't even good. There are so many things to learn about making a good print from a good negative. However, black and white photography has been such a rewarding learning experience. This summer I've made it a goal to actually use all of my chemicals before they expire, and to have some prints to share with others.
After all, if my end goal is radiology, I have to say I rather like being in a dark room by myself and making (or interpreting, if you will) images.
Let us know - what is your favorite hobby?