I think of myself as a hiker/traveler first, photographer second. The initial idea behind taking up photography was to record the details of my travels/hiking which fade from memory over time. One never knows when the next visit to a National Park or other interesting location will be the last. Photography keeps these memories fresh. Hiking especially allows me to better understand my place in the natural world on a practical as well as spiritual basis. Hiking alone, seeking solitude in remote areas has enhanced this experience.
Maintaining this order of priority admittedly has become a bit of a struggle. Being a gearhead, the activity of making images during a hike has its own appeal but can be disruptive to the meditative aspects of the hiking/communing experience. However, viewing and studying well made images after the hike is long over allows me to see detail that I didn't see or notice with my own eyes while I was actually on location. It can also bring back spiritual thoughts I had while I was there without actually being there. I use the best camera equipment I can afford in order to record these places with as much clarity and preservation of detail as possible and to make studying the images a more pleasant experience.
I primarily compose images in a way that documents a scene as I am naturally viewing it at that time. Of course, I also allow myself the freedom to compose in ways that I feel are interesting beyond simple documentation. What I like about photography as a pursuit of pleasure is that I can compose freely and that I am not confined to composing for what may be attractive to a tourist in a gift shop. I am committed to improving my skills and talent as a photographer so that my actions do not counteract the clarity and resolution this fine equipment provides.
By the way, turning professional isn't an option. At my age, I am seeking to retire, not begin another career.
EOS 5D mkIII EOS 6D Nikon D800E Nikon D3x Pentax 645Z EOS M3 TS-E 17mm f4L EF 40mm f/2.8 STM smc-D FA 645 55mm f/2.8 AL[IF] SDM AW EF 100mm f2.8L Macro IS EF-M 11-22mm f4-5.6 IS STM AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED EF 24-70mm f2.8L II EF 70-200mm f4L IS Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 18mm f3.5 ZF Contax Zeiss Distagon T* 21mm f2.8 Leica Elmarit-R 28mm f/2.8 (E55) Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 25mm f2.8 ZF Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 28mm f2 ZF Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f2 ZF Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 50mm f2 ZF Canon 1.4x Teleconverter Kenko 2x Pro 300 DGX Teleconverter 550EX Flash EF 18-55mm kit lens (shelved) EF 24mm f1.4L II (sold) EF 35mm f1.4L (sold) EF 16-35mm f2.8L II (sold) EF 24-105mm f4L IS (Sold) EF 50mm f1.2L (Sold) EF 85mm f1.2L II (Sold) EF 135mm f2L (sold) EF 200mm f2.8L II (Sold) EF 16-35mm f/2.8L (sold) EF 24-70mm f/2.8L (sold) EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS (sold) Canon 2x Teleconverter (sold) Sigma 14mm f/2.8 (returned) Olympus Zuiko 21mm f2 (returned) Carl Zeiss 25mm ZF (returned) EF 24mm f1.4L (returned) EF 50mm f1.2L (2 returned) Olympus H.Zuiko OM 24mm f2.8 (returned) Nikon 14-24G (returned) Nikon D700 (returned) EOS 5D (Sold) EF 100mm f2.8 Macro (Sold) EF 17-40mm f4L (Sold) EF 24-70mm f2.8L (Sold) EF 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS (Sold) Olympus OM 24mm f2 Zuiko MC (Sold) Leica Elmarit-R 35mm f2.8 (E55) (Sold) TS-E 24mm f3.5L (Sold) Contax Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f1.7 (Sold) Contax Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 28mm f2.8 (Sold) Contax Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 35-70mm f3.4 (Sold) EOS 5D mkII (Sold) EOS 5D mkII backup (Sold) EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS USM (Returned)