Hello Roger (and Frances),

Almost had me lost there with the replies from Andy. I took the original to mean the tools used for cooking or preparing a meal, not the ingredients. However, I think Andy brought in an important point that one should not take ingredients for granted. With that in mind, the ingredients (food) would be like the film, and the cooking utensils would be like the camera. It is not expensive to buy really high quality fresh ingredients, whether that is film or food items. Unfortunately, the best of cooking utensils, and the best of cameras are not within the financial means of all enthusiasts.

Most of the people in my family were very good cooks, and even my dad briefly worked at a five star restaurant as a chef (though not running the place). We also had an interesting rule when I was growing up that whomever did the cooking did not have to do the dishes . . . I hated cleaning dishes. So one way or another I learned how to make nearly any food dish. I am now at the point that I can eat something at a restaurant, and understand how to make it from scratch.

My photography is not at that intuitive level, since I cannot just pick up any camera and instantly get the best from it. While there is some commonality of camera settings and controls, I feel like some of the newer designs work against my ways of taking photos. While I can make do with just about any kitchen utensils, I find that I am better with more specific types of camera controls (one example would be command dials on modern SLRs, something I never like using).

I think an interest in certain things outside photography can help when working as a photographer. It would be tougher for me to photograph a scene or subject that I am little interested in, than for me to photograph something closer to my interests. Examples besides food would be architecture, automotive, musicians, dancers, and urban life. I find that I do better photography when I am more interested in what I am photographing.