Greetings from Mesa, Arizona
I heard about APUG when I started listening to Brooks Jensen's Podcasts. I'm so glad I found these forums.
My journey in photography actually started when my father shot some film while he was in Europe during WWII. He took the images to send back to my mother. I don't know when she saw them, but I still have the small b&w prints he took then. After the war, he worked for General Aniline in Linden, NJ (later to become GAF). He bought lots of film there and put many many rolls of film through an old TLR he brought back from Europe (where that camera is now, I have no idea).
When I reached undergraduate school, I studied B&W photography with Klaus Schnitzer (who is well known for his photography of cars, most especially BMW cars). I am sure he would remember me as an indifferent student, but photography really turned me on. I built a darkroom in my parents' basement and started to acquire Canon equipment, starting with an Ftb (which I still own and shoot to this day). After a while I owned a couple bodies, a handful of lenses, and made extra money part-time shooting actor's head shots and publicity for theater companies all over New Jersey. I processed hundreds of rolls of FP4 developed in Edwal FG7 and printed on Ilford Multigrade. Klaus influenced my taste a great deal and he wasn't much of a Kodak guy.
Once I graduated and started to make a living, photography became more of a hobby and I began to shoot mainly color slides. I moved out of my parent's home and lost touch with the B&W work mainly because easy access to the darkroom had also been lost.
By the time I hit forty, I hardly ever shot any longer and sold most of my equipment, keeping only my Gitzo tripod and the Ftb.
In 1999, my mother passed away and I inherited the house (I am an only child). My wife and I decided to sell that house and I remember vividly sitting in the darkroom in the basement going through thousands of negatives.
Sitting there, I said to myself, "when are you ever going to set up a darkroom?" And then, as you can probably guess, I threw the negs into a green garbage bag and never saw them again.
In 2003 I purchased a Canon 10D and started to become passionate about photography once more. I had never really worked in color printing, and digital allowed me to experiment. My wife and I purchased a Epson 2200 and that was a lot of fun.
In 2004 my wife bought me a Nikon film scanner (mainly to scan in my slide collection).
In 2007 I purchased my wife a Canon 40D for Christmas and with her and I both out shooting, my passion kicked into high gear.
Black and white began to attract my interest once again, mainly because I started to read about Diane Arbus. Shooting b&w film had always lingered in the background, especially after I had the film, scanner, mainly because I could scan in the negs and play with them a little.
But in the winter of 2008, the bug really bit and took hold and I started to shoot lots of B&W film. And, of course, what follows closely after that is processing your own B&W film, which I started about a month ago.
Now I'm actively shopping for a rangefinder, looking for the best way to print my own B&W from inkjet, and loving every minute of processing my own film and working in B&W again.
Maybe if this comes full circle I'll set up that old dusty Beseler 23C sitting in the garage and really get back into the swing.
I'm so glad APUG is here, and I'm so glad to meet all you wonderful people.
I apologize in advance for any silly questions I'm going to ask, but I feel in some strange way like I've come home.