I received all of my formal photography training at the Defense Information School in Fort Meade, Md., during three weeks in September 2002. It didn’t exactly earn me a degree, but having enlisted in the Army as a military journalist, part of my job for the next six years was to be photojournalism, so I was trained in the basics and told to keep learning on my own.
At first my digital camera intimidated me. It was complex, and entirely unlike the pocket-sized disposable Kodaks I bought at the supermarket. It was also large and expensive, and I knew that if anything went wrong (as it undoubtedly would), I’d end up paying for it with every penny I’d ever earn.
As I developed the skills I’d been taught at the schoolhouse and picked up all I could from my more-experienced colleagues, I began to experiment with my camera. I became friends with it. It showed me how the world could look through its lens, and that lens helped me show the world how it looked through my eyes. It was a good relationship. When I left the military, the relationship continued, and through my Nikon's viewfinder, I kept learning more about myself. Nearly nine years later, I’m still learning and experimenting. If that ever changes, I’ll let you know.