I don't know how young I was when I got my first camera, but I was young enough to enjoy photographing butts. The response to my obsession with photographing butts ranged from intense irritation to shrugging it off as just something kids do. Fortunately, my camera was never confiscated.
Along the way I've photographed many different things. Nature. My barbies. Trees. My family. Dead trees. Our pets. Landscapes. And just anything that caught my attention...which I think even from early on was largely nature related.
I've hardly had any formal training. Early on I was taught a bit about composition by my dad, who used to be am amateur photographer and even participated in competitions. I think he even had a dark room in his house before I was born. (It would have been awesome if he'd still had one when I was growing up.) Then when I got to Portland Community College I took a class in digital photography.
And that, my friends, is the extent of any actual education I have in photography.
Virtually all I've learned is from trial and error, and saying "Hey, will that work?" Sometimes shots that I think will be awesome just don't turn out as imagined. And sometimes photos that I think will be terrible result in my best photography. Sometimes I stick to the rules, sometimes I throw them out the window, and in both cases I've gotten great photos. So basically, trial and error while being willing to ignore the rules, but also being able to follow the rules. I even stick to the rules most of the time, since they do exist for a reason.
Moral of the story: just play with a camera, and with the rules. Remember that the rules are more like guidelines. Don't try to make every shot perfect. There's really no point in that. It's an impossible goal, so just accept that you'll take more bad photos than good ones. Realizing that allows me to experiment and figure out what works.
And just for the heck of it, here's a video where I explored the contents of my old camera bag. I hadn't touched it in years, and it had a pleasant surprise that rendered me temporarily speechless.
Coming soon...what I love about photography, and projects that I'm kind of working on. I'll probably also share what's on those disposable cameras once I finally get them developed.