I met my wife through the hobby in 2006, and consider photography to be a massive part of my life. I don't consider myself a professional, and have never made any money (though it would be nice). I take photos to remember something, and because deep down I feel it fills a void for something I need to do.
One of my favorite photos. March, 2008:
My first 'real' camera was a Fujifilm Finepix s7000, it was a point-and-shoot with options to shoot manual, and it allowed me to learn and re-learn everything I would need going forward. I upgraded to a Nikon D5000 camera in 2010 and haven't yet been able to upgrade again yet.
You can see most of my public photos on Flickr: