I have been interested in photography since I was a kid, learning the basics by taking a few classes in high school. For years, I used a 35mm SLR with manual focus. I loved being able to get instantaneous candid shots.
After my second child was born, I bought my first digital camera to share photos with my out-of-state folks. I was amazed at how far the technology had progressed, and was thrilled to basically have a darkroom built into my computer. I have owned several digital cameras, and finally worked my way back up to a SLR again. Digital SLRs have become so affordable now, that I would recommend these over the "point and shoots" any day.
Meanwhile, I have been working on developing my artistic eye. I have a decent technical understanding of photography, but that isn't enough. I think I've improved quite a bit over the past few years, and this site has helped a lot. I haven't been winning much in the monthly contests, but I think that's because the level of quality seen on this site has also kept improving.
I am still pursuing my goal of being a photographer..."making" rather than "taking" photos.