I'm 36, have been interested in photography for as long as I can remember. I started taking pictures when I was a little kid, using one of those "35mm film cameras" with the bulb cube that you plugged into the top of the camera (ya know, the one that rotated to the next spot after you take a picture, and you got 4 flashes out of then you had to throw it away...)
I took a couple photography classes in high school where I learned how to develop film and make prints in the darkroom using an enlarger. But, the most valuable lesson learned in photo class.. was how to bulk load film. Ahhh, did that save a lot of money at the time! I used a 35mm Minolta in high school.. Not sure of the model, but I'll update this when I find out.
I've worked here and there as a photojournalist, mainly local newspapers. I went through a LOT of film. That is, until I bought my first digital camera in the year 2000... The Canon 30D. The 30D was Canon's first digital camera marketed to consumers. I eventually made the decision to make the switch to Nikon. No regrets. While Canon makes quality products, it just wasn't for me. I'm a die hard Nikon user. Love the feel, love the speed, and there's something about that Nikon shutter sound.
My equipment? I currently use the Nikon D2H as my primary body, and my backup is the Nikon D1H. They're not the newest of camera bodies by any means, but I throughly enjoy them, and don't need anything newer. Ok, so maybe I'd splurge on the Nikon D3. Lenses: Nikkor 17-55mm 2.8 lens, and a Nikkor 80-200mm 2.8 lens.
I have always shot, and still shoot, in manual mode. You'd be hard pressed to find me shooting in a program mode.
I am a career firefighter, was hired in February of 2006 and love every minute of my job. You will probably see photos from around the firehouse when I'm there for a couple days straight.