I started to really dig into photography in 2009, when in Singapore I purchased my first ever dSRL Camera. At the time of the purchase I was not even sure about Aperture or ISO let alone manual mode. I knew I wanted a reflex and that it would help me in achieving something better than a small point-and-shoot camera.
I purchased a Nikon D300 with a 18-200mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens. I realized the camera might have been a bit of an overshoot for my non-existing skills. There was no "auto" or any pre-set. It was the real deal. So when I was back in Milano I started my education. I had to learn how to use it. I started with workshops and classes and books and slowly I became slightly obsessed.
As I have learned, one can have the best camera and the best lenses and the best intentions, but gear is worthless without being used. And properly used. This means: PRACTICE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
So eventually this is the gear I collected from 2009 until today (11/2014):
Body: Nikon D300
Lenses: Nikon 18-200 mm f/3.5 - 5.6 ; Nikon 35 mm f 1,8; Nikon 50 mm f 1,8; Sigma 10-20 mm f/4-5.6. I have a Lensbaby Composer lens, with Double Glass Optic.
Flash: Metz 50 AF-1 Digital
Tripod: Manfrotto 190CXPRO4, with Manfrotto 3-way photo head. Suggestion: don't go cheap on the tripod. It's the best investment you can make. This was my present to myself when I turned 30.
Monopode: Manfrotto 3-sections Monopode (http://www.manfrotto.com/three-section-monopod)
Filters: Marumi ND filter, Light Control 8, 72mm for the 18-200mm lens. I have Tieffen UV filters on all lenses, always on. Remember- scratched filters can be changed quickly and with almost no expense. A scratched lens........... well, not.
Misc: Nikon MC-30 Cable release.
Softwares: I do 99% of my work on Lightroom, on a MacBook Pro. I am still learning how to use Photoshop Elements 11, but I am getting my way around it. I use a lot Nik Softwares (mostly Color Efex Pro, and Silver Efex Pro), and Photomatix Pro for HDR pictures. I have a Wacom Tablet, Intuos 5 touch.
I bought a Nikon 1, J1. It came with two lenses, 10 mm, f/2.8; and 10- 30 mm, f/3.5- 5.6. I always wanted a mirrorless camera, to see if it can be used for street photography. The lenses are sharp and the technology is ok- only the quality of it and the flexibility of the camera is nothing compared to my relfex. So this specific model is not soooo much fun at the end of the day.
Update - since December 2014 I am a proud owner of a D750 with 50mm, f 1,4. Took the plunge and went full frame. Still a bit freaked about it! Not nearly enough practice yet (May 2015).