I got my first dSLR (the canon xs) in May 2009. I was one of those who assumed nicer camera = nicer photos. Eh, not so much. I was shooting on "auto" (since I didn't know what else to) and the photos looked a lot like what was coming out of my point-and-shoot. For a while I couldn't rationalize carrying a bulky camera when my little one gave similar results. Ultimately, my camera collected dust until Thanksgiving 2010. I'd take it out here and there (vacations, events) but the photos weren't anything special.
One day I got motivated to figure this thing out. I started scouring blogs on the basics of aperature, f-stops, ISO, lighting, etc. I started to "get it". Among the blogs I was pouring over for information was That Wife's Photography Page and specifically her post on Why You MUST Buy a Better Lens. It made a lot of sense - the kit lens isn't that great - and if I wanted to really enjoy this hobby upgrading my lens was a fantastic place to start.
After reading, reading and reading some more I decided that my first lens would be a Canon 50mm 1.4, also regarded as a "nifty fifty".
BAM! Better photos immediately.
Then I got the lens bug. I was so excited about the possibilities having an upgraded lens could create. Next, I wanted to upgrade my kit lens. The 50mm 1.4 was fantastic for detail shots and objects within a closer range, but for an "all around" lens I needed something a little more versatile.
Over Christmas 2010, my Dad turned me on to "off brand" lenses. He has a Sigma 70-200 2.8 that he loves. I figured it was an option worth exploring. I'd gotten the recommendation that any lens under $1,000 is almost not worth your money. Not cool. So I researched my other options and found some lenses that came with fantastic reviews. I eventually settled on a Tamron 17-50 2.8. It was almost an exact replacement for the kit lens but the aperature was much better (it could go down to 2.8 throughout all focal lengths versus 3.5-5.6 for the kit).
So, that's more or less how I've gotten to where I am. But, if you know me, you know this story isn't over. I've got more to share on my photography journey!