I certainly would not consider myself a photographer. In fact, as far as photography goes, it is barely a hobby for me. I think I got past that phase in college. Back then, I bought a Canon SLR camera because the girl I was dating at the time had one and I figured I could pretty much be a pro if I had a camera like that. Well, once the cost of film and developing pictures started to add up, and once I realized that it was annoying and inconvenient to tote around an SLR, the camera pretty much ended up in a drawer.
I bought a digital camera a few months back because I liked the idea of being able to put more pictures of mine and my friends' exploits up on Facebook. I bought the smallest, cheapest, but best reviewed camera I could find on CNET (I got the Canon PowerShot SD1000 DIGITAL ELPH, for those who are curious), and have enjoyed it so far. It is small enough to fit in my pocket to take the bar, and I feel like I can take pretty decent landscape-type pictures with it, though for the best results, they require a little doctoring in Picasa and GIMPShop (basically a free version of Photoshop since I can't really justify shelling out a couple of hundred dollars for the real thing). I should point out that Picasa is really a great piece of freeware that is excellent for organizing and viewing photos, as well as making easy adjustments to colors and lighting. In fact, it has a "I'm Feeling Lucky" button which will automatically make enhancements to a photo by itself, and 9/10 times really comes out with great results.
All of this to say, two things. First, if you haven't already, please take a look at the Flickr albums of a couple of acquaintances of mine which are located on the right side of the screen. They really are some of my favorite amateur photographers. Second, I have fooled around on GIMPShop to sort of create my own photos like Philip's (the album on top). Philip does a great job of editing his digital photos to make them have that vintage look, which, for some reason, evoke a really strong emotional response with me. After he told me how he did it, I sort of "borrowed" his technique and did a few photos of my own, which I have shared below (though I can't say that they are anywhere near as good as Philip's).
A photo on the Maine coast, from a family trip up to New England a couple of years ago
A photo taken of the Niagara River, from a trip to Buffalo back in '06
An "artistic" (i.e.- completely random) photo of Jessica's chin at Niagara falls