Just wanted to say hi to everyone at the photo forum and give a little background on myself, so here goes: 1) Hi! 2) I'm a 17-year-old student from Philadelphia. I have wanted to get into photography for a while now, and this school year I'm finally taking a photography class as my high school arts elective. I've had a point-and-shoot digital camera since 2002, which I've used to about the best of its ability, but it still leaves me wanting more when it comes to good artistic photography (which I really want to get into). This year, when I started the class, my parents pulled an old 35mm Pentax K1000 SLR out of the back of a closet (I didn't even know they had an SLR, considering that they owned like 3 point-and-shoot 35mm cameras that they used instead). Well now I'm in the class, and I am really enjoying being able to control all my prints myself. I've always wanted to know how photography really works (in terms of processing, printing, what goes on in the darkroom, etc). It's great to finally be able to express this little artistic niche that I've had for so long (I'm no good at painting/drawing, yet I've always known I have a good eye for art). Photography is so great because whatever you print is something that was actually taken from the real world, yet you can still change it around and make it just right so that whatever you print is yours, and not just some generic snapshot that could be from anybody. The main inspiration that really got me into photography was when I saw pieces of art by photographer Alan Maltz on a trip to Key West, where he has a gallery. The real prints, which he does on canvas somehow, are really something to see IMHO. I also try to take inspiration from other students and examples I see in photography books. It really is amazing what can be done with some paper and an emulsion of silver-hallide crystals. I am currently only doing black-and-white photography, since that's all we do in the class. I am also kind of interested in color, but I'm saving that until I get tired enough of B/W. I am also interested in other non-conventional ways of making photos, like pinhole cameras, photograms, sabattier prints, etc. I've recently heard of a technique of reversing the camera lens to make it like a macro lens which I want to try. I like playing around with scrap (or accidentally-overexposed) pieces of printing paper, and seeing what I can do by playing with the ways and places the developer or fixer contacts the paper. I have come up with some kind-of-interesting abstract results by doing this. So, for those of you nice enough to read all this, I thank you. I would greatly appreciate comments about tips or resources I can use in my photography. I look forward to using these forums as help for me to advance with my art, and to hopefully help those whom I can.