My dad was an avid photographer and I was introduced to the darkroom and black and white photography at a very early age. My first "grown-up" camera was a Yashica twin lens reflex model my dad gave me when I was in middle school. This camera used film and produced a 2" x 2" black and white negative, which I'd develop in the darkroom at home. In high school, I switched to a Pentax 35mm, single-lens reflex camera with micro and long lenses. The quality of the photos was not quite as good as those I took with the Yashica, but I thought I looked cooler with that camera slung over my shoulder. I continued to take black and white photos and always developed them, myself. In college, I bought my first Nikon, and discovered that all along I'd been taking "fine art photography". Now that high-quality digital cameras are right on our phones, I use only those and shoot in color. Like my dad, I almost always have my camera with me, and I've taken thousands and thousands of photos. Not all of them are fine art, but many end up as a stand-alone fine art photo, or as part of a mixed media piece I create. Thank goodness for cloud storage!
I believe an artist's eye is the most important thing in creating fine art, whatever medium in which we choose to work. The tools are important, too, but the vision and the message is still the main thing.
A few years ago, I discovered the world of "altered photography" using cell phone apps. These free or inexpensive apps allow me to play around and do things that were previously only available to photographers and illustrators using PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator, and other expensive and complex computer programs. I have several different apps, and in some of my work, I combine them to get the effect I want. I also use the altered photos I create in other mixed media pieces, as illustrations for my written work or in the websites I create.