I took this picture back in the first part of 2006, as part of an assignment for one of my first photography courses. I forget what the assignment was--something about capturing an event or something. This was an immigration rally at the state capital. I was nervous about being there, because I had no idea how to shoot in crowds. I tailed one of the Sacramento Bee reporters for a while to see what she did, but eventually just wandered around on my own.
I started out at the back of the crowd, but eventually made my way to the front, just below the people who were giving speeches. I took some pictures of them, but eventually turned and looked at the crowd. I raised my camera and looked through the viewfinder as I panned across the people.
I started shooting, and there was this transcendent moment where I stopped paying attention to the mechanics of what I was doing and just went with the flow of what was before me. I remember very clearly seeing this woman in my viewfinder and taking her picture. It was the moment when I felt like a photographer for the first time. It's hard to explain.
I have this picture up on my wall at home. It's not really all that great--I would learn a lot more about how to make good pictures later, but it is a reminder of the moment I became a photographer.