One of my earliest memories was the Apollo 11 landing, which I watched from behind the bars of a crib (I was not quite 2 years old and it was late). My first telescope was a birthday gift from my grandparents, a small KMart branded refractor that was reasonably easy to operate if not a bit shaky. Views of the moon, Saturn, Jupiter blew my mind at the time and the neighborhood kids would line up for their turn, sharing in the excitement.
My love of Astronomy never materialized as a career, but hasn't faded. With all the wonderful outlets of information and news, including the wonderful APOD site, my interest has only increased. Over the years I accumulated many other hobbies - scale models (spacecraft of fact and fantasy), photography, film production, and cooking. I recall having to make a decision between two paths in college - Astronomy or Industrial Design. Industrial Design presented a clearer career path, so I set aside Astronomy once again. I have no regrets over this decision, having landed in the then-new software design field where I've become comfortably established.
Recently I returned to Astronomy with a level of passion I've not experienced in many years. Like a coalescing hurricane, my experiences in design, digital photography, 3D graphics and illustration merged with that dormant passion. I have no idea where this exploration will take me, but the ride is stellar. Literally. The view is amazing.Christopher Dollhttp://www.christopher-doll.com