You travel. You go on vacation. You see the sights, sites and sounds. Except, you’re a photographer. You’ve brought your camera in the hopes of catching some fantastic photos of where you travelled to. The interesting venues, vast landscapes and fantastic sunsets are ripe to be captured. There’s a huge downside to this though. It’s that “always working” mindset we are forever in. Everything you look at is now a composition. You’re checking the tonal range or figuring out if you’re going to blow out the whites on this shot. It’s the photo that you hope brings you the thousands of Instagram “likes” or is the next print you’ll put up for sale on your site. You aren’t in the moment and experiencing what’s around you and you can be sure that your better half knows and feels that too.
As photographers we’re always working. Even if we don’t have our precious camera in our hands, we all have phones that take just as good quality photographs. This leads to us never really being in the moment when we travel or see new things for the first time. It’s the burden we bear though as creative individuals. I’m completely guilty of this. I’ve travelled to many places across Europe, Canada and the United States and every time I look at something I am thinking of a photograph to take. That might be great for the people that follow me on social media sites when they get to view the photos I’ve taken but it’s not so great for my wife or for me. So many times I’ve gone to sleep at night feeling like I really never saw where or what I had visited that day.
So how does one combat this? It’s hard. It’s really, really hard. I’ve made an effort recently to leave my camera at home on some excursions. I still had my phone with me though and I still thought about compositions for photos. Forgive me as I take baby steps along the way. I have noticed that I did enjoy something more when I wasn’t looking for “the shot”. I’ve been available for more conversation rather than just gazing through my viewfinder ignoring the entire world. As well, it did feel nice to not be carrying a 20 pound pack of camera gear on my back! The downside was that a few times I knew that it would be a long time before I would ever be able to return to a location to get a certain shot that I had made a mental note of. But…I was there. I was there for the moment. I experienced it and it felt good knowing that I didn’t miss out on the connection both mentally and emotionally.
With that all said…if I’m ever going to be heading to the Faroe Islands, Iceland or the jungles of Borneo, you’d best be assured I will have every camera I own strapped to me every second of the day! After all, I’m still only human. And a photographer.