During a Vacation the one thing you, as a photographer, have to decide on is, “Do I take photos for myself, or for fun, or not take any photographs at all?” Being a photographer means you’re attached to your camera pretty much all of the time. When I first started making images I had my camera with me constantly, and I loved it. There was always something to take photo of - people, scenery, etc. But, as time went by I carried my camera less and less. One reason is that I’d go places and people would ask me to take a few photos for this or that. I didn’t mind in the beginning but as time went by I wanted to enjoy the time off as much as anyone else. Creatives get nailed often for the “Hey, do you mind taking a few photos - Playing your guitar - Singing a song.” You get the idea. Free. Once I was asked if I had brought my camera with me so I could take a few photos. I asked the guy, “Did you bring your calculator with you?” He was an accountant. He got it immediately and smiled and said, “You’re right - I shouldn’t have asked.”
When I go on vacation I set aside time to shoot for myself to see if I can get any images that I truly like for my portfolio or stock. It came into focus (pun intended) when I was in Italy. I realized that I might get an image I like while just doing the vacation thing but not usually. I found that my best images were when I went out by myself and concentrated on my photography. That’s not to say I haven’t made images that I truly like while carrying my camera with me while with others doing the sightseeing thing. But, that’s not usual. The best images are the ones that present themselves and you are open to them. I went to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in early Fall, before the color changed. I found it difficult to take images while taking in the sights - for me they just didn’t mix. I have some nice images for “travel” photos but nothing exciting, and that’s okay. I was on a cruise just a few weeks ago and had fun taking travel photos for myself. The images are great for what they are. I was with my family and we did the usual sightseeing at several ports and all the fun things you can do on a ship. Not one “image” that I’d put on my website. Maybe I’ll look at them again and see if anything sticks out. Sometimes you have to do that. Get away from the photos you’ve just taken and re-visit them, see if they spark any interest.
Balancing your time and enjoying life away from photography can be a challenge. But, sometimes you just need to put the camera down. Or if you take it with you don’t feel compelled to take photographs. It’s always a good thing to have your camera handy as something may present itself to you and you will be happy that you have your camera with you.