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It was late June, and I had traveled for 6 weeks across Europe. I walked the black sand beaches of Iceland, explored the city of Paris, hiked the Alps in Switzerland and France, and I was tired! It was a photography based trip, so I had taken photos every day for six weeks. I was burnt. out. and tired of using my camera.

Every photographer probably knows this feeling – you take so many photos that at a certain point, you start feeling like none of them are good, and you feel discouraged. You become a bit blinded because you’ve taken so many of them, with no real break in between.

Well, this happened to me. I went to London for a few days after my trip, just to see the city that I’ve always wanted to see. I was so burnt out from using my camera that I didn’t feel inspired to take photos, at all! So I didn’t. I walked around the city, visiting museums and sites and restaurants and performances, all while not taking out my camera.

The pros of this were:

I got a break from photographing

I could focus on the moment, and what I was there for

The cons of this were:

I have no photos from one of my favorite cities in the world

I let my perfectionism get in the way of me creating

You see, when I take pictures, I want them to be good. If I look through my camera, and the picture isn’t that great, usually I don’t take it. I want it to be perfect, and I focus on making it great instead of enjoying the moment.

Well, after the trip I came home and took a break. After resting and being back in Utah, I looked at the photos in my camera, and found ones that I absolutely loved. Ones that I thought weren’t that good in the moment, but looking at them with fresh eyes changed that.

There are a few things I learned from this trip!

The first thing is that it’s important to take breaks.

Another is that, to me, it’s important to enjoy the moment, but it’s also important to photograph – it’s part of who I am!

After thinking about this, I came up with a compromise. I’ve decided that, when traveling, I’ll take my film and digital cameras. If I’m going to someplace really cool that I know I’ll want to photograph, I’ll take my digital. But when I’m just walking around, exploring, and want to enjoy the moment, I’m going to bring my film camera.

Film is amazing because there’s an element of surprise. You can’t see the image immediately on the back of the camera, and you have to wait until you get home to develop and scan and edit them. This makes it easier to enjoy the moment, while still taking photographs that you’ll love.

Have any other photographers experienced this? How are you able to travel and enjoy the moment, while still taking amazing photos?

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