While practicing photography is a great activity and I find pleasure in it most of the time I am not able to do it all the time and that is ok. I have a day job which means I am not able to go out and do landscape photography whenever I want. The good part of this is that even if I had all of the time in the world, I wouldn’t be able to do landscape photography all of the time because it takes a mindset to be quality photography.
Similar to how many professional athletes have an off-season to recover and prepare themselves for the next one I take time away from photography. I have other passions, interests, and people that I want to spend my time with. As I take time away, I can recharge my creative batteries for the next opportunity out in nature with my camera.
Not every time on the coast or in the mountains has to be with a camera. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up too much over not photographing every sunset because then we can start to appreciate each one for what it is, and when we have that camera set up with a composition as the sky lights up we can really understand how special that light is.
If we are always in a photography mindset it won’t just drive others away, you’ll also risk driving a wedge between yourself and enjoying the finer aspects of photography. Don’t waste a whole trip or vacation with your camera in hand all of the time ignoring any other pleasures that may exist. Take some time to visit a museum, sip at a quality beer/wine, or go on an adventure without the camera. The more time you take to learn about and experience a location the better equipped you are to document it or capture its true essence.
I do believe that photography takes a very specific mindset in order to be create something compelling in the images. Burning ourselves out creatively is not the best path to it! There have been plenty of occasions on the coast or vacationing elsewhere I chose to enjoy the time/spot in a way other than sitting behind a camera and I am happy because of it. Figuring out what your best creative attitude is and chasing that when it happens is going to be much healthier for you and your photos.