Thus ends the lazy days of an unplugged summer

Picture: People spending a day at the Beach, La Jolla Shores, San Diego County coast, California

Image: People spending a day at the Beach, La Jolla Shores, San Diego County coast, California

Click on photo to see a larger version.

So I’m curious, as photographers and people of the modern era, do you unplug from your camera? What about unplugging from your phone and email. If so, for how long? Is unplugging from being “a photographer” easier than unplugging from your cell phone or Internet? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter.

The reason I ask is that this has been my ‘unplugged’ summer, all wonderfully enjoyed due to family vacations, but which now must come to an early end.

There’s always a balance to be had when juggling the wants and desires of a family of non-photographers with one’s desire to be out taking photos. After my “retirement” from book projects following the conclusion of my award-winning seventh book, Photographing California; Vol. 1 – North, I’ve just wrapped up more than a month of family vacations. I was definitely allowing the balance scales to swing back to my family after all they’ve endured and sacrificed during my travels or writings. I mentioned in my last post that I had spent weeks traveling through the West. With not much more than a week between vacations, I drove myself, my kids, and my mom down for an 8-day trip to visit my sister and her family in San Diego.

Throughout both of these trips; my photography was completely secondary, with only a few ventures out for taking pictures. I hauled all my camera gear down to San Diego, and for nearly a week, the bag sat unused in a guest bedroom. Finally, on my second visit to La Jolla Shores, I recalled a very small, yet nagging regret which I felt a few times during my first visit. While not wanting to move photography to the forefront, I threw a body & two lenses in my backpack; all whilst experiencing the joy of not having to lug around a tripod.

The above panoramic photo was made with a quick series of a dozen hand-held frames shot with my Nikon D7000, and stitched into a panorama using Photoshop.

The only other time my camera came out during this family trip was during a visit to the San Diego Zoo. Although I saw several photographers walking around with cameras, tripods, and Uber-Lenses, (the kind that you see on a football field or African Safari) I delighted in just being an average tourist (with a decent pro-sumer camera & zoom lens) just trying to take a few nice photos. One of my favorites was this beautiful Jaguar.

Image: Jaguar (captive), San Diego Zoo, California

There’s a nice liberation to be had to go to photogenic places and relax without a camera, without a need to photograph. And when you do photograph, to do it with a very casual, and certainly non-professional approach. Over the summer I basked in that liberation as I kept my photographic pursuits in my back pocket. Fortunately I did get a few nice shots along the way, some of which I’ll be sharing with you here or via my Facebook Business Page or my G_+ profile. But finally, my relaxing, yet road-weary travels are at an end for the summer. It’s time to get plugged back in, back to work, check the cellphone, check the email, yada, yada, yada.

For myself, I need to get plugged back in after this lazy, hazy, summer. I’ve got some fun and exciting things on the stove top, and time has come to shift things around on the burners.

Aw, Heck! Maybe there’s still time for one last summer margarita.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Richard Wong says:

    Welcome back Gary. I think you have a great family / work-life balance going on. One of the reasons I got a Fuji XE-1 recently was because I wanted to bring a smaller camera of publishable quality along on my dates with Samantha but without the photography getting in the way of our relationship. It’s certainly not easy to balance out the desire to create with the personal life but it is a sacrifice I choose to make. The hard part though is that I feel I do my best work while alone.

  • charlie says:

    You really know your current stuff… Maintain the good work!”

  • Chris Barton says:

    Gary, my wife sometimes complains that I don’t take enough photos of our kids and my response has been that it is probably true, but then if I wasn’t a photographer, I probably wouldn’t even own a camera! It makes sense to me….

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