When's the last time that you let yourself shoot images without giving a thought to their monetary value? It's too easy to get caught up thinking about how to monetize our profession and it's so important to step back, slow down, and just shoot for the fun of it.
Whenever there's a financial component tied to something creative (like trying to run a business built around photography for example), things can feel like we're trading our passion for profits. If all we ever do is think about how an image might make us money, it can feel like we're losing some percent of that passion. In the world of landscape photography and hiking (really any outdoor activity for that matter), it's vital to enjoy the moments and the adventures without regard to any photographic business prospects on occasion.
I like to go hiking and I bring my camera in hopes of capturing images that reflect how I felt during the hike. Sometimes I share the images on Facebook for friends to see. I don't consider myself a landscape photographer and any images that come from hiking are just my experiences that also happen to be on a hard drive in addition to in my memory. I try to take great images and I'm always trying to learn how to keep improving, but as long as I enjoy the adventure then I'll call it a good day.
These images are from a hike in Washington on a cold wintry day when I had a lot on my mind. It had been a while since I'd been out on a hike, I was feeling restless, lots of things in my personal life were weighing on my mind, and I seriously needed to get away and get outdoors. It was cold, it was snowing (the kind of rain-snow mixture that's heavy, wet, and gets all over your lens), and it was beautiful. I was out to clear my mind and the last thing I cared about was business.
Remembering to forget about business for the day is a skill that we all need to practice sometimes. Whether you're a hobbyist or you earn your income solely from photography, it's okay to put the profits out of your mind every once and awhile. I guess the moral of the story is something along the lines of stopping to smell the roses and enjoy the little things. It's too easy to get caught up thinking that if you're not getting paid you're not doing it right and I just don't believe that.