I've had a relatively arbitrary rule for myself since becoming a professional photographer that if I'm going on my own adventure, my gear stays home.
I think about this thin line I'm walking every time I pick up my camera without someone asking me to - the line between photographing and experiencing. I worry about missing out on what seeing or hearing or smelling or touching something feels like when I put the camera between me and wherever I am. I worry about isolating myself, about drawing too far inward.
And, this feels hilarious to write: I stress about this imagined future where I'm importing and editing these photos that I'm really proud of, and feeling selfish. As if I took the experience just for me, and bottled up the good stuff, knowing always that my intent was to share it on the internet with people who weren't there.
It might help to explain that while being married means there are a million good times to have, my week to week time with my partner is finite. He travels about 50% of the year, and I'm constantly spending Saturdays or full weekends out of town with my wedding clients. We build downtime and adventure into the time we do spend together, and while our time together/apart/together/apart/together feels exceedingly normal to me, our time in nature still feels precious and rare.
Last weekend, we took his little truck up to Dillon Beach in Sonoma County, and for the first time in.. since.. maybe winter 2015? I brought my really precious camera body and my favorite lens along. And while we talked less than we would have, Charlie and I had this incredibly soft and slow sunset walk together, where he got to be in his head, and I got to be in mine.