When I tell friends and family that I am going on vacation, I almost always get the same response.

“I can’t wait to see the photos.”

And that is totally understandable seeing that I am a professional photographer. I mean, I must take the best vacation photos, right?

It’s also why I always get the looks of befuddlement when I tell them I’m not taking a camera.

I recently went on a bucket list vacation to the Yucatán Peninsula in eastern Mexico with my girlfriend, Mariah, and I left my camera at home. The plan was to see Mayan ruins, snorkel in the Caribbean, eat lots of tacos and explore the region. And to do all of that, I did not need my camera.

I also did not need all of the baggage carrying a camera entails — and I’m not talking about the lenses, strobes and batteries in a camera bag. I’m talking about how my mind works when I carry a camera.

Imagine for a second what is going through my mind when I’m on duty as a photographer. I’m constantly wondering where my next shot is going to happen. Is the light good? Will it be better later? Is this a good spot for the shot? Maybe over there is better? Which lens is gonna make this shot sing? Do I have time to switch lenses? How can I compose this shot into something interesting? Can I stand on that bench over there to make it better? What is the best way to use the vanishing point of those lines? Is this detail more important than that one over there? Can I get both of them in the shot, and does that make the shot better or worse? I could literally go on like this for days, but I think you get my meaning.

So on this vacation I left all of that at home, opting instead to capture all my vacation memories on my iPhone X. Which turned out great. Instead of over-analyzing every situation for that next potentially groundbreaking photo, I simply took it all in and enjoyed myself.

I did run into some frustrating limitations of the photographic capabilities of the iPhone X, but I just let it go and moved on. Vacations should be about thinking less and enjoying more, so that is precisely what I did. All while still managing to capture some pretty good vacation photos for the scrapbook.

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