We all love to photograph. However, I’ve spoken to numerous people who now have difficultly photographing. Some of it is due to lack of access or health reasons. Some have immunocompromised people in their family that they don’t wish to endanger.

I am fortunate. Night photography is by its nature considerably more solitary. And I live in an area where I can go to isolated places and back without needing to go on a long trip. I can isolate. I can stay safe and still have fun.

But what is the best way to deal with not being able to do something you love? Here’s some ideas that might help.

It’s OK not to be productive

Sometimes, there can be outside pressure telling you that you have more free time and that you should be productive. But is this true? If we are taking care of someone, taking care of our health, traumatized, anxious or depressed, is that a great time to be productive? If one is laid off, sanitizing groceries, having to learn new technology, or facing uncertainty, is that a great recipe for productivity?

I would say take care of yourself first. Pace yourself. There’ll be time to do other things. Or you can do things more slowly. It’s alright.

Do things that help other people

For instance, help people who cannot or should not leave their home. These might be neighbors, friends or family members with serious illnesses or disabilities who should minimize public settings. You can do this directly or indirectly. You can donate to Meals on Wheels or other places. This helps out someone. And it helps you out by connecting, feeling involved and giving.

Connect with nature

Those of you who know me personally probably knew I was going to say this. It’s one of the reasons why I love night photography so much.

If it’s safe, get outside, exercise, walk around, go to a nearby park that doesn’t have lots of people, go for a walk in the woods, walk around the block, eat outside, plant a garden.

Play cool, soothing music

I love to play ambient music while around the house, working on things, relaxing or even writing articles like this one.

I have odd taste in music, so I listen to Brian Eno or The Mercury Seven. But I’ve turned on many friends to Andy Othling, who frequently does beautiful live ambient guitar improvisations called Morning Care on YouTube.

OK, sure, suggestions for photography-related stuff

As you feel better, you may wish to begin with some small photography-related projects. Something easy to get you in the flow when you have time. Choose something that is doable and immediately gratifying. I’ve been dabbling in macro photography, for example. It’s easy to do and I don’t need to leave the house. Take photos of family, cats, children, flowers, heirlooms … whatever you come in contact with.

Other ideas include learning some new software. I’ve been experimenting with LuminarAI, for example. It’s easy to use and immediately gratifying while producing quality results.

Perhaps reading books on photography might be calming and inspiring as well. You can never go wrong with reading books on lighting or composition.

You could also cull your catalog, back up your photographs to another hard drive and cloud backup service. You DO back up your photographs, don’t you? Don’t you?!?

Achieve a balance

Find gratitude in what you do have that is positive. Take control of the things you can control. Best wishes in getting through this and achieving balance.