Despite a global pandemic and record-setting weather, I’m finding myself with a super busy February. I’ve learned that, while work is great and much appreciated, it’s important to squeeze in time to photograph for myself. Even if it means pulling a late night of photo editing for clients.

I’ve been trying to do this every other week or so, around my photoshoots. I usually meet up with a friend and we explore West Michigan. Some outings have been successful (like Sunday), while others … not so much. Getting caught in the woods with no service, with snow up to your knees? I could probably have done without that part.

Despite that, here are three great reasons why it’s important to get out for yourself!

Expand your creativity and try new things

I sometimes go out with gear that I’ve never used before, and therefore, that allows me to try out new things. I’ve done this most recently with my test for ND filters, but I’ve also done it with lenses.

What’s more, getting out lets you challenge yourself. Try traveling light and only take one lens next time, and see how creative you can get. This lets your mind think creatively and also problem solve the situation. You’ll be amazed at some of the photographs you’ll come back with!

Learn from others

When I was photographing on Sunday, my friend Dan had an idea to photograph the lighthouse from the center of the pier. I hadn’t thought of that; I usually photograph it on an angle, in order to show the depth of the ice.

But I tried it out. And ya know what? I loved the view. It got me a photograph that I’ve never captured before, and I was quite happy with the result.

Experience nature and reset

For me, this is probably the biggest thing. While I by no means consider myself an outdoorsman, getting out and capturing nature is something I truly enjoy. It lets me focus on what I’m seeing through my lens, and allows me to capture stunning views that I wouldn’t otherwise get.

It’s also a great opportunity to go back to the basics. Focus on things like composition, depth of field, etc. to make a great photograph. See what different settings do. Basically, perform a mental reset as a creative.