Why I’m Opting To Leave My Camera At Home On My Birthday

Not that you cared in the slightest...

Posted on 5 min read

You know me, I love photography. I might not be that great at it, but I love it nonetheless.

It’s my birthday this weekend (tomorrow FYI, if you fancy popping a card in the post. Don’t worry, I’m joking. Don’t rush to Hallmark.) and what I usually do on my birthday is push myself to document virtually every single waking second of my ‘big day’.

It’s rather pathetic and I’m getting on my own nerves doing it now, so God knows how you must all feel. However, this year, I just don’t feel the need to document it quite as much as I have done over the last few years.

This urge to document came along, or at least got more intense, once I started this blog. And it’s continually become stronger ever since.

As bloggers, we spend so much time living our life through screens, that it can be really easy to lose perspective.

It can be very hard to know when to step back and put the camera down.

Why Instagram makes my birthday less fun

In this post from last August, I said that I was going to try and reassert my boundaries with my camera on my birthday regarding photos for a photo diary on this blog and – here’s the biggie – my Instagram grid. To cut a long story short: I failed.

As much as it pains me to admit it, because it frankly doesn’t paint me in a very good light at all, I’ve had less fun on my past few birthdays. Why? Instagram, mainly.

Just take that in: I have less fun on my birthday because of my obsession with documenting the day for online platforms like Instagram and this blog.

So it’s partly because of Instagram. It’s also partly because of the pressure I put on myself to get ‘good content’. Yuk.

In fact, when I say ‘less fun’, I’m being quite restrained.

In actual fact, I’d go as far as to say that I get quite stressed out.

Who the hell goes out of their way to photograph pretty streets for the ‘gram so badly that it leaves them frazzled on their own birthday? Me, that’s who.

What an idiot. Especially when you consider just how small fry I am.

York, Yorkshire, Tourism, Pretty English Cities, England, Travel, Katie Writes, katiebwrites, katiewritesuk, ©Katiewrites.co.uk

I walked around the streets of York a lot, giving myself achy feet and roughly 400 photos to process in Lightroom.

Last year, I toyed with the idea of leaving my camera at home and just taking my little point and shoot film camera. But I chickened out at the last minute and threw my mirrorless camera in my bag.

What happened? I walked around the streets of York a lot, giving myself achy feet and roughly 400 photos to process in Lightroom.

I did take my film camera too, and while I didn’t get the results I was hoping for – call it a rookie error – I did enjoy that more than sticking my Canon M10 up to my face countless times.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love photography. (And blogging too!) But, my Instagram account doesn’t really grow that much, regardless of how much effort I put in (so I’ve more or less stopped bothering.)

Plus, a lot of photo diaries on this blog – particularly York ones – take a lot of work (editing and formatting) and don’t tend to do that well. They’ve essentially flopped every time I’ve done one.

The amount of work and effort that goes in can no longer be justified, frankly.

York, Yorkshire, Tourism, Pretty English Cities, England, Travel, Katie Writes, katiebwrites, katiewritesuk, ©Katiewrites.co.uk

The ‘Content Creation Vacuum’

On days out, including my birthday, I seem to get sucked into a content creation vacuum. Like I said, it’s only since I started this blog, really. The only way that I’m aware of my surroundings and regarding them is in terms of how photogenic or ‘aesthetic’ they might be.

Rarely looking up from the screen of my camera, I’m fully in the ‘zone’; which isn’t really great when you’re supposed to be celebrating, relaxing or enjoying doing something new, somewhere different.

If you’re taking your ‘content creation’ too seriously, even though it isn’t your job, it tends to be the opposite of enjoyable.

It’s all-consuming for someone like me, who’s easily occupied with a camera in hand. It’s so bad that I’m guessing that I’m going to feel quite lost without a digital camera in a touristy hotspot like York.

I tend to walk around with my camera in hand thinking of the next place from my list to photograph next. Which is honestly quite sad, isn’t it? (The list, by the way, is often curated on Instagram.)

And, this year, I want to take things easy.

I know the place I’m going to quite well now. You’ve seen it yourselves a fair few times on this blog! It’s very pretty, but like I said, it’s something that both you and I have seen before. So, do I really need to photograph every corner of it for the third time?

It’d be lovely to wander around leisurely, without juggling more than one camera, plus my phone. Thinking of video for IGTV, stories, grid photos, blog photo diary snaps, it’s endless ‘work’. It’s my birthday, I don’t want that!

I don’t want to stick to an itinerary either. I don’t want to think of Instagram in the slightest. I don’t want my birthday to be dominated by ‘work mode’ or ‘online world’ thoughts.

Perhaps it’s just a blogger thing? This urge has been far, far stronger since I started Katie Writes. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had form for taking my camera everywhere and annoying everyone with it, but I seem to take it quite seriously now – and therein lies the problem.

If you’re taking your ‘content creation’ too seriously, even though it isn’t your job, it tends to be the opposite of enjoyable.

I’m going to have my cake and eat it WITHOUT photographing it first.

So, I’ve got a couple of rolls of film. I’ve got my two film cameras. (Film: Kodak Ultramax 400 and Fujifilm Superia 400. Cameras: Canon 500 and Olympus Trip MD3, if you’re interested.)

And that’s it. I’ll take the odd snap on my phone too, probably. But, I’m even going to leave my 4G off, so I can really ‘switch off’. No birthday scrolling for me.

So, there won’t be a full-scale photo diary. There won’t be a post about Bettys – I’m going to have my cake and eat it WITHOUT photographing it first. And there won’t even be myriad real-time Instagram stories of my day.

There might be a 35mm Diaries film photo diary, though. That’s it.

You don’t care about my birthday anyway, do you?

In all honesty, I’m quite excited to explore the place with my eyes without burying my head in a viewfinder instead.


Do you go a bit overboard when it comes to documenting things too?


As I mentioned yesterday, I’m going to be taking a break throughout the rest of August. This’ll be my last post until September! So, all that’s left for me to say is: See you next month!

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