On a recent trip to Iceland, I had a full day of white knuckle driving on ice packed roads. When the snow and wind would let up for a bit, I would stop and do some shooting. Upon finally reaching my destination for the night, I only wanted to have dinner and go to bed. After eating, I noticed a faint glow starting in the sky.
It was the beginning of the Aurora Borealis. Though I had been exhausted, I had completed my post-shooting routine before going to dinner. My camera gear was ready to go. I grabbed my gear and was back on the road in a matter of minutes (headed to a nearby glacier lagoon). Having already prepped my gear out of habit, I was able to enjoy one of the most enjoyable nights of photography in my life.
Whenever I finish a shoot and return home, or to my hotel, I immediately start prepping my gear for the next shoot. I don’t first have a meal, relax for a while, or set off on other tasks. It only takes a matter of minutes to start downloading your photos, charging whatever batteries you have used, visually inspecting/cleaning your gear, and putting your “go to” lens back on your camera body (if you last used a more specialized lens).
Once photos are downloading and batteries are charging, you can relax and eat. The goal is to have your gear back in a bag, fully ready to use, as soon as reasonably possible. Once you get into a routine of prepping your gear, you never have to worry that your equipment is not ready for a special moment when you are.