Prior to the pandemic, going out after dark to do personal photography projects was something I looked forward to doing. I would seek out interesting subjects, be it city lights, long exposure photography, or astral photography. It was actually pretty thrilling to get out into a completely new world - one that did not exist while the sun was shining and the birds were chirping. A world full of its own light despite the darkness all around it.
Shooting at night was not only exciting, but challenging. It takes a lot of skill and practice to get amazing images at night. However, year after year, with each new iteration of (cell phone) cameras, the challenge becomes less of a challenge... the thrill is still there, but the camera does more and more of the heavy lifting. Smaller, lighter, better sensors, increased high ISO sensitivity, etc. (I can do a separate blog post on that stuff if you're all interested. Drop a comment below and let me know.)
I suppose that you can argue that the art created still requires skill and practice. The camera can't replicate that, even though the AI generators are doing their best to soon completely replace not only the technical aspects of the image, but the art and creativity as well.
All that being said, things changed over the past few years that made me take a step back from what was once a form of photography I looked forward to doing.