When I run out of inspiration, which happens more often than I care to admit, I often go out and shoot clouds.
When I take pictures of clouds, I always shoot in both directions (vertical and horizontal). What I look for is something I can use in the background of another shot. Whether a portrait or another scenic shot; when the subject is great, but the background is blah, then the whole shot seems blah.
Some question whether or not this is ethical, using Photoshop to create the perfect image. My feeling is this . . . if I take the foreground, and I take the background, and I do the combining . . . it's still my work.