Back when I was a kid, if you wanted to take a photo, you had to buy a physical roll of film, pop it in your chunky camera, get through the full roll of 24 or 36 negatives or slides, and then pay to send it off and wait ages for the results to drop through your letter box. One precious film could sit in a camera for months, hanging on for the right moment to take those precious memories.
These days? Well, what a change! Did you know that the estimated number of photos taken in 2021 around the world was 1.4 million million. Two thousand for every single one of us on the planet.
And yet I'm about to advocate you take some more! It has become so easy to take photographs, so cheap and immediate, that it has all sorts of uses in the wildlife-friendly garden. For example, you can take photos of creatures or plants you don't recognise and either share them on forums or get them automatically identified by Artificial Intelligence apps.
But what I'm going to advocate today, given that we're so fresh into the new year, is keeping a record of how your garden over time.
It is a wonderful way of celebrating the improvements you've made. It is also great for charting the changing seasons. And it becomes a tool for identifying what further alterations might be beneficial in the future.
Over the last seven years I've been taken gazillions of photos in my garden as I try to improve it for wildlife, so I thought today I'd share one thing you might like to try in 2022 - fixed point photography.
o here are some of a series of photos I've been taking - the view from my bedroom.
We start in 2014, looking over what was then a long-abandoned garden. The Handkerchief Tree in the left foreground was already knocking at my windows with the alarming prospect that it was likely to grow three times as big..
By 2016, same vantage point, with the Handkerchief Tree now a stump (sad but necessary), but covered in Ivy and a hanger for my birdfeeders, so still serving a great purpose for wildlife. The new pond was just in and looking very raw, but at least the view to the garden was now opening up and sunshine was reaching the ground.
By spring 2019, the lawn had been laid, the pond had settled in nicely, and the first flower beds were going in, here with tulips and forget-me-nots to the right of the pond.
And this (below) was summer 2021, with a mini-meadow in the foreground but too little summer colour for my liking. I'd been knocked out by illness for most of the spring, and the garden had definitely begun to run away with itself and needed a steadying hand. Note how a pond seems to shrink as the vegetation grows - I always say dig a pond as large as you dare for it will never look as big again as the moment you fill it.
By taking the same photo from the same vantage point throughout the year, you really get to see the many faces of your garden. This next photo was in the Beast from the East in March 2018...
...while this was a frosty sunrise one morning which set the autumnal trees as if on fire.
The challenge I've set myself for 2022? To inject that extra colour into this scene, using plants that will be brilliant for bees and butterflies. My main flower beds are elsewhere in the garden, but I'm itching for more of a show here. I look forward to sharing the results, and of course from the same viewpoint.
And maybe you'd like to do the same. Now that we've almost all got a camera of some sort on us almost all of the time, it has never been easier to chart the changes.
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