Ideas for a year-long photo project of my local marsh?
January 5, 2012 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Ideas for a year-long photo project of my local marsh?

I'm going to do a photo project this year of the nearby vernal marsh, which is a preserve roughly 1/4 mi across. I plan to go once a month for the whole year. There are plenty of photography subjects, but I'm hoping to start with some ideas for specific shots and studies to continue throughout the year. This is a just-for-fun, so anything doesn't even have to be a photo, I am thinking I'd like to make a little multi-media presentation at the end of the year. Maybe the Nature Center will let me donate it...

Things I've thought of so far:
--Take a panoramic photo from the same spot every month to show the overall changing seasons
--Take a shot of the same tree every time down by the water to show the changing water level (disappears entirely late summer)
--Record the bird sounds or a little video
--Some type of catalog of the local fauna? Although I don't know how comprehensive it would be in a couple hours a month...

Any other suggestions or resources? Thanks!
posted by lemonade to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: How about a theme where you take both a full-view, and a close ups of various subjects throughout the year. It may be difficult with wildlife, but easy-peasy with interesting stumps, lichens, plants, trees, flowers, rocks, mud etc.. If you edited them in photoshop later, you could perhaps come up with a way to depict both photos on a single image.

When I take pictures in my garden in the Summer, I like to try and get at least one of my hands into the shot. Maybe you could get your (bare) feet into the pics. Or, a garden gnome, or some kind of "art on a stick" that people put in their gardens, or perhaps an easy-read thermometer.

Or perhaps make little "fairy houses" and photograph them.


Maybe you can get a net and catchy some of the swimmy-squirmy things that live in Vernal marshes before they dry up. Perhaps photograph them in a small mason jar, or a shot glass. Close-ups of these would be cool!

Sounds like fun.
posted by bricksNmortar at 12:22 PM on January 5, 2012

Best answer: I happened to notice a kind of unassuming little seasonal plant that grew only in a small patch in my local park, so I took a few pictures -- and I ended up going back over and over again for eight years to document them.
posted by moonmilk at 1:10 PM on January 5, 2012

Best answer: Can you take your panoramics and other photos, then add as much other interesting data as possible? Take notes about the water level, weather (either that day, or that week/month/whatever your interval), an audio recording, notes on any fauna, ice-in, ice out, what plants have bloomed...

Basically, can you turn it in to a photo montage with metadata, so that if you put it into a slideshow you can add things like "first robin" or "first leaves on the cattails up" or "water finally all gone" to your dated photos? If the nature center has other notes about happenings over the year, maybe you can share efforts.

I did something like this with a wetland for a semester, and really enjoyed all of the details, from the first mosses that came out to the full foliage of summer. As you go along, be prepared to see more and find more data you may want to record!
posted by ldthomps at 1:12 PM on January 5, 2012

Best answer: Take a 365-day exposure of the landscape using a pinhole camera, like what this dude did with the Toronto skyline.
posted by foxjacket at 1:23 PM on January 5, 2012

The seasonal changes in southern California are going to be minimal at best, and not likely to really show up in a panorama, unless of course, there's a wildfire. I'd document plants and wildlife that have growth and/or migration cycles. But frankly,12 still photos of a plant aren't really going to be all that fascinating.

I think documenting the people who come to Madrona is more interesting and enlightening. You could do video interviews with people--both new visitors and returning ones which could also include the bird life, plants, etc.
posted by Ideefixe at 2:06 PM on January 5, 2012

You just have to go out and do it. That's the only way to know if your idea sucks or not. Really it doesn't matter what you decide to do as a photo project, because as soon as you start actually doing it you will figure out what is interesting about the marsh and go do that. Just go out there and shoot it, the process is the key.

Any idea you or anybody else can come up with in this thread is a good starting point.
posted by bradbane at 5:51 PM on January 5, 2012

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