How to Convert Your Camera into a Time Machine

by Barrett

I’ve got an amazing photo project for you, but it’s going to take you years… even decades to complete. You might even have to pass it on to your children to finish. Are you ready…?

I’ve got an amazing photo project for you, but it’s going to take years… even decades to complete. You might even have to pass it on to your children to finish. Are you ready…?

I’ve been talking a lot lately about my quest to take better photographs. Pictures that are sharp and capture the moment… or an expression on someone’s face. Part of this equation (for better or for worse) is to take the same shot multiple times in the hope that I’ll capture that magic moment I see or something shortly after… which approximates it.
(Or at least try to get everyone with open eyes open)

Sure, that recipe creates twice to five times the number of photos you’ve got to manage, but I must admit, it’s a helpful insurance tactic to increase the odds you’ll actually get the shot you want.
(It’s also quite useful to remember when you ask a stranger to take a snapshot of you and your family. Believe me…)

Capturing Time
But the concept of taking the same picture over and over again can serve another goal. It can create a time machine of sorts for you…

If you purposefully remember to snap a picture of someone or something in the same place… every year… then, think about the mind-bending results.

Now, you’re capturing the passage of time.

You’re no longer trying to be a good photographer. Now, you’re stepping into the role of photo historian.
(How cool is that?!)

Granted, this type of project is not for those with short attention spans. You’ve got to put years into it. Even decades.

It’s not difficult to do. You’ve just got to remember a few shots and keep repeating them.

I’ve been snapping my time-machine photos around family events and vacations. These are the moments in my life that have returned me to the same physical spaces year after year.

I’ve found it’s better to go with posed shots that are easier to replicate over the course of time.

But certain action shots can also be predictable. (Like blowing out birthday candles) And it’s always great to collect them together across the years.

To this last point, you might already be collecting certain repeated photo moments. You’ve just got to find them… and then let the magic unveil itself!
(They don’t always have to be taken in the exact same space.)

For example, here’s pumpkin-picking sequence covering the past few years…Picking Pumpkins over the YearsPretty cool, right?

It’s All about the Journey
The truth is… this type of archival photo documentation never really ends. Assuming you’re printing these photos on quality photo paper, or you’ve figured out a way to ensure your JPEG files survive the passage of time, you should eventually hand off your project to ‘the next generation.’

At some point, we all think about our legacy. That you can hand off those series of images that succinctly represent the journey through life.
…Whoah!

What a concept.

And it’s never too late to start.

It’s time to start building your ‘Guardian of Forever.’

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