What is Repeat Photography?

Repeat photography is the practice of taking multiple photographs of the same subject, from the same location, at different times.  For ecologists, it is becoming a popular technique for observing changes that occur in a particular area, and serves as an inexpensive “time machine,” allowing us to replay the natural and historical drama of a particular place.

researchers taking photos
Photo courtesy of Lacy Karpilo

Repeat photography is a great way to investigate landscape change because:

  • it allows scientists to gain perspective on trends occurring in an area that may not have been studied previously,
  • photo pairs often span years in which other information about landscape change may be lacking, and
  • viewing landscapes over long spans of time can reveal changes that would otherwise be difficult to discern.

Many other parks and regions have been the subject of repeat photography studies.  Perhaps one has taken place near your home.  If not, starting a project is as simple as taking a picture and marking it with the date and location.  You can retake the photo each month, year, or over any length of time that you like.  Who knows what types of changes you may document – it may be the start of something big!

Continue on to Repeat Photography in Denali