I started taking photos seriously in 2011, but I never organized my photos beyond date, often operating under the assumption that in some time in the future I would actually go through and organize them and therefore have some kind of personal life list. It took a while, but about a year ago I finally began this process by creating a database for my observations. Since then, I have been going through my backlog of photos, organizing them, uploading those that I had not already posted to iNaturalist, and keeping track of identifications. Recently, I completed this project, with a final total of 1,384 arthropods photographed between 2006-2016 (largely between 2010-2016). Here is a look at some of my metadata:
Completely by chance, a perfectly symmetrical pattern emerged in my identification levels. Looking at specimens I have identified to species, to genus but not species, and not even to genus- I have the exact same number (585) identified down to species as I do to not even genus. This means, if you were to score a genus level ID as 1 point and a species level ID as 2 points (as I like to do), at the time I generated this chart I had scored exactly half of the possible points (cue Bon Jovi). Furthermore, having this framework with which I can create reports of photos without ID by taxonomic grouping, I should be able to be more efficient in putting names on all of my photos.
Country/State of Observation
Not many surprises here- a huge chunk of my photos came from a summer internship in Indonesia in 2011 (by far my most productive year). Otherwise largely what I expected, mostly US with some additions from my time in Japan in 2010 (when I was sadly not taking a ton of photos) and my trip to Belize last year. I am glad to report I will be shortly adding Mexico to this list as I am heading down there for a conference and shrimp taxonomy workshop next month.
Again, this result is not surprising as I only began taking white box photos somewhat recently. However, I am pleased to see that I have white box photos of over 10% of my observations, which is nice.
Year of Observation
This one saddens me a bit- nearly two thirds of my photos were taken in 2011-12. I did make long distance relocations in both 2013 and 2014, but I don’t really have an excuse for the last few years. It is with this thought that I would like to make a bold proclaimation- between the ages of 17-27, I observed and photographed 1,380 arthropods, but by the time I am 37, that number will be at least 5,000. This will effectively mean tripling my efforts and observation rate, not an easy task by any means. However, I am determined, and also now that I have a database system in place I will have a way to monitor my progress and hopefully stay on my path to 5,000.