Almost exactly two planetary orbits ago (exactly two by the terrestrial calendar), I took a photograph from roughly this spot and later realised that the settings on the shot were completely wrong due to the fact that I was leaving it too long between shots and had forgotten, yet again, how to instinctively work its controls. And the next day... I decided to begin a PAD.
One year later I took essentially the same shot, from the same location as can be seen below.
Two years sounds like a long time, yet life (at least Monday to Friday life) doesn't feel that much different to then and it doesn't feel as if much has changed. Certainly I haven't achieved anything like what I wanted to in that time, and it feels like not much has happened. My PADs suggest otherwise, at least for the periods that I kept them up... which isn't as much as I'd like.
And yet even without the PADs covering a full year I know that much has happened. The job (and location) are the same, the home is the same, the personal life is completely different, the car is different and two years ago I didn't have an internet-connected 'phone so that I could, as I did today, bring up the previous two years' images to check the framing. One year ago I didn't have the Kindle that I sat down to read on a bench under a tree after I got through shooting.
The two trees in roughly the centre of the frame have grown a little, perhaps, but not that much. The HMAS Adelaide has finally gone from the old White Bay car terminal, leaving it completely bare; she now lies on the bottom of the Pacific, off the central coast of NSW.
One year ago I expected to have moved on (or more precisely been moved on) from my current job and yet the changes in that area have moved more slowly than one might think as well... as most changes in life do in retrospect. (Though interestingly (and perhaps Freudianly?) I just noticed that the focal length that I've been using in each year's shot is getting wider and wider, taking me further and further away from the subject. 28mm, then 27mm, now 22mm. And next year...?)
On the other hand, one to two years is long enough for me not to clearly remember taking either of the two previous shots.
Two years is an eternity, and the blink of an eye, both at the same time. Part of me is chomping at the bit to get into winter and see whether I can break the winter hoodoo of PADing and keep up one full year, or at least several shots per week over a full year. The other wants time to slow right down so that I can squeeze everything possible out of every second of it.
It remains to be seen what the PAD for 18 January 2013 is.