Photographic Monitoring – How is it done

Kangaroos Mt Majura July 2009 rs
Because human memories of a changing scene – the when, what and how much – are inadequate, FoMM volunteers are using repeated photographs to record and so capture any changes. To be of real value, the photography must capture only the scene change, and not be affected by camera type and position, and lighting. Therefore, FoMM volunteers carefully repeat photographs from 22 separate positions (photopoints), at the same time of day (around midday) beginning when the fencing was completed (October, 2009), and now continuing every three months.

Registering the images to each other for each of the 22 photopoints has summarized the changing grassland conditions between and within the three plots. The 22 photopoints are collected into three groups, each emphasizing one particular type of view, and made dynamic by converting them to YouTube videos.

‘Looking along the Fence’ is the first group, comprising five photo-points. Each is an eye-height view along the fence boundaries of plot 1 (total exclusion of herbivore mammals, no grazing) and plot 2 (exclusion of kangaroo, rabbit and hares only). Four of these five views emphasize vegetation contrasts developing between the inside, where grazing animals have been sieved, and the outside, where there is grazing is not restricted. One view records the vegetation contrasts developing between the two fenced plots.

‘Bird’s-eye’, the second, and largest, group of photo-points, imitates the views of a bird perched on the top wire of the (2m high) fence looking down and along it. The set of 14 views also focus on developing vegetation contrasts between the inside and outside of the two fenced plots, as well as between them. From these high viewpoints, the changes in the ground vegetation types and abundance are far more obvious.

‘Panorama’, the last set of three photo-points, provides a 360° survey from the centres of all three plots. The survey is presented as vista each of the four cardinal directions: North, East, South, and West. A wide-angle fisheye lens is used to capture the condition of the ground layer within each plot.

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