When I interviewed the biologists about the new work-flow for plant phenology (now baptized photo-plot pheonogy) one of the major concerns across all the interviewees was the time it would take to complete the phenological counts with the photo-plot method. One of the hypothetical situations that was mentioned (more than once) was that the person doing the photo-plot counts needed to search for additional elements in every picture. At the time I accepted this defect as something that was inevitable, but now I realize that we might be able to mitigate it.
The trick would be to begin the photo-plot counts at the point when the plot is in peak production. This first count would be extremely time-consuming, but it’s a price you only pay once. After the first time you will have reference annotations when you move forward or backward in the time series. This does not mean that you wouldn’t have to look for additional stuff, it just means that most of the work would be done at the beginning of the process.