If someone asked "what were you doing this time last year?" you might have some trouble recalling. Luckily, images contain something called EXIF data and is a feature often overlooked. EXIF data (Exchangeable Image File) contains a whole wealth of information, from how your image was shot (shutter speed, aperture, ISO, Focal Length etc) to when and even where it was taken (providing you can geotag your images). Most importantly of all, copyright information is embedded onto each file and can be viewed using this data.
If you use a catalogue system such as Lightroom or Aperture, then you'll probably be familiar with EXIF data already as it's readily displayed throughout the software. Furthermore, catalogue systems often use EXIF data to arrange/store your images, allowing you to then search by specifics. For example, i'm able to select a filter option and display only images taken with a certain lens, on a certain date and at a certain time. Neat.
Below is a screenshot of Lightroom whilst processing an image that was shot today (5th February 2012) and our buddy the photographic snowman with the EXIF data on the right hand side:
In comparison, I thought it would be fun to then look back 365 days and see where we were this time last year. If ever there were two extremes, this is it. Here's a shot taken on February 5th 2011 in South Africa on safari:
If your interested in reading the EXIF data from your photographs, you don't have to use specialist software. On a Mac, simply select your file and hit 'Cmd + I', the data will then be displayed under the 'More Information' heading. For PC users, right click the file and click 'Properties', EXIF data will then be displayed under the 'Details' tab.