In an ideal world, we’d be able to do time-lapse photography of our bonsai starting with the bare trunk, then progressing through new shoots and first wiring, then sub-branching and unwiring and rewiring and ramification and apical development, all the way to show condition. The next best thing is the progression. I love progressions, because they show you just what can happen starting with a bare trunk (for deciduous trees) all the way through to the “finished” bonsai. They’re a great teaching/learning tool. Plus they can give a historical perspective on your trees.
Here’s a water-elm progression in photos. May 9, 2015 to July 1, 2016. No need for commentary.