Certainly if you have EXIF tags on your photos, either those written by your digital camera, or those you may have added manual to older photos, this is the way to go. "exiftool" is reliable and supports all of the various formats and tags.
For instance, the following command, prints out the creation date of all image files found underneath the 2010 directory.
exiftool -r -csv -s -t -EXIF:CreateDate 2010
Output looks like this:-
49 directories scanned
625 image files read
You can then use this information to search for files in the dates you are interested in. I believe there is also a graphical version of exiftool for Windows (exiftoolGUI) which might be more friendly to use.