NEW YORK 2015 VS. 2019

This October I had the luck to visit New York for the second time. Visiting New York is always a treat, visiting on Halloween is even cooler. Besides this I was very happy to be able to explore the city again and take the pictures I felt I couldn’t take last time I was there. In 2015 I had only photographed one travel before and that was my only experience outside of aviation photography. Now, 4 years later, I have had the luck to travel quite a bit and also my knowledge and interest in photography has grown. I was super excited to see what I would be shooting and how it would compare to what I did four years ago.

First of all, let’s have a look at the 2015 pictures. What I immediately notice is that I really focussed on the typical landmarks. It feels like I went for the easy shots. The one from the Brooklyn Bridge for example. I also seem to have shot a lot of the cliché New York scenes: the food carts, the steam in the streets, etc. On the other hand, I didn’t photograph any people at all. There’s only a handful of shots that have people in them, but they’re part of a bigger image and never the sole subject. The edits are all quite harsh and even overdone to the point that the images get too grainy. Since I edit them all differently, the photos never feel like a coherent series either.

Of course it isn’t all bad. I still like the shots of the Statue of Liberty and the photo with the three birds passing over the pier with a view on Manhattan.

A big part of the photos I made were aerial pictures from a helicopter. The same moody, harsh edits can be found here as wel as some more subtle black and white photos. I think the subtle ones held up better than the others over the past years.

Somewhere between then and now I also re-edit a couple of photos. It shows that my editing has evolved into a more subtle color grading rather than going all out on the hdr or hard contrasts and strange colours.

Now, back to 2019. I set out to shoot different stuff than last time. Of course there wouldn’t be any aerial photos this time and we would also visit less of the landmarks since we saw a lot of them in 2015. The main reason for this visit was to experience Halloween, so there would be a lot more people photography involved in this trip.

In the end, I ended up with a totally different series than expected. The weather was again very gray so I couldn’t really play with light and shadows and some of our planned visits were photographically a lot les interesting than I had anticipated. Still, I just took a bunch of photos hoping something would come out. The last day saw stunning weather, so I did get an opportunity to play with light and colours too. The biggest difference with 2015 is probably that I shot a lot of people. I couldn’t be bothered anymore with being reserved so I just stuck my camera in peoples faces and fired away. Only resulting in one awkward situation.

I didn’t look at the pictures until I got home and I was pleasantly surprised with the result. A lot of the pictures were different as to what I had photographed in 2015. And both the gray and sunny weather made for some nice pictures.

I edit most of the photos with some presets I made from the London edits and this contrasty black and white worked very well. Also most of the colour pictures were edit the same way so even though there are some differences, the pictures still feel like a proper series.

The only pictures that didn’t really fit into the series are those of Coney Island. I was hoping to make a separate blogpost about shooting at Coney Island, but since everything was closed I only shot a handful of pictures. Even closed it’s still a very photogenic place, but I should have spent a lot more time there in order to get a decent amount of photos. If I ever go back to NY in summertime, I definitely know where to go and take pictures!

The reason these photos look different is because I made some changes to the saturation. This place has a lot of pastel colours that reminded me of the seventies and the saturated editing of the other pictures just didn’t fit these.

All in all I’m very happy with how the pictures turned out and even more so with the progress I made of the last couple of years. What I see, how I shoot it and the way I edit have definitely changed for the better and New York was the ideal place to check if anything changed between the two visits.

Read more about the gear I use for travel photography.

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