Nearly ten years ago, in 2007, I took my first trip to NYC.

Junkii and I did ALL the touristy things. We saw Lady Liberty, we climbed the Empire State Building, we went to the UN buildings, we went to Harlem and Brooklyn, we saw Grand Central Station…we hung out for about a week and took it all in.

But ever since, because we saw everything, each time we’ve gone back has been more about soaking up the culture: food, friends, music, theatre. I in particular have used subsequent NYC visits to indulge in my passion for Broadway.

That 2007 trip, though, also marked the start of another passion: photography. It was during that trip that we bought our first real camera.

While we were still a few years away from investing in a DSLR, we did buy a stepping stone camera that had more features than a standard point and shoot; it gave us a lot more flexibility and helped us to learn about aperture control, shutter speeds and other basic photography principles. It was the first step on a journey that has produced a lot of wonderful memories and some really beautiful photos, if I do say so myself.

And just to give you a sense of the difference a decade of practice can make…

I recently started cleaning up some old blog posts – making sure the links work, cleaning up grammar…that sort of thing. I’ve been blogging for 10 years too, and there’s a great deal of nostalgia hidden in those old posts. But there are also a lot of errors!

Anyway, I just cleaned up a post about our 2007 NYC trip. I had to add some photos because the post itself featured Tabblo: a now-defunct photo sharing service. In the process of looking through photos from that trip to add to the post, I came across this shot, taken just inside the entrance to Grand Central Station:

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Not much to look at, right? Oh sure, the chandeliers are nice and the architecture is lovely, but the photo itself is little more than a snapshot – poorly framed with no real focus.

In fact, I only noticed it among the old photos because I knew I had seen the same sight again very recently.

During our November 2016 trip, without remembering he had taken the earlier photo, Junkii snapped this photo on Instagram during a brief stop at Grand Central:

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Yes, it’s Instagram, yes the image was taken with a cell phone , and yes it’s treated with a filter, but even with all those limitations, it’s still a much warmer, lovelier, better composed photo. Imagine how good it would have been with a proper DSLR and tripod!

Either way, ten years of practice makes a big difference.

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