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Posted by on Nov 19, 2010 in Featured, Photography, Travel | 13 comments

Friday Photo 35: New York City Skyline 1999

NYC Skyline 1999 (c) Greg Pillhofer, 2010. Click to enlarge.Pam and I’s last major trip before the Mouse arrived was a few weeks around America in September 1999. We city hopped from New York to Chicago, then onto New Orleans and Orlando before ending up in Miami. It was a fantastic trip – one that we want to redo sometime in the future, but with the Mouse in tow next time.

My photography skills back then were infantile in comparison to the junior snapper I am now. And the equipment was pre-digital. Yes, in the year before my daughter was born all my travel photography was shot on good old fashioned 35mm film with a Canon EOS300 SLR and the standard kit lens that came with it. (A 28-80mm lens that I still have and use on the newer digital version of the camera.) Sadly, I have no way of knowing precise dates and times of the pictures, nor any specific image information.

I remember having fears of airport scanners destroying the exposed rolls of film and forced myself to get the negatives developed as soon as we could whilst on the road. The piles of photos – some good, some pure touristy, many terrible – landed up in a box, in a cupboard, in a back room for many years. We’ve recently be doing some rearranging around the house (read ‘moving stuff from one pile to another pile somewhere else’) and I rediscovered the pictures. I’ve started scanning the ones worth keeping and am slowly building up a digital collection of these older pictures.

This is one of them. The New York City skyline, taken from the ferry on the way out to Liberty Island. It was taken very close to 2 years to the day before the two tall towers on the left that dominated the skyline disappeared in a shower of rubble and a choking cloud of dust.

The scan has had (somewhat obviously) a fair bit of post processing done to it. I played with colour, vibrancy and saturation settings, as well as adding a chunk of lens blur (using a technique called tilt shift focussing) to draw focus to the buildings which appear to be part of a miniature cityscape. I hope it does the incredible energy of the Big Apple some justice.

“New York City Skyline 1999” © Greg Pillhofer, 1999 & 2010
Original Capture: September 1999, morning – New York City, USA
Scanned from Canon EOS 300 print


  1. If you can make it there you can make it anywhere. Let’s hear it for New York.
    I’m still deciding whether I like the picture or not though…

    • Take your time.

  2. Looks a bit like the lid of chocolate boxes of yore …

    • And that would be a good thing? Or not?

  3. I am going to hold you to that old man!

      • Mind out now, I may start a pattern and trend amongst young people here and pretty soon you’ll be forced into substituting that standard family trip to Durbs for a significantly more meaningful family holiday. More meaningful and more expensive – you have two remember!

  4. With NEW YORK being my favorite city outside of Jozie, I always enjoy it’s Skyline images, this one for me is very interesting. The blurred tops of the towers is the only “criticism” I would pass, I think if they were in focus it would changed the image…….

    • Yeah, I’m still in two minds about it myself. I though that extending the blur to the tops to the WTC buildings would help emphasise just how monumental they were – a disappearing into the clouds sort of thing – but in hindsight I think you’re right. It doesn’t quite work.
      It shall be re-investigated when time allows…

  5. was trying to get a trip together for us all next september to disney via new york but after that underhanded comment about my moving stuff from one pile to another (without any help from you I must add) I am considering telling the travel agent that only two tickets are requried

  6. I am wondering if I can use your skyline photo of NYC in 1999 as an inspiration for Quilt. The challenge is for a group of quilters to read a book and we all have to come up with a quilt project that inflects the book. The book “Kaptoil” was based in NYC in the falll of 1999. Since I have never been there I needed some inspiration to reflect the skyline and when I came upon your photo I thought it could work, but I need your permission to use ot before I start working on the project. I will not copy the photo, I will just use it or maybe just parts of it when I sketch.
    Thank you for your time

    • Hi Crystal

      I’d be more than happy for you to use the photo. Thank you for taking the time to ask – many people don’t. I’d appreciate a small credit to myself at the BlaBla Blog, the photo name and a link back to this page in some way if you do use it.

      Something like this will do: “New York City Skyline 1999” © Greg Pillhofer, 1999 & 2010 – The BlaBla Blog

      Either way, if your project does get any coverage, whether you use my pic or not, I’d appreciate a link to read up about it in reply to this comment. It sounds like a very interesting project indeed and I’d be interested in possibly doing a post on the Quilt challenge and on your group?


      • Thanks Greg
        I have to have the quilt done by March 30, so I let you about any coverage.


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