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Giving Thanks in New York - The Blog at Reaching the Two Year Mark

Giving Thanks in New York - The Blog at Reaching the Two Year Mark

Much to my objection towards uncertainty, Anna has been away from Hong Kong for much of the year. Needless to say, I've had to make some necessary tweaks to the site's collaborative effort. Because of that, I've officially enlisted Lydia to join the blog. Without taking proactive measures, new updates would certainly grind to a halt. Besides, with Lydia now bearing a part of the burden, Anna is no longer unreasonably tied down to the demands of the update cycle.

To some readers, this change may seem rather abrupt - especially for those who have mistaken the familiarity of our collaborative effort with deeper meaning. Allow me to clear up any ongoing misconceptions. I am as reclusive a person with my collaboration as I am with my public persona on this blog. In other words, after the photowalk is done, we all go our separate ways. Whatever collaboration is undertaken is a means to an end for the sake of creating content.

So then, why do I periodically travel with Anna... and now Lydia. As unconventional as this may sound, I'm only being practical. After all, I do have a rather heavy travel schedule. So, doesn't it make sense for me to to take advantage of the change in scenery when the opportunity permits? For the sake of offering some variety in content, I have three options in my bag of tricks. I could either review new gear, change the subject, or change the background.

Time waits for no one. Anna's still asleep from jet lag, so Lydia and I started without her. Seated on a pedestrian island - with the tulips in bloom - Park Avenue.

Now standing on the pedestrian island.

Seated inside St. Patrick's Cathedral

From a different direction.

Looking up.

Tracking wide open. Not a good idea.

So on the occasion of reaching the two year mark of this blog, I decided to settle on the latter. I was already going to be in New York for business, so I figured why not take a break from the rut of yet another photowalk in Hong Kong. It's not as if I have any new gear to review, or presently feel committed to conduct any overly exhaustive comparison. Besides, I kind of had to if I wanted to post new content and fulfill my regularly appointed updates on the blog.

Alternatively, were Anna and Lydia absent from New York for the week, timely update would only be possible if I took on new subjects locally. Admittedly, that is something I could've easily done, but it wouldn't make sense. To be frank, both Anna and Lydia are as much a part of this blog as the gear reviews, the kookie comparisons, and the deep dives into the discourse of photography. So to exclude them while I mark the second year of this blog wouldn't seem right.

But more importantly, having them here in New York for the week is an expression of gratitude. I have much to be thankful to my partners in crime. Without them, the blog wouldn't be the same. Simply put, they're the watermark that gives this blog its signature look. Since it is my hope to remain as much in the background as possible, Anna and Lydia provide the foreground familiarity that gives this blog its visual identity, which would otherwise be missing.

With wings at Rockefeller Center.

An even distribution of passersby in the background for a balanced composition

Looking skyward to get more flags in frame

From an even lower angle.

At the top of the Rock. Changing to a 50mm lens to bring the foreground closer (or rather not make it seem further).

When architecture ruins the view, but you still want a picture of Central Park from the Top of the Rock.

Also worth noting is how this blog has evolved, because of my collaboration with Anna and Lydia. In a manner of speaking, it's no longer strictly a photography blog anymore. Considering how rare images of gears are intentionally displayed or accompanying specifications listed on the blog, it wouldn't make sense to regard it solely in that way. If anything, I would say this blog has become as much a visual narrative as it is a newsworthy or informational site.

For me, this development has been very transformative in providing me both purpose and growth in the photographic medium. In forcing myself to undergo the same repetitive process with Anna and/or Lydia, week after week, with slight variations in implementation, I've come to appreciate photography from a much broader perspective. And it's not just the insight I have earned through the act of repeated image taking. It's also what I've discovered in the image captures.

Still, all the effort undertaken in making this blog a reality would be immaterial, if not for your support. I am grateful that this blog has a growing readership, which really is the most any blogger can reasonably hope to achieve. To be frank, I really didn't know what to expect when I first decided to embark on this harebrained idea. But now with two years under my belt, I am thankful how positively this blog has been received.

Outside the New York Public Library, with Anna finally joining the fun. Image has been edited, with the left half of the image pasted from another image.

On the steps of the New York Public Library.

Lydia at Bryant Park

Anna at Bryant Park

Low vertical shot with the Empire State Building in frame.

Crossing the light.

Admittedly, I've had help along the way, for which I'm truly thankful. Leica Rumors was the first site to feature my kookie writing. Also, the Phoblographer have been extremely supportive, in syndicating a dozen of our features on their site. And let us not forget the support I've received from the tight knit Leica community. Without them, I doubt I would have had the opportunity to write a kookie feature on Viewfinder Magazine. 

But of all the support received by this blog, no other has made more of an impact than site visits originating from Google searches - which account for more than half our daily traffic. Admittedly, I'm under no illusions that Google's algorithm has any part in supporting this blog. However, what these site visits do suggest is how the blog is finding its way into the browsers of many online visitors. How very bizarre.

What's even more bizarre is discovering how many of the blog's content are actually ranked within the top ten of simple or even detailed search queries on Google - especially as it pertains to Leica. In that way, I suppose the blog has earned its stripes in being considered a legitimate online resource - which truly is humbling. It certainly wasn't something I would have expected when I first embarked on this journey two years ago.

As a photo narrative, this image would have made more sense if Lydia and Anna came up from the Downtown & Brooklyn exit.

The Flat Iron Building.

On Broadway, with the Empire State Building in the background.

Checking Instagram photo.

Anna, on the front seat of the cab. Off to Lower Manhattan.

Lydia seated next to me.

Looking forward to the months ahead, I am still working on my collaboration with Bellamy Hunt of Japan Camera Hunter, in cosmetically modifying analog Leica rangefinders. The folks at Kanto Camera, who have been entrusted with this project, have certainly risen to the occasion. The lengths they're willing to experiment in getting what we want just right is remarkable. For their willingness to go the extra distance, both Bellamy and I are thankful.

As for what's in store for the blog, I don't plan ahead. But there are certainly a couple of bucket list review and comparison that I would like to conduct. It's just a matter of getting around to gather up the handful of lenses I'm still missing. Other than that, I would like to find a way to expand my bag of tricks for the sake of offering some variety in content. To be confined to just three options does seem rather limiting. Perhaps a different genre of photography?

Anyway, my next two blog post will be accompanied by photos shot in New York City. Like I said, it will be a nice change from the streets of Hong Kong. Although to be perfectly honest, I kind of have to unload these photos quickly onto the blog. Anna and Lydia are still waiting for their travel snaps. So, until I post them on the blog, they're not going to get it. I mean I've already delayed this update for two days, in order to post it on the blog's second year anniversary.

At the Brooklyn Bridge.

Still at the Brooklyn Bridge... finding space away from the crowds.

Last resort, when dealing with wind - if your subject has long hair.

Figuring out how best to take a picture of a landmark when it's been blotted by a mechanical eyesore in the foreground.

Looking up in Lower Manhattan.

When jet lag gets the better of you, and you no longer even want to try for a good photo anymore.

All images have been optimized in Lightroom. Some of the images have been cropped for the sake of better composition. All images shot on the Leica M10 + 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M Double Aspherical or Leica 50mm f/1.2 Noctilux-M Double Aspherical. It seemed like a good idea at the time, since I wanted something compact and good in low light. I thought I was going to be taking photos at night.

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