Explore a Photographer’s Ongoing 6-Year Timelapse of New York City

Photographer Joseph DiGiovanna is in the midst of a project to timelapse the New York City skyline continuously for 30 years. Six and a half years in, he has launched a website that allows visitors to pinpoint and explore any day since he started.

PetaPixel featured DiGiovanna’s project in 2019 as part of photographer Emeric Le Bars’s documentary series about timelapse photographers and their stories. DiGiovanna is originally from Pennsylvania, but after moving to New York, he became obsessed with his view.

“I wanted to film everything,” DiGiovanna says. “I wanted to film boats going by. I wanted to film the sunrise and the sunset and the clouds and a storm and a rainbow. And I wanted to film buildings being built and things changing.”

NYC Skyline timelapse photographer

The photos are captured every 30 seconds from a camera mounted to his window. The photos are sent to his tethered computer that is always on and receiving photos. Below is a photo of his setup and view:

Photographer in his apartment with timelapse setup

Of note, during a blackout in July of 2019, DiGiovanna was one of the few who managed to capture a timelapse of it thanks to his setup.

Now, six and a half years into his 30-year project, DiGiovanna has launched a website that allows anyone to see the New York City skyline from any time between July 11, 2015 and the present. DiGiovanna says the newly-launched website is the result of months of collaboration with developer Matthijs Tempels, and successfully meets the challenge of providing instant access to 12 million images and making the cameras automatically upload images to the website in real-time.

NYC Skyline timelapse photographer

Additionally, the project now has three New York City camera locations: Midtown, Downtown/World Trade Center, and Hudson Yards. Each of the three cameras shoots one photo every 30 seconds: that is 2,880 photos per day and just over one million images per year.

All three cameras shoot 36 gigabytes per day which adds up to 13 terabytes per year. DiGiovanna adds that there are several other cameras for this project not yet incorporated into the website. With all the cameras running this project creates over 100 terabytes of data per year.

At the time of publication, DiGiovanna had captured a total of 6,655,882 photos, and that number keeps growing.

NYC Skyline timelapse photographer

NYC Skyline timelapse photographer

Browsing the images is free but DiGiovanna is also offering the ability to purchase any image from any moment — right down to the second — over the past six and a half years. The photos can be downloaded digitally, but prints are available as well. The browsing experience can be found on NYCTimescape.com.

Image credits: All photos by Joseph DiGiovanna.