First of all you’re too comparison shots are terrible.
You have different times of day, different airplanes, different weather, and different locations and altitudes.
Also notice that some graphics settings have changed over the hot fix although not everyone’s has some people have reported that some of their graphics settings have adjusted slightly.
One thing that could be an issue is using bloom, the bloom in this game is terrible simply just don’t use it.
And for another reason your bottom picture looks like it was overexposed. The only thing I could think of producing that result is that you took the picture right after you got out of the cockpit or that it was adjust in post.
I’m really sick of everyone complaining about all the little downgrades that have been made to improve performance and in this case especially that I have seen no change besides LOD changes to the lights and some adjusted lighting to the terrain. FPS on the other hand I have nothing head but improvements when the game first came out I was barely able to run 30 frames on small craft, now I’m pushing it up at some points nearly up to 90.
I don’t mean to push you down but you have no proof that your settings haven’t changed, no evidence that the pictures may have been purposely manipulated, and your comparison shots do not line up with one another.