The glorious east-west corridor

March 23rd, 2017 → 6:56 pm @

Some streets lie on an east-west axis. For a street photographer, that’s significant. It means that the sun shines down the street all day. In a city with tall buildings, there’s more light, because buildings cast shadows across a street that has a north-south axis.

These east-west streets produce better street images. People’s faces are defined better. There’s more contrast.

In strong sunlight you’re also less noticeable, because people walking into the sun can’t see you so well.

When I arrive at an east-west street I walk up and down it two or three times. Each time the people are different, so you get several bites at the cherry.

A few people are static on the street, such as street vendors, and they may notice you behaving in this odd way. Who would walk up and down the same street several times without going into any of the shops? But in my general experience of life, people are less interested in us than we imagine. Most people are interested only in themselves. The exceptions are police officers, private detectives and spies.

So the next time you’re out shooting on the street, stop to ask yourself, is this an east-west street, a north-south one, or does it lie on some other axis? You’ll begin to appreciate the benefits of an east-west corridor. It will need other characteristics, such as enough people. But compared with other axes, east-west is best.


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