Finish on a High
If street photography were jazz, the high viewpoint would be a “standard”-something that consistently performs for you. Whatever town or city we’re in, there is often something below our feet, and it’s often something interesting. Look down from any elevated position and you can see streets, stores, walkways, bridges, canals, houses, traffic-all of which can provide interesting subject matter.
It’s great to linger and observe the world below when you’re above it all, and if you’re looking to capture a candid “decisive moment” you’ll probably be inconspicuous and be able to shoot away unobserved. Plain backgrounds are easy to find and will help you make a clean, uncluttered composition; look for graphic shapes and patterns as they become more accentuated from a higher perspective. Below are two approaches for you to try; your goal is to produce a set of six images using each technique:
- Find a high vantage point with a steep angle of view and single out one person to make a minimalist composition. This works best if you have a dark person against a light background.
- From an elevated position-a walkway, for example-look for an interesting pattern of people, cars, bikes, and so on, that will make a semi-abstract composition. Consider the direction of the light and the effect it is having on the scene below.
View the Images
- Look up as you walk around. Seek out good vantage points and spend time watching life below you and using the light as it ·changes.
- A wideangle lens will probably work best, but experiment with a telephoto to pick out details or compress perspective.
- Shoot early or late in the day to get long, intense shadows.
- Take care not to drop your camera!
- On a sunny day, avoid the middle of the day when shadows have no pronounced effect.