Colorful sunset of a nearly empty Sunset Blvd in Hollywood during Coronavirus stay at home order

Empty Streets During Coronavirus Shut Down

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It’s very strange and eerie seeing empty streets in Hollywood when they’re normally busy at all hours. The economic shut down and ‘stay at home’ order by Los Angeles County and the City due to the Coronavirus pandemic has made new opportunities for street photography like you’ve never seen before – but with limitations.

Follow ‘stay at home’ orders

Of course, when leaving your home one must follow the CDC guidelines on physical distancing and the guidelines set by your city. Here, the City of Los Angeles guidelines also apply to the whole of LA County.

And if you’re truly following the guidelines that means – DO NOT go out for the sole purpose of shooting street photography!

The guidelines call for leaving your house only for essential reasons such as grocery shopping, getting other needed supplies, going to the bank, picking up medications or seeing a healthcare provider, etc.

However, you can go out for exercise as long as you maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from anyone else.

So how do you go about shooting street photography when you’re not allowed to be out except for essential trips and exercise?

An empty Sunset Blvd in Hollywood during Coronavirus stay at home order on a sunny day with puffy clouds
Empty Sunset Blvd in the middle of the day during the Coronavirus shut down

Take your camera with you when making allowed trips

Should be obvious, yes? Just take your camera with you on your trip to the grocery store or other essential outing. If you don’t live within walking distance of anything, go take a hike. By the way, don’t take that personally. I’m telling everyone to go take a hike during the shut down.

Even easier, use your cell phone. I took the two pictures above with my cell on the way to getting take out. For wider captures and impromptu cityscapes, I’m generally happy with the results I get with my cell. I always prefer to use a mirrorless/DSLR for photos of any importance but that’s just not going to happen all the time. Especially during a pandemic when I’m on my way to pick up food for the week.

Not your typical street photography

Most street photographers either shoot people or buildings and architecture. If you’re a people person, your normal subject matter doesn’t exist at the moment. Even for architecturally focused street photography, people in frame are often used to provide scale, reference or to portray the utter meaningless and alienation of the individual in modern society (okay, I admit it, that’s how I interpret just about everything).

So use the barren streets as an opportunity you may not get again (hopefully another shut down isn’t in our future). Take advantage of the apocalyptic feel of the world right now – the empty streets void of cars and the few isolated people walking around.

It’s an excellent opportunity to juxtapose the one lone walker wearing a face mask against the boarded up businesses. Or to capture what are normally bustling streets with no little to no cars like the photos I took of Sunset Blvd. Or to capture the kafka-esque quality of life during the Coronavirus shut down.

Use these empty streets to your advantage and create new and unique images that you wouldn’t be able to get otherwise before the world opens back up!

About Gate5, a Los Angeles video production company

Gate5 is a full service video production company in Los Angeles producing engaging and results driven video content for big and small businesses and advertising agencies from tutorials to commercials. 

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Read our post on staying connected with live video streaming and what kind of video marketing productions you can do during the Coronavirus shut down.

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