When I emerged from the tube at St. John’s Wood and felt my way over to Abbey Road, I didn’t know what to expect. Like everyone of a certain age, I’d seen the album cover with the “Fab Four” striding across the street by their London studio. I’ve heard the songs and sung along (when nobody was around). The mystique had grown in me over decades, and I figured the Abbey Road crosswalk would have the feel of a holy place.
Well, it didn’t.
If you’re a Beatles fan, Abbey Road is certainly a mandatory stop on your next trip to London, and doubtless, you’ll want your own shot in that iconic crosswalk. I’m guilty of this brazenly tourist act, and along the way, I gathered a few ideas for making it easier to get your shot.
Are you headed to Abbey Road? Here are five ways you can make it easier to become one with music history:
1. Watch the traffic: there is no traffic light, and Abbey Road is in a residential neighborhood. Cars come zooming past, except when Beatles fanatics get in the way (and even then …). Spend a few minutes watching the flow of traffic, which is influenced by lights farther down the road in both directions. Get a sense of when the natural gaps occur.
2. Note the horns: even if you pick a good time to cross, you’ll likely get in someone’s way. Be aware of what’s going on around you, and try not to be too much of a pain to the locals. They have places to go, too.
3. Make a trade: you need someone to take your picture. Someone else probably does, too. Help each other out, and be patient while waiting for an opening. Fortunately, you probably won’t be the only person in this situation, so finding a new photo buddy won’t be too hard.
4. Plan your walk, especially if you’re with a group: line up ahead of time, and e prepared to move when there’s a break in the vehicular action. You won’t have long when you’re in the street, especially if you want to be considerate of others looking for their moments in the middle of Abbey Road.
5. Instruct your photographer: when you hand over your camera, tell your new friend what you want: it will make it easier for him or her to deliver. When it’s your turn to return the favor, ask for instructions so you can do a good job, as well.
[photos by Laurie DePrete]
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