Starbucks: Pine Ave : Long Beach

Between Eric and myself it’s been hard lately to find days where we can meet up between photo shoots and ongoing design projects, but today we found some time where we could meet up for another minute:72.

We met again at the Starbucks on Pine Ave in Long Beach. We like what the downtown area has to offer – always something going on, and it’s always different.

The day started out hot and I decided to forego the coffee, however Eric still needed the jump start and grabbed a cup. We then grabbed the top paper on the rack, the Wall Street Journal, and thumbed through to the 7th page where the 2nd word was “Attack.”

Attack: to take aggressive action against; an aggressive and violent action against a person or place.

Our first thought: this is going to be tough! How do we photograph “attack”? Do we stage it? Are we going to be lucky enough to find someone attacking someone or something? Probably not, and we didn’t really want to witness such an event and just stand by and photograph it. Not knowing where to take this, it seemed like we were going to go into this somewhat blindly. So with that, we figured we would head in a different direction than we had been in before – to the East…

We captured lots of images – people attacking their day, graffiti on windows, chunks of a building removed that seemingly had been attacked by something. We even came across a stuffed animal that had been tied to a metal post like someone had attacked and tied it up. You find the craziest stuff if you just take the time to look!

We came across an art gallery that was displaying some ink drawings in the window. They all had an explosive look to them – letterforms, explosion clouds, animals, and other organic shapes being blown apart. Could this be our visual for “attack”? As Eric shot the artwork, I noticed that there was a police car across the street and if you looked at one of the explosions at the right angle, it looked as if the car was the one under attack. Eric shot this from different angles and ended up capturing what could also be a commentary on the public’s attitude toward police in our society today:

minute:72 : attack


Starbucks: Pine Ave : Long Beach

So we meet again at Starbucks on Pine Ave in downtown Long Beach… we love exploring different areas in downtown, as they all offer something unique and interesting to shoot each day. The day started out overcast and cool – a perfect day for a coffee. As usual, we grab our coffee and the top paper in the rack to retrieve our inspiration word for the day.

Buyback: the time starts now. The buying back of goods by the original seller.

We brainstormed a bit about what kind of stores buy back items: pawn shops, car dealers, record stores…. We knew there weren’t any car dealerships nearby and the nearest pawn shop we found online was about 10 blocks away, however there was a favorite record store just about 4 blocks away that is famous for its used record selection – Fingerprints. We checked their hours and they didn’t open until 10am, so we figured we would create a plan first before heading there on foot. As we talked, we got excited that we could focus on one idea in a very specific place to get our image for this minute:72 photo shoot. It reminded us of the time we shot the word “spar” and we chose to focus our shoot at DG Boxing to create our image for that inspiration.

Fingerprints in Long BeachWe started walking toward Fingerprints and arrived at 10am on the dot. We talked to the Fingerprints staff and explained what minute:72 was all about and they were kind enough to let us shoot inside their store. We found tons of used records categorized by price, by genre, by alphabet… you name it. We also found lots of CDs and cassette tapes all bought back from users ready to be resold in the old brick building that’s characteristic of many buildings in downtown Long Beach. The selection was amazing and the lighting varied throughout the store – from fluorescent light to direct sunlight streaming in through a skylight to indirect light from the large front windows flooding areas with an even light. We knew we came to the right spot to illustrate the inspiration word, buyback.

Among the images captured, there were many that said “buyback.” However, one said it best and yielded an interesting textural image. We found stacks of used CDs, out of their wrappers and stacked on the floor. They weren’t ready for the sales floor, as they hadn’t been labeled with prices or sorted in any way. These were clearly in the process of being bought back.

Thank you, Fingerprints, for allowing us to capture today’s image inside your store!

To find out more about Fingerprints visit their website and if you like what you see, give them a big thumbs up on their Facebook page here, we did!

minute:72 : buyback


Starbucks: Pine Ave : Long Beach

The morning is overcast and we met again at the Starbucks in Downtown Long Beach. Although we try and hit a different location each time, this spot seems to just have so much going on around it and there are many directions we can head from this starting point, which leads to something different every time.

We got a coffee and went to the top paper in the stand to get our inspiration for the shoot. The seventh page: the second word: seal.

Although we could think of a few meanings for the word, we looked it up any way just in case there was something we were missing:

1: something used to join two things to keep them from coming apart.
2: wax or other material, stamped and used to show where a document came from.
3: something used as a confirmation or guarantee of something.
4: a fish-eating aquatic mammal.
5: a member of an elite force in the US Navy.

We could take this in a number of ways, so we decided to head out and see if there was anything around that would help us create a visual for any of these meanings.

We almost instantly found things that could represent our inspiration: pipes sealed off, fire hydrants’ openings sealed up tight, tape bringing together different materials so they don’t come apart.

sealing in actionAbout 10 minutes into our shoot we found a couple painters using masking tape to seal off part of a building with paper and plastic. We thought this was our shot: something actually in the process of being sealed. We shot it and joked that we could be done now – after all it’s an unusual piece of street photography. But we knew that there could be something else waiting for us around the corner. We had to let the minute:72 creative process take place.

We walked blocks and blocks and found many more examples of things that were sealed – all which could represent our inspiration for the day. We knew that we would have some editing to do on this one. And sometimes we see different things when we come back and look at all the images together on the screen.

After some time away due to some work that had to be done, Eric and I both looked at the images again quite a few days later. With a fresh eye, we saw things a little differently than we did when we were shooting. There were more images that could work than we initially thought we had. But one image stood out more than the rest to us – it wasn’t even one of the images that we thought was a hero when we shot it.

There was a manhole cover in the middle of the sidewalk. As expected, one sees a manhole cover as sealing up a hole in the ground. But what was unique about this one was that, although it sealed the hole, there was an additional seal over that when someone added asphalt on one edge to cover the uneven ground nearby. This totally showed sealed on multiple levels and pushed this image in the hero spot to represent this day’s minute:72.

minute:72 : seal


09:35 am
Starbucks: Main St.: Huntington Beach

Another trip to Main St in Huntington Beach and another overcast beach morning. There were plenty of people on the street and even more huddled in side the corner-situated Starbucks. Eric and I grabbed a coffee and our inspiration word for the day: blunts.

We punched in the word “blunts” into our smartphones and found a few meanings:
1: a marijuana filled cigar.  2: having an edge that is not sharp.  3: abrupt in speech or manner.

After discussing our strategy, we figured that we probably won’t find a marijuana cigar anywhere in the next hour. Next idea was to shoot things that weren’t sharp, or if we could interpret it differently – out of focus.

That was it: a whole shoot that’s out of focus. Sounded pretty crazy and it would be a huge commitment to end up with a bunch of blurry photos. Quickly Eric shot a photo of a palm tree that yielded a pretty cool blurred graphic. So we figured we’d go for it.

Off we went in search for some more graphically interesting images that would look good blurred: high contrast, interesting angles and shapes. We came across some other things that might be an interesting composition if it was to be in focus, but they didn’t say “blunts” and so we kept with our original plan.

Heading down to the beach we shot many images – some that you could tell what they were and others that you couldn’t. About 45 minutes into our shoot we came across a few men in suits sitting in chairs near the beach. It was kind of a peculiar sight judging how they were dressed. But what was even more interesting was how 2 of the men were acting. Their standoffish body language spoke volumes toward another man who had crashed their well-dressed sit in. This find made us switch gears a little and tighten our focus to capture what we thought was a perfect example of 2 men acting out our inspiration word.

For the rest of our shoot we kept the focus and came across some other interesting images, some saying “blunt” in their own way and some just interesting in their own right. Many of these became some worthy seconds which can be found here.

black and white street photography


Starbucks: Ball & Valley View : Cypress

It’s been a couple of weeks since we hit the streets and shot for 72 minutes. Spring break kept us from getting together… and now the rain is trying to keep us from shooting, but today we’re determined to keep it going and shoot rain or shine. And that we did. By California’s standards it was pouring, however by other parts of the world, I’m sure this was just classified as humidity.

Eric and I grabbed a nice hot cup of coffee and our word to serve as today’s inspiration:
Seemed pretty easy, as we knew what this meant and it shouldn’t be too difficult to grab photos of people or things going ‘to’ somewhere. But it started to rain harder and as we brainstormed inside the dry Starbucks with our hot coffee, we didn’t want to go anywhere.

After about 10 minutes we knew we had to get out there and see what we could find. I ran to my car and grabbed a hat, then we hit the street. We walked blocks and grabbed plenty of photos of cars which were about the only things going to somewhere out in this weather. We got lucky and were able to mix it up and also capture a few people with umbrellas out in the rain.

Further investigating brought us to a park with a basketball court, however nobody was out and about. There were some images captured of a tattered basketball net showing the trace of someone who dreamed of taking their skills further.

As we searched, the rain came and went and we ventured out further to get a glimpse of different surroundings. We came across an interesting payphone which probably hadn’t been used in quite some time. It didn’t say ‘to’ to us, however the image of its broken handset dangling by its wires served as an interesting subject.

We finally were stopped by a loud noise coming up the street – an ambulance. We froze and immediately turned toward it coming at us. All the cars at the intersection also stopped. Nobody was going to anywhere, except the ambulance. It’s as if time stopped for everyone except the ambulance driver. His ambulance was the only thing in the vicinity which was going ‘to’ anywhere. Eric panned as the ambulance tore through the intersection leaving everyone else around frozen in time.

minute:72 : to


Starbucks: Magnolia Ave : Long Beach

Eric and I headed back to downtown Long Beach because there was so much to see the last time we were down there. So we hit up another Starbucks across the street from the courthouse. We grabbed a coffee and the top paper on the rack. Seventh page, second word: western.

The time started and even though we knew what the word meant, we sat and brainstormed a little. Situated in the west. Facing west. Living in or originating in the west. An entertainment genre about cowboys. Even our last shoot, once, said “western” – if only we could have had that word when we shot that photo. Oh well, no dwelling in the past.

Well we couldn’t get any more west than we were. after all, the Pacific Ocean was only blocks from where we were. But we had to think of what showed western to us. We looked around us and knew we had to start walking to find more.

As we took to the streets, there were interesting people who showed western to us – business people with tattoos, interesting fashion statements and the like. We went further and found other signs that we were in the west: apartments with bicycles and surfboards perched on balconies. We even took photos of arrows pointing in a western direction.

All of these things said “western” to us in one way or another. But when we came across the old Long Beach courthouse being demolished, we stood transfixed for a while. Large dinosaur-like machines ripping apart the floors, dropping heavy chunks of metal to the ground. For some reason we knew this said “western” to us… Where else in the United States do we regularly rip apart buildings instead of preserving them for future generations like they do back East? And the amount of rebar sticking out of the concrete is totally reminiscent of a building that could be subject to earthquakes like they might be in the West.

Eric and I knew this had signs of “western” all over it. After we shot and went back to edit what we found, there was one photo that looked very map-like. The blue of the sky against the jagged demolished concrete wall seemed like blue ocean against the western land of the United States. It may take some imagination, but to us, this says western:

minute:72 : western


Starbucks: Bellflower Blvd : Long Beach

Eric and I were planning on meeting at a Starbucks in downtown Long Beach again today. But our plans got derailed once I got a flat tire and had to get it fixed first. Instead we ended up meeting somewhere near where I was, so we didn’t delay our minute:72 photo session any longer. Starbucks on Bellflower Blvd it was. Not our first choice, as it is located in a parking lot of a KMart across from a residential area. But we knew we had to work with what we had and make something work – perhaps there was some reason that we were being pulled from our original plans.

We grabbed a coffee and the top paper on the rack, the Los Angeles Times.
Page 7 – 2nd word: once.

On one occasion only. Or something that occurred in the past. Once. It seemed pretty clear to us that we had to capture something that used to be. Perhaps something that had at one time been the best, but now is no longer. Or something that can only be used on one occasion.

Off we went in search of our subject. At first it didn’t seem like we would find anything – all that was around us were cars in a parking lot and houses across the street. But we knew that if we didn’t cover some ground, we wouldn’t find much more.

We shot leaves that had once been alive, now on the ground without any green. We also found cars that were left sitting on the side of a house, not of much use any more. Then there was some litter, including a flattened beer can – used once, then discarded.

These things were fine and all, however we wanted something unusual. Then with about 10 minutes left in our 72 minutes, we passed a most peculiar house unlike any other in the neighborhood. It was intentionally clad in weathered wood. On its porch were broken birdhouses and other odd pieces of wood. But leaning against a large tree was a broken wagon wheel. It definitely said “once” to us. Almost even like the “once upon a time” kind of once, telling a story about the old wild west:

minute:72 : once