minute:72  :  singer

12:15 pm
Starbucks: Via Lido & Newport Blvd: Newport Beach

So we met in a different place – Newport Beach. And at a different time – lunch. The bright sun provided more warmth and shorter shadows than we had previously experienced. We thought a change of scenery and time might be good to keep things interesting. So we grabbed a sandwich and a coffee and checked the top paper in the rack – USA Today. Our word today is “singer”.

Eric and I sat down and brainstormed while we ate. Someone who sings. A Singer sewing machine. Birds. That was about it.

Being down near the boat docks and near a busy street didn’t really provide much in the way of any of these. So we turned to our iPhones and looked for any kind of antique or vintage shop that might repair clothing and might have a sewing machine. There was a vintage clothing store right across the street, so we went there to ask if they had a sewing machine. We didn’t get lucky.

So we thought that perhaps there might be a musician performing at the pier. It was our only hope and we figured it would be our best bet to capture “singer” in the next hour. With the pier .9 miles away, we quickly made our way. Along the sand all the way to the pier, we eyed people and asked ourselves if they could be used as a stand-in just in case there was no singer at the pier. Anyone could sing, right? But could they capture that image where you just know that’s what they do?

As we approached the base of the pier we could hear someone singing. We were in luck. At least we would have a subject. So we approached and surveyed the situation, listening to the music being created. He was pretty good and he played with passion. This was exactly what we were looking for.

We started a conversation with him and found out his name was Tim. And he was more than accommodating and didn’t mind us shooting him as he performed. Tim started up a nice rendition of the Beatles’ Come Together. He got up, walked around and felt every note he played as he moved and sang. Eric shot every angle as he belted out each word, capturing a singer.

Feeling comfortable that we accomplished what we set out to do, we dropped some money in his case, thanked him for his performance and headed back to our original location with a few minutes to spare.


minute:72  :  police

8:30 am
Starbucks: Magnolia & Atlanta: Huntington Beach

Today we ventured out to a location that we hadn’t ever been to before today – a Starbucks in Huntington Beach off the beaten path. The only things around are a post office, a park, some random stores and the backsides of some neighborhood tracts.

We got our coffees and pulled out the paper I brought from home (still wrapped in the plastic – I didn’t peek at the word for the day although Eric still accused me of it.) Our word was “police”.

Police – as a noun, members of a force that enforces laws – or as a verb, to keep in order by means of police.

There were no police in sight, so we brainstormed on ways that laws were enforced when the police weren’t around. Perhaps we could do something that would bring the police here… nah, we were committed, but didn’t want to be committed. Road signs – they bring order to streets when police aren’t around – a little stretch, but it was all we had, so we took to the street and shot the street signs and other road markings that enforced the rules of the road.

As we were walking around Eric spotted a sign for Sweet O Donuts. Perfect! It could be another avenue to explore – maybe a cop will be in there, or perhaps we could just riff off of the fact that cops love donuts (or so the legend goes.) Sweet O, here we come!

As we entered Sweet O, there was nobody in there except for the woman behind the counter. So we explained that we wanted to shoot some donuts for a project and asked what donuts the police were most fond of. Apparently, she said it didn’t matter, as long as it’s a donut. So we ordered up a couple sprinkled donuts because of the color they provided, as well as a traditional glazed donut. She served them up on a bright green plate with some jagged-edged tissue that just might make the composition more interesting.

So we shot some beautiful images of donuts. From all angles. With coffee. Lit from behind. Shallow depth of field. We covered it all. But it seemed that it needed some sort of human element to bring in the police theme. It was time to introduce a model.

The shoot got more fun as I started to pose as if I were the police in plain clothes sitting down to my daily treat. But as we shot, we found that it needed more story infused into the shot. So what we introduced was a situation where someone was doing something wrong – and from the point of view of someone catching them in the act. We wanted to tell it all within one image, but also introduce a way to show a before and after.

The scene: A donut shop.
Props: Plate of 3 donuts as seen in the camera’s screen on the table.
The Act: Man grabs one of the donuts and takes a bite, only to be caught in the middle of the action. A look of surprise and guilt as he is caught red-handed.