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