Starbucks: Pine Ave : Long Beach

It’s always good to get out and shoot. And both Eric and I felt that way when we met for today’s minute:72.

The morning in downtown Long Beach was overcast and chilly with the sun warming us up only when it decided to peek out from behind the clouds. Even though the light was flat, it was good to get out and see what we could produce with what was around us and given the inspiration of the day.

We picked up the top paper in the rack as we always do and flipped to the 7th page where the 2nd word waiting for us was: manager.

Already knowing what manager meant, we still looked it up online to make sure we didn’t miss anything. Manager – a person responsible or in control. Taken literally we could find people at their jobs who are managers, but we knew we had to dig a little deeper and try to capture an image that represents what managing is all about. We brainstormed a bit and figured that there were lots of things around us every day that manage us or control us in one way or another, thus being a manager in its own right – for example, the street lights, street signs, and the lines on the roads all keep us in line when out on the street.

We were on the hunt to find those things effectively doing their job. We shot people moving through intersections, the lights controlling them, gates that contain and control us in one way or another, and lots of other things managing something.

Out of all the photos we took, probably the most interesting image we got was of one telephone pole which was working extra hard at managing all that was going on around it. It stood there above the rooftops routing intersecting wires, serving as the vision for the street below by supporting a streetlight, managing the load of all the electrical by hanging transformers from its top, and clearly the one in charge when it came to this corner of Long Beach.



Starbucks: 7th & Park : Long Beach

Eric and I met today for another minute:72. It’s been a while since we’ve both been busy with our businesses. But we finally got back together to challenge ourselves once again.

We grabbed the top paper in the rack and had to move a couple sections to get to a 7th page without an ad. Finally landing in the sports section, the second word on that page was: players.

Simple enough. Those who play a game or instrument. Or those who are skilled at manipulating others. Looking around us, there were options – lots of sporting locations: baseball, golf, tennis and lawn bowling. We thought of different angles to take – shooting actual players of a game or even the equipment they use that implies there are players there.

As we approached the local baseball field, there was nobody there. No players, only little gaps in the fence to see where players compete. Not much to see there. Next up were the tennis courts… again nobody to be seen. But a gate was open and Eric shot a few photos of some tennis balls in a ball machine. We ere hoping our luck would change at the lawn bowling greens.

As we approached the lawn bowling greens there was nobody at the first ones we came across. Could this also be a bust?

We continued to another and then another still where we finally found a handful of people playing lawn bowling. We went into the gate and sat on the perimeter benches and took a few photos. The lady who runs the greens approached and we explained our project. She was more than accommodating and even invited me to try my hand at lawn bowling. Not as easy as it looks, yet it was a lot of fun.

As I bowled, Eric grabbed some images of the experience. Our favorite image is actually an image of the players who are partially blocked by an object in the foreground. You still know they’re there, but what’s plainly visible are their lawn bowling balls focusing on the act of playing.

minute:72 : players


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

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