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: 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


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



Starbucks: Pine Ave : Long Beach

Today we decided to take minute:72 downtown Long Beach. We just felt that there’s more happening downtown and that we would be able to capture more life and action. After finding parking on the street we walked to the Starbucks on Pine Ave, grabbed some coffee and our inspiration word.

Our inspiration today: capture an image that represents: targets.

We were excited to receive a word like “targets”. It’s pretty specific as to what it means, which will give us something to aim for. Targets refers to something that’s the subject of an attack, or a mark at which someone fires or aims. Typically concentric circles or crosshairs are used when marking something that is targeted.

It looks like anything we aim the camera at will be a target, but we hoped to find something that either looked like a target or something that was targeting something else in some way. We had our work cut out for us, be we figured if we looked around enough, we’d be able to find something that represented the word “targets” well.

We left the Starbucks and started down Pine Ave. We were immediately met by the loud noise of construction from across the street. We saw workers jackhammering some concrete and decided to see if they’d let us shoot them using the concrete for their target practice.

The closer we got, the noise became more deafening and we could see pieces of concrete flying everywhere. Once we got closer, the workers stopped and looked nervous not knowing why we wanted to photograph them. We explained that were were just artists who wanted to get some photos of them jackhammering. They welcomed us to get close. Once we got closer, we noticed that the pattern on the ground contained circles and lines forming corsshairs – perfect for our inspiration. Eric used a wide angle lens and got in real close, capturing all the dust and action of the jackhammer targeting the concrete in a relentless attack.

We kept shooting and found many other ideas and objects to shoot – from birds to cars and buildings to people. But none was more fitting than the jackhammer.

We ended the shoot with a Periscope broadcast wrapping up our shoot.

minute:72 : targets



Starbucks: Bolsa & Edwards : Huntington Beach

We met at a Starbucks that we had never met at before, right off the freeway in Huntington Beach. We grabbed a coffee and grabbed the word for our inspiration: the.

That’s right, our word was “the”. We knew that a simple word like “the” would be bound to happen at some point. But, such a simple word didn’t turn out to be so simple. We started our timer and discussed our word. Eric immediately said, “I don’t even know what the word “the” means. It’s like trying to describe what milk tastes like. You can’t do it.” And you know, he was right – I found myself also stumped as to how to describe it. So we looked it up and found that it’s a definite article used before a noun to specify a particular thing. Not just any noun though, but something specific.

We thought that we could shoot anything and call it “the” shot of the day. Our first idea was to shoot something that is definite – something there’s only one of. The sun came to mind, so we shot it. But we wanted more. We started shooting everything around us. We even turned to Periscope for the first time to broadcast our shoot looking for help from viewers. We were hoping that we might find something in a photo we didn’t initially see.

After the shoot and in editing the photos, both Eric and I had a hard time deciding on one photo that symbolized the word “the”. So we sat on it and looked deeper into what each photo represented to see if we could draw out more meaning. We looked for photos that seemed to hold the letters T-H-E or any other meaning that tied it closer to the word “the”. There was one photo that kept coming back up in conversation:

The cup. It wasn’t any ordinary cup, but one that was cast aside as a piece of trash in the middle of the sidewalk – crushed, yet still standing. It was upside down and didn’t hold anything except for light which made it stand proudly in the shadows, giving it a life that one would not expect. The photo is about more than just a cup. It’s about the persistence and resilience of something that transforms it from the ordinary and into something unique and individual.

minute:72 : the


Starbucks: Katella & Los Alamitos Blvd.: Los Alamitos

Today the weather was not disappointing: Crisp air and not a cloud in the sky – the makings of another sunny California winter day. Eric arrived at Starbucks first and grabbed a cup of coffee while waiting for me. The moment I got there, we were ready to go. We grabbed the top paper in the rack and turned a few pages. Page 7, 2nd word: owned.

We knew what “owned” meant – it’s pretty simple, really. To possess something. But we looked it up really quick on our iPhones to see if there were any other meanings that we could extract from the word. Owned also means: to acknowledge full responsibility for something: to utterly defeat or humiliate.

We knew instantly we might be able to take this different ways. But just like our first thought, we figured it would be easy to show ownership of something. After all, everything around us is owned by someone. But how do we show something or someone actively owning something else, and in an interesting way? That’s what we were on the lookout for.

We found a lady and her dog and we knew that was an easy way to show owned. We captured it, but knew we wanted more. We came across some graffiti which could be someone’s way to show they own that area. We felt that was just ok. There were also weathered, stamped metal plates in the street proclaiming they belonged to the city’s utility department. We found many things which showed “owned”. But nothing really stood out the way we were looking for.

Switching up and down the streets in the area revealed places of residence as well as small businesses and even a small church. There was a lone statue in front of the church greeting us, but something about it was totally unexpected – someone had stepped over the short iron fence surrounding the statue and placed a shovel against the statue’s outstretched arm. A small act of defaming the statue not quite at the level of graffiti, but whoever did that definitely took over the original intent of the statue and owned it in their own way. I’m sure if it could express itself, it would feel totally humiliated.

We knew we would have something to show for this 72 minutes, but kept going with the 25 minutes we had left. Nothing quite said owned as well as that statue until we rounded a corner on a more industrial block and looked up. There above us were a pair of shoes tied at the laces and hurled onto the power lines leaving them hanging out of reach. I remember hearing different explanations for the hanging shoes, one being that they represent a gang-owned territory, which definitely could support the “owned” idea.

I looked it up on my phone to make sure that’s what it meant while Eric shot the dangling shoes. I found many explanations for what the shoes could mean. But probably the most fitting was that shoes tied together could be a symbol of bullying, where a bully would steal someone’s shoes and toss them somewhere they are unlikely to be retrieved. That, to us, showed “owned” the best so far.

We captured other images of people working, clearly being owned by someone else at that moment. There were other signs of graffiti that we captured along with lots of things that were owned by someone. But at the end of the 72 minutes, we felt that the shoes represented the word “owned” the best.

minute:72 : owned