Starbucks: 7th & Park: Long Beach

Once again we meet at Starbucks to exercise our creativity. It’s a typical June morning in Long Beach. The sun is starting to peek out from behind the clouds and it’s starting to look like it’s going to be a nice day. We grab a coffee and the top paper in the rack and get our word. The second word on the seventh page today is “spar”.

spar: to make the motions of attack as in boxing, especially as a part of training. to box, especially with light blows. a dispute.

This is going to be interesting – so unexpected. We brainstormed to see if we could take this in another direction or if we could reinterpret the word spar using what we had around us. We noticed the way cars in the street seemed to attack each other from different directions but never colliding – another possible take on “spar”. Some of the angles and compositions were interesting, but it seemed too much of a stretch to us. We had to figure out another approach that just worked at first glance for this word.

I remembered that there was a small boxing gym, DG Boxing,  up the street from where we were, so I checked my GPS and found it was only a little more than a mile. We’ve walked that far on past shoots, so we figured we’d call and see if they’d let us shoot there. We tried to call but there was no answer. We hope they’re open, because that’s probably going to be our best bet for this shoot, and if they’re not maybe we’ll find something along the way that might work.

As we walked, we kept brainstorming and looking for another option that represented spar. But it wasn’t looking too good. We got closer to DG Boxing and had already eaten up  about a half hour of our 72 minutes. Fingers crossed, we turned the corner into the small center in which it was located. They’re open! We knew there was hope. We went in and looked around, but there was only one person working out. We couldn’t have a spar with only 1 person. So we talked to DG himself and told him what we were up to and he said that he had another guy who just went out for a run and would be back in 5-10 minutes. It was going to have to work. About 30 minutes for a photo shoot… no problem. We work best under pressure any way.

The second sparring partner returned and got all geared up. Let the sparring begin! We had never shot boxers before so we had to figure out the best angles given the tight quarters. We got right in the ring and followed the boxers around as they sparred. Even shot them from outside the ropes from multiple angles. Feeling really comfortable with our boxers, Eric got brave and had them punch into the camera. Because of the intensity of their workout, one of the boxers even got a little too close and punched Eric in the lens. Who says he’s not dedicated to his craft.

We shot right up until the final bell, going many rounds with the boxers. And even got some great stills that captured the fatigue that comes with their workout. But after all was said and done, one photo captured the word spar to us. It was only a split second, but it captured this training the best. The moment of impact:

spar: minute:72

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