The One-Minute Photo Challenge!

by | Apr 29, 2023 | Updates & Opportunities | 0 comments

Have you ever been in a competition with an intense deadline? Do you remember your heart pounding, your hands sweating and your mind racing with a million thoughts a minute? It’s almost impossible to think.

The 8 students I worked with at CAPTURE Indiana had processed and absorbed a ton of information in the space of two days. They were doing the tough work of learning new concepts and thinking in new ways and pushing through the awkward, difficult moments of putting those concepts into practice. We spent a good amount of classroom time around the picnic tables and we hiked through the canyons to photograph waterfalls deep within the gorge.

230414-Parker James-9902

Photo by Parker James

P1031648_Isaac Peterson

Photo by Isaac Peterson

We spent time going over concepts again and again, we learned about editing our photos and using the software programs on our computers. We went outside after dark and experimented with light painting, just for the fun of it.


Photo by Elijah Sager

On Day Two, we packed in as much as we could. We had just an hour or two before dinner to take the class out to a spot known as The Ladders. As we hiked to the trail I told the students we would be putting our new knowledge to the test. They would be required to individually photograph the same object, with a time limit of one minute. Their photos would be judged for creativity in composition. And the fun twist was that the students could not watch each other as they took their photo.

We arrived at our location and picked out the Bear Hollow sign as our object. My plan was to shoot quickly and then be on our way back. What I hadn’t figured on was the amount of people coming down the Ladders on the trail. We paused our competition every time a new group squeezed through, which wasn’t much of a problem until a steady stream of people came down the Ladders, one at a time. We waited. And waited. And waited. Twenty minutes went by and they were still coming down. This was taking too long.

“Okay guys,” I said, “We’re going to a new location, out on the trail.”

Outside of the gorge there wasn’t much to take pictures of. I handed the group my pocket knife. “Here’s the new object,” I told them. “You have one minute to set up your shot and photograph my knife creatively. The rest of you sit on the other side of that hill. We’ll start with Elijah. Let’s go!”

The stress of that one minute was incredible. When it was my turn, I wasn’t prepared for how quickly the time went by. There was a lot to cram into those 60 seconds! We finally came back to the pavilion and edited our photos. The three moms and Julianna were the judges. While they looked over the photos, the rest of us roasted marshmallows and nervously awaited the verdict.

Julianna summoned us back. And we were shocked when she revealed the number one choice. For creativity in photographing the knife unlike all the others, the student with the oldest camera and the least fancy gear had won first place!

Lensp. Knife Pic

Photo by Evelyn Sager

The runner up photo was chosen for the way the knife blended into the scene.

Knife Photo Shoot Contest

Photo by Parker James

We of course had to look at the rest of the photos that were taken too.


Photo by Wes Tirey


Photo by Gabe Sager


Photo by Ethan Rodecker


Photo by Isaac Peterson

230415_James Staddon_9559 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24 mm, 1-250 sec at f - 16, ISO 400

What would you have come up with if you had been given this assignment?! There were some pretty creative and artistic photos for only having one minute! Seeing the student’s submissions for this end-of-workshop challenge, you could tell they had really got it!

We celebrated the end of the workshop with our s’mores and Izzes, wrapping up the day with an evening shoot around a covered bridge, yet another gem at Turkey Run State Park, the perfect place for CAPTURE Indiana.

230415_James Staddon_9643 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 51 mm, 1-80 sec at f - 2.8, ISO 400

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