Nicholas Klein's 12 Photos Challenge

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Digging into the photo archives

We all take photos all the time on our phones or with personal or professional cameras, and so I’ve come up with 12 different prompts that would best force you to dig through your collection in different ways (inspired by the book tag I participated in back in January). Don’t be afraid to go WAY back or to stick with more recent photos, or a mix in between.

Join the Challenge: Here are the rules

  • Link back to this post as well as thank and link to the person who tagged you.
  • Find a photo that you have taken that relates best to each of the 12 prompts below and tell a little about the story behind that photo.
  • Feel free to swap out one or two of the photo challenges with your own variation.
  • Give a shout-out to any number of friends who you think should take up this challenge.
  • Have an adventurous time!

I challenge you!

If you are on the list below, you have been officially challenged to this photo tag, are you up to the challenge? Feel free to copy this prompt to your blog or to social media!

Let the prompts begin

1. Taking That First Step

1. Taking That First Step

For me, the easy choice was this photo of two pelicans from 2002. It isn't special to nearly anyone else, but for me it was the first photograph I took that I was proud of. Over time I would begin experimenting with many different media formats (painting, drawing, sculpting, animation, etc..) and didn't fully realize the impact this image would have on me in my future. This photo was taken a year before I was given my first digital camera by my mom and set loose into the backyard during summer break to take photos of insects (which really grew my passion in photography to what it is today). Shout out to those amazing parents out there that inspire their kids to chase all the passions they have!
2. More Work Than It Was Worth

2. More Work Than It Was Worth

Boy do I have a story for you! Three words: Ramsey Cascades Trail. During my honeymoon to the Smoky Mountains in 2013, as a photographer I am compulsively obsessed with finding beautiful photos of nearby trails and then dedicating myself to getting there to take my version of that location. Sometimes my ambitions are much larger than my physical capabilities, in this case an 8 mile round trip hike through the mountains. Now, this would all be FINE - if the end result was WORTH it. In this case, the waterfalls at the end were just not as impressive as expected, relative to the journey. So much so, I don't really even have that many good photos of the falls, and instead am sharing one of my favorite photos from the hike itself.
3. A Memory You Will Never Forget

3. A Memory You Will Never Forget

One of the best decisions I have made in my entire life was to take a two week road trip with my best friend, Joshual Walker, fresh after graduating high school. We drove from Fort Wayne to Chicago, and then proceeded to follow the official Route 66 Trail all the way to California. We then took a northern route back to hit up some other states. I undoubtedly have dozens of photos I could have picked, however this one was taken with a film camera I brought along and has a very distinct memory for me. You know one of those memories you can still taste and smell and feel on your skin when you think about it? We were driving through the desert and pulled over for this shot, as a storm was brewing behind us and slowly catching up. You could feel that intense and refreshing wind that comes before the storm, if you will.
4. Someone You Have Lost

4. Someone You Have Lost

This is a photograph I took of my great grandfather, John DeMuth. During his last years with us, he moved from California to stay with us. I had not known him well up to that point, and I know it is expected of me to say, but I greatly enjoyed getting a chance to spend time with him.He had a fascinating life of travelling all over the world with a wife he adored, and I find that very relatable. He also had film cameras and I still have that camera on a shelf nearby to remind me of him, with his name still engraved into the metal.
5. That Thing You Did That Time

5. That Thing You Did That Time

We've all done something new and different, particularly as experimenting photographers! This particular experiment I am still very fond of - which utilizes lighting steel wool and spinning it in circles quickly to create the funnel of light. I selected the Wells Street Bridge in Fort Wayne, which gave a beautiful surrounding blue light. Learn more about the process here.
6. Breaking The Rules

6. Breaking The Rules

There's a reason I have an entire section of this blog devoted to Abandoned Exporation, and that it is one of the largest sections I've written about. It is not always safe or, should we say, legal, to explore some of these places. As a photographer that is always looking for an adventure, I just can't help but want to capture unique images of abandoned and decaying places. I have gone many places over the years, with this particular image being from an abandoned industrial building in St. Louis.
7. Something Only You Appreciate

7. Something Only You Appreciate

I have a few "series" I have started as a photographer, partly due to my obsession as a collector in general (such as my collection of business cards). In photography, I have obsessions with texture, for example, and have whole collections of abstract texture shots. I've done odd-ball things like a series of old fruits. One of my favorites is telephone poles. Whenever I travel, I seek at least one out. My goal is to have photographed one from each state some day! They are all unique in their own way and I love them all. You know it's an obsession when I have written a blog about photographing over 100 of them!
8. Mysterious And Abstract

8. Mysterious And Abstract

I love abstract art, which is particularly fun and challenging in photography. There are simple motion blurs of color that can be done by just panning your camera quickly during your exposure. This image is actually from a while back, but I am still quite proud of it. I named it Crossroads, and this shot was taken all in camera by simply doing a long exposure. I faced down one direction of a road for half of the exposure, and then as a car passed by I panned quickly for the other half of the exposure and held it facing the opposite direction of the road for the remaining time. This creates two images in one, both crisp in their own way.
9. You Doing Something You Love

9. You Doing Something You Love

Everyone who knows me knows that I love to travel. I mean, I guess who doesn't? For me, it is always about two things - (1) Finding something new and amazing to photograph and (2) to find new food (I am quite the foodie). Travelling provides endless landscapes to explore, and I will forever be fascinated. This one is from my recent trip to the Bahamas.
10. A Companion In Your Life

10. A Companion In Your Life

This was the easiest challenge of all time. This is one of the earliest photos of my now-wife, Sarah aka Sarah-Maree. We love to take adventures together, even just simple ones. This is one of us exploring some train tracks in town, a bridge style I am particularly fond of and it also makes for great framing. We look so young, look at that HAIR I used to have!
11. A Highlight From A Trip You Took

11. A Highlight From A Trip You Took

There is something about planning an entire trip, with trails and photography goals included, and finding something that feels like a true secret. You go to popular spots and take basically the same photo as everyone else, and that can feel a bit pointless. Sometimes, you do your research and you find that real hole-in-the-wall spot. This photo from Colorado encompasses that for me. Getting to the spot to park was a journey on its own, back in the middle of nowhere with virtually ZERO signage. No wonder no one else got there! The hike was less than 15 minutes to get to this beautiful waterfall tucked into the rocky cliffs. I could not ask for a better location, and look forward to spending more time at this exact spot in the future. There were actually several beautiful areas nearby, I could spend days exploring! Read more about it on my blog post from my Colorado trip.
12. Doing Something New And Loving It

12. Doing Something New And Loving It

I feel a bit repetitive, but I am always experimenting in photography. One of my favorite projects has been water drops. It is particularly challenging to get the timing right, but this photo was me using my first official water drop kit. This allowed for more precise timing and consistency. I worked with strobes and colored gels to create the above image out of camera with very little editing. Would you be surprised I have another full blog post about this that you can also read about? Learn more here if you are interested!

Feel free to join the challenge below in the comments, picking out just one of your favorite prompts to partake in! Or join the full challenge by using the rules above on social media or your own blog. Stay creative and curious out there!


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About the Author

Nicholas Klein

Founder and visual artist, specializing in all aspects of a businesses presence from imagery and video to graphics and web. A graduate of IPFW with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, Concentration Photography as well as an Associates Degree in Business. His personal photography works are focused on landscape, travel, and aerial photography.

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