Explore The Elements – Travel Photoblogging Challenge
The Explore the Elements photo contest sponsored by Thomas Cook Travel seeks to find images that best represent the four elements of: earth, water, fire and air. They gave some very basic guidelines, but left plenty of room for individual interpretation. The images are to be judged by a panel of leading travel experts who will come together to select the best photos in late March. You can follow the contest at http://www.thomascook.com/blog/holiday-competitions-deals/explore-the-elements/ or #ExploreTheElements.
For my selections I tried to choose images that were simple structurally but clearly depicted each element. I wanted images that were minimally processed and from a selection of recent work. What seems like a simple exercise actually turned out to be quite difficult. I made some agonizing choices and rejected some of my favorites. Choosing four from the thousands of images I have made since starting the retirement adventure in Asia was a challenge.
On my first day in Bhutan I had the opportunity to visit Dochu La, a beautiful high mountain pass with panoramic views of the Himalayan Mountains. At first it felt like we were the only people enduring the cold and wind of this February morning, but after a few minutes I noticed that there was laughter among the prayer flags and stupas. After searching for the source I found three young monks playfully utilizing a trick of the terrain to create the impressions of flight. But it felt like more than an illusion as the ecstatic monks seemed to, slower then you would expect, float magically on a river of air.
After sorting through dozens of photos that made for picturesque scenes, I couldn’t think of an image of mine that better depicts “Earth” than this one I made of children’s feet in a Kamu Hill Tribe village in northern Laos. It may not be the most traditionally beautiful of photos, but I couldn’t think of a better way to portray the element and how intimate it is to our species. The way the colors of the earth covered everything everything in the village reminded me of from where we came.
I chose this image of an oil lamp being refilled at Doi Suthep in northern Thailand as my Fire image, because it displays an elemental serene energy and spirit. Identical lamps in the background suggest the fire is infinite and the refilling of the chalice displays intention.
I chose this photo to represent Water, partially because of how wet I had to get to make the image. I was walking along the river in Viang Veng, Laos on an unsettled morning, which was threatening rain, when I came upon this scene of a fisherman working to lift his catch from the river. I had to tromp through mud and water up to my knees, and endure the laughter of boatmen, before I eventually found the exact angle I wanted. On this particular morning the fisherman was pulling little more than droplets from the rapidly flowing waters but there was almost a Zen feel to his work. Catching fish seemed secondary.
As part of the contest you are supposed to choose other travel bloggers who work you admire. This too was a difficult choice, but here are my nominations:
Allan of live-less-ordinary.com
Chris of oneweirdglobe.com
Dennis of seetheworldinmyeyes.com
Madeleine of thevisualvoyage.com
Stephanie of thetravelchica.com