I have never entered a proper photography competition in my entire life, which might be somewhat surprising since I have been taking photographs as far back as I could remember. The farthest I have gone in showcasing my photography outside of this website has been in the LA Times, in a Travel Photo Roulette, in an interview on Geotraveler’s Niche, and on my Flickr Page.

Recently I was nominated to participate in a photo blogging competition called Explore The Elements: Travel Photoblogging Challenge by Nate Chambers of The Vagabond Experience, Lindsay Buckley of Frugal Frolicker, and Erick Prince-Heaggens of Minority Nomad, so it was an offer I could not refuse.

What is the Explore the Elements: Travel Photoblogging Challenge?

Created by Thomas Cook, the Explore the Elements: Travel Photoblogging Challenge challenges participants to capture and express the four elements (Earth, Water, Fir, and Air) through travel photography.

There are four judges who will determine one winner for each category and one overall winner:

  • Dave Bouskill, an award winning travel photographer and visual storyteller from the travel blog The Planet D, who will be judging the Earth category
  • Ken Kaminesky, a professional travel photographer from KenKaminesky.com, who will be judging the Water category
  • Elia Locardi, a professional travel photographer from BlameTheMonkey.com, who will be judging the Fire category
  • Nicole S. Young, a photographer and author from NicoleSYBlog.com, who will be judging the Air Category

What is the Prize?

Each individual category winners will receive a MacBook Air, a Fujifilm X-T1 camera, or an iPhone 6 with Bose noise cancelling headphones, depending on their personal choice. The overall winner will be awarded a £5,000 travel fund.

These are pretty amazing prizes, and I think it is cool that one or all of my four photographs have the opportunity to win them!

Exploring the Elements: My Entries

Elements Competition - Land | Cultural Xplorer

Volcán Telica , Nicaragua


Represents the hard, solid objects of the earth – Associated with stubbornness, collectiveness , physicality and gravity

This photograph was taken after a completed a six hour hike up to Telica Volcano in Nicaragua. The greens and browns in this photograph represent earth colors. The volcano itself represents a kind of stubbornness, one that will do what it wants, when it wants to do it.


Explore The Elements - Water

Reykjavik, Iceland


Represents the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world – Associated with emotion, defensiveness, adaptability, flexibility, suppleness, and magnetism

I have photographed water time and time again from various beaches, lakes, and oceans around the world. One of my favorites however is this photograph of water droplets falling off of leaves that I took during a walk in Reykjavik, Iceland. The water droplets in this photograph represents flexibility; as they slides down the leaves, they change shape and form and they seem to have a sense of magnetism as they attach themselves to other drops of water.

Explore The Elements - Fire

Florence, Italy


Represents the energetic, forceful, moving things in the world – Associated with security, motivation, desire, intention, and an outgoing spirit.

The fire in this photograph comes from the sun, which can be seen peeking out from behind the clouds during a sunset I captured in Florence, Italy. The sun appears shy in this photograph is it is covered by the clouds, but it really has a bold and outgoing spirit, as it comes back day after day to show its beauty to the world.


Explore the Elements - Air

San Juan, Puerto Rico


Represents things that grow, expand, and enjoy freedom of movement – Associated with will, elusiveness, evasiveness, benevolence, compassion, and wisdom

This photograph represents the element of air. I took this photograph of two kites blowing in the wind while I was in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Air, which cannot physically be seen, represents freedom of movement, which can be witnessed by the two kites dancing back and forth with each other as they pass through the sky.

As a final rule of the competition, I challenge the following five travel bloggers to participate in the contest: Ryan Zieman of Ryan Zieman’s Urban Serenity, Francesca of One Girl: One World, Lola Akinmade of GeoTraveler’s Niche , Sherry Ott of Ott’s World, and Andrew Graham of Fly Sights.

Which photographed element is your favorite?