Exploring the Elements Through Photography

I’m not one to typically enter contests.

I am, however, someone who loves to take photos (if you’ve seen my Instagram, you know. I can’t get enough.)

Yet when this themed photography contest came across my desk, I was immediately drawn to the concept. Soon I found myself pouring over the more than 10,000 travel photos in my archive looking for images that best represented earth, water, fire, and air.

The elements surround us at all times, yet for me it’s travel that brings my senses alive and helps me appreciate the softness or hardness of the nature around me. Perhaps it’s the changing of scenery, the exploring of new places, or the acute attention to our surroundings, but I find myself immersed in the rawness of the world when I’m traveling. Certain destinations or experiences bring out a prominent element, which is what drew me to each of the images I’ve selected.

Outside of each individual element, what cemented these choices for me was two-fold: their sense of movement, and their ability to tell the story of the place I was.

First, Earth:

Explore The Elements2

Earth…”represents the hard, solid objects of the earth Associated with stubbornness, collectiveness , physicality and gravity.”

Visiting Bagan, Burma feels like a step back in time and a step closer to the earth. With temples rising out of the ground, and with each move of the horse, I became more aware of the sight, smell, color, and feel of the earth around me.

Next, water.

Explore The Elements1

Water….”represents the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world Associated with emotion, defensiveness, adaptability, flexibility, suppleness, and magnetism.”

On this low canoe through Chitwan National Park in Nepal, I became wholly aware of the water around me — calm enough to reflect, flexible enough to accommodate our heavy wooden boat as it moved slowly through the river. I can see both in this photo.


Then, fire.

Explore The Elements3

Fire…”represents the energetic, forceful, moving things in the world Associated with security, motivation, desire, intention, and an outgoing spirit.”

We had been told we were crazy to visit the Rajasthan region of India in the summer. “No one goes there at this time, not even Indians,” I was told on my train ride there. And nowhere can you feel the heat of fire more than in the desert. The sun setting over the sand dunes in the Thar Desert this night felt like a ball of fire overtaking the sky, one that we could almost jump up and touch.

Finally, air…

Explore The Elements4

Air…”represents things that grow, expand, and enjoy freedom of movement. Associated with will, elusiveness, evasiveness, benevolence, compassion, and wisdom.”

I stumbled off the busy cobblestone street into curious looking ruins. This cathedral in Antigua, Guatemala had survived the years, still standing, but open to the sky. Cathedrals already have a sense of the infinite with their tall ceilings and air of spirituality, but the feeling of lifting my head to look up — of seeing the sky where I would usually be closed in by a ceiling…it felt infinite.

Do you have photos that strike up emotion related to the four elements?  Which speaks to you most?

I’ve been asked to nominate five fellow bloggers, each whose images I hold in high esteem. I pass the torch to:

And thank you to Sherry of Ottsworld, one of my favorite travel photographers, for nominating me. Check out the official page here for details on how to participate yourself!
Cheers! Happy photographing, and as always, happy travels.

anne in handwriting

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  1. Oh snap! Looks like I’ve got some homework to do… 😛

    Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the sunset jump shot in the desert. Fire for sure!

  2. Love the photos! 😉

  3. I adore the pictures that you chose. The colors just pop! You have a very unique perspective on the world.


    • Thank you, Sabrina! I’ve got hundreds of photos to sort from the last two months of traveling, but you can look forward to seeing more here soon 🙂

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