The challenge (see below for full details) is to depict four elements in photographic form. I have seen some of the entries and aesthetically there are some awesome entries from extremely talented photographers. I just decided to go wit h the first four images that sprang to mind for each element, so here goes:


Fiery End To The Ramayana

This was a fiery end to an open-air rendition of the classic Hindu story – The Ramayana. It was held in September 1997 on a balmy evening on the holy site of Prambanan, Java, Indonesia.


Peru 2

A Condor Moment – this shot was taken at the Colca Canyon in Peru in 1999 using an old point and click camera. We waited ages until the thermals were right for the condors to take flight in the search of prey.


Viet TC-1

I captured this shot when visiting Ha Noi in November 1998. This was a period of Vietnam’s worst floods in living memory and at times the rain reached biblical proportions. This hardworking lady wasn’t going to let a little matter of lashing rain get in the way of doing her trade. She was absolutely scurrying to wherever she needed to be to sell her wares, bare-footed and with just some flimsy plastic & her conical hat against the elements.


Viet TC

Khe Sanh in Vietnam taken in ’98. This was the scene of a fierce battle in ’68 between the US & Southern Vietnamese against the Viet Cong. The battle raged for nearly six months, during which the US military dropped 100,000 tonnes of bombs, including many containing the dreaded de-forestation substance Agent Orange. Nobody conclusively won the battle, but the result has been ‘Dead Earth’ that will take many more years to recover, as well as a metallic scrapyard. The futility of war!

So there you have it, my photographic take on the four elements. Competition details below:

Welcome to the Thomas Cook Explore the Elements photo blogging competition. It’s all about capturing and expressing the four elements through travel photography.

We’re looking for bloggers to publish photographs they’ve taken which best represent one of the four elements. All the categories are open to your interpretation, so you can be free to take a picture of anything you feel showcases your chosen element.

Once the competition has finished our panel of leading travel experts will come together to select the best photos. Each judge will preside over one category picking a winner from each before they collectively choose an overall winner.

The four 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 an amazing £5,000 travel fund. Keep up with the conversation using the official hashtag #ExploreTheElements

The 4 Elements



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



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



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



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


Publish an Explore the Elements post on your blog with an image for each element or as many as you want to capture
Spread the word and nominate 5 of your fellow bloggers to take part
Lets us know you’ve entered by tweeting @ThomasCookUK oremailing us
Keep an eye on the Thomas Cook Twitter account to find out who wins

So I need to nominate five fabulous bloggers. Apologies in advance as the closing date is Sunday night UK time, but if you are inspired I would like to nominate the following bloggers:

Have Bag Will Travel






  1. Air is my pick from your lovely gallery Wilbur. We skipped Colca canyon for want of time.

    PS: You have linked all your nominees to their Gravatars. Notifications will not show up, unless you link to their about pages.

    1. Thanks Madhu, still learning so thanks for the tip! Glad you liked the little gallery – are you an air sign by any chance? The condors were majestic. They sat on the rocky outcrop for 1 hr 55 and then just launched off when we had 5 minutes left of our visit!

  2. […] friends – Suzanne of The Travebunny, Kathryn of Travel With Kat and Wilbur of Wilbur’s Travels – have nominated me for yet another challenge. The Thomas Cook Explore The Elements Travel […]

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