Interpreting The Elements In Images

Blogger 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 Photoblogging Challenge requires me to publish photos that best represent my interpretation of the four classic elements of Earth, Water, Fire and Air.

Here are my choices:

Represents the hard, solid objects of the earth. Associated with stubbornness, collectiveness , physicality and gravity:Cape Buffalo, NgorongoroThe buffalo is said to symbolise strength and abundance. This magnificent specimen and the vastness of the Ngorongoro crater beyond, seemed to me to embody every feature associated with the element Earth.

Represents the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world. Associated with emotion, defensiveness, adaptability, flexibility, suppleness, and magnetism:
Ablutions - Kolkata, India
The life giving and cleansing properties of water make it an esential element in many religions. Buddhist and Shinto shrines have Temizuyas at their entrances. Most mosques and churches their ablution/ baptism fountains.  Hindus use temple ponds or their holy rivers. This candid shot captures a priest performing his ritual ablutions in the river Hooghly – a tributary of the Ganges in Kolkata.

Represents the energetic, forceful, moving things in the world. Associated with security, motivation, desire, intention, and an outgoing spirit:Ganga Aarti- Varansi, IndiaAs the flame of knowledge that dispels the darkness of ignorance, fire is central to Hindu rituals.  Its power of devouring destruction associated with the cleansing of egos.  Regardless of ones beliefs, it is hard not to be swept up in the energy and fervour of the Ganga Aarti in Varanasi.

Represents things that grow, expand, and enjoy freedom of movement.  Associated with will, elusiveness, evasiveness, benevolence, compassion, and wisdom:Balloon ride over- Cappadocia - TurkeyAir was the hardest to go symbolic with. So I stuck with a more straightforward interpretation of a balloon. Floating over the surreal landscape of Cappadocia remains one of our most memorable experiences.
Thank you Suzanne and Kathryn for the nomination. With the 16/03 deadline just a day away, I throw this challenge open to those of my readers that want to attempt it.

There are great prizes to be won: 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.

Go on, try your luck….

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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on

103 thoughts on “Interpreting The Elements In Images

  1. Four elements, four great choices, Madhu. The stance of that cape buffalo and the emotion that the priest evokes are especially appealing. The Aarti brings back vivid memories of Varanasi, a place that I want to learn more about and spend more time in. Have a great weekend. 🙂

  2. Love your choice of pics for this challenge, Madhu. The water one is my favourite. I was also nominated by Jude, but i forgot all about it. Thanks for reminding me. 🙂

      1. That’s very sweet of you to say Madhu. You’re very kind but I do really love your shots more. 😀 ♥

  3. Fire is the most appealing photo for me because it reminds me of a very moving ceremony I went to in Rajasthan. Wonderful Madhu and good luck!

  4. Madhu, I agree some great pics and also agree with the consensus that the first two are awesome. It would be a great shame if these did not qualify for the competition as you do have to nominate five bloggers to qualify I think. I actually nominated you myself this morning having only just entered myself. Your pics blow mine away I think, but I just went with some of my memorable ones when digital cameras were just a twinkle in the inventors eye!

    1. Wilbur, many thanks. Pingbacks don’t show up unless you link to a post or page. Shall add your name to the list. I should have chosen five nominees, but i was running against the clock as always – have a writing assignment to complete by tonight – so I opted out. I never expect my images to stand up to some of the professional entries out there in any case 🙂

      Shall be over to check out your entry. Apologies for not participating in the B&W challenge.

      1. Thanks Madhu, I will remember that. I know what you mean with pro competition but reckon your buffalo pic will stand out as something different to what most ‘earth’ pics will show.

  5. That’s a great selection of photographs. Each of these images is awesome!
    All the best. 🙂

  6. Impressive images for the challenge, Madhu. I really like the water’s image – truly special! It is quite a challenging contest, isn’t it? Best wishes for you 🙂

    1. Air was particularly hard for me Indah. I was thinking of nominating you, but didn’t want to pressure you with so little time 🙂

  7. You are it, Madhu. No bias. I don’t even have to say Good luck. I don’t think you need it. All images speak for itself.

    1. Thank you Ishita. I might be passing your way early September. Shall let you know if I manage a stopover.

  8. Great post with lovely photos, Madhu! Good luck, we keep our fingers, toes and wings crossed for you! ❤ 🙂

  9. I’ve just scrambled a last minute entry 🙂 🙂 I was only tagged 2 days ago and wasn’t sure I’d have time. Love your ‘fire’ shot! It’s so alive! Good luck!

        1. Yes, part of it that had me stressed last week. There is still some seepage to be attended to from the outside. The quote for the scaffolding is more than that of the work itself! I am so ready to move into a studio apartment Jo. Preferably serviced 😀

  10. Woooo! Way to go, Madhu…..nice images, and the reasons representing the four Elements, as depicted in your photos.

  11. well I hope they post the winners of this – and in your post – I like the balloon image (Air) the most – but all flowed so well – and what nice idea for a challenge – I bet it will be hard to pick winners.

    1. You are the first one to pick the balloon Yvette! I quite like the three dimensional effect of that shot myself, against the surreal background.

  12. Great choices and great images. More than that, this is the first time I have carefully read the classic associations with these elements. On previous occasions I have skimmed through, but now I get a lot from the wisdom behind these thoughts.

  13. These are wonderful, Madhu! I especially love the shot of the priest in the river. You can almost feel the water on your hands and face.

  14. this was one of my favourites! loved the rumination on “air”. one of those things that escapes the mind while traveling, sometimes even taken for granted. i shall take a good, long whiff next time. thanks for the reminder, buddy 🙂

  15. 😀 Whenever I think of Cappadocia which I haven’t visited yet I remember your hot air balloon photos. I knew I was going to like your earth best and that your best element photo would be of fire 🙂

      1. You are wrong, and pardon me for saying so – there are no weak images here, and the fire photo the way you captured it can only be taken in India. I am still favouring the earth and you know why, though as an air sign I should vote for your balloons 🙂

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