At the beginning of the year we launched our first ‘Explore The Elements’ photography competition searching for the perfect shots to best represent the four elements – Earth, Air, Fire and Water.
The level of the entries was unbelievable and we were especially impressed by the broad range of creative skills used to approach the brief.
Over the course of eight weeks from 19th January we received over 270 entries. Our four judges lent their trained eyes to well over 1000 stunning images to find the best in each of the four categories. It wasn’t an easy task but they finally came to their decisions on a winner for each element as well as an overall winner.
And here they are. We’re sure you’ll agree that the standard of photography is truly exceptional.
EARTH CATEGORY WINNER
John Ramer at johnramerphotography.blogspot.co.uk
Shore Acres State Park – Oregon
Our earth judge, Dave Bouskill, says: “As soon as I saw John's entry I knew it had the potential to be the winner. He captured the Earth Element perfectly. I interpret the photo in this way: In this shot the earth acts as hard solid stopper against the fury of the sea and even though it will still keep pounding relentlessly the earth will never give up. A perfect interpretation of the definition for the category that we put forth.”
Sathya at liketheocean.com
Morning Glow, Bryce, Utah
Dave Bouskill says: “What I loved about Sathya's entry is the layers. It was almost as if we were looking at a photo of the earth sliced in half. It really captured the essence of the hard, solid objects we were looking for in the Earth category and combined it with the fragility of the hoodoos which are affected by all of the elements through time.”
Sarah at travelcake.net
After the rain
Dave Bouskill says: “I chose Sarah's entry because she really thought outside of the box for her interpretation of earth. A lot of the entries were of landscapes but this one took a different approach. She combines the human element and the vulnerability of the earth, something that I thought was a creative approach to the element.”
Check out all of the entries for the Earth category on our Pinterest Board
WATER CATEGORY WINNER
Marius Vieth at mariusvieth.com
Retina - (Dusseldorf, 2013)
Our water judge, Ken Kaminesky, says: “Marius Vieth's interpretation of water was to me by far the most unique. I loved the colours, the composition, and the mysterious quality to the ethereal image. Everything in this photo just works on so many levels and it makes me want to go out walking in the rain.”
Tanya at tanyawallis.com
Lake Wanaka Tree, New Zealand
Ken Kaminesky says: “Tanya has a beautiful way of looking at the world and her shot of a very iconic tree in New Zealand has a fun twist to it. The melancholy mood to the image made me stop and inspect it for some time. That's always a good sign.”
Alin at alinpopescu.eu
Ken Kaminesky says: “It took me a moment to realize that the image had been inverted but even if it had not been, I would still really like this cool photo. Water is represented in the form of liquid in the lake, snow on the trees, and vapour in the clouds...Nicely done.”
Check out all of the entries for the Water category on our Pinterest Board
FIRE CATEGORY WINNER
Patrick Asselin at patrickasselin.wordpress.com
Sunrise over the Rialto Bridge, Venice, Italy
Our fire judge, Elia Locardi, says: “I know Venice very well and this specific location was captured perfectly. Though the scene contains a strong water element as well, the sun definitely burns strong in the sky and creates great warm tones against the cool tones below. This was my favourite addition to the fire category and a very lovely image overall.”
Motaz at motazphoto.com
Elia Locardi says: “This is a fantastically executed steel wool shot and I specifically like the way the cool tones of the sky clash with the fiery embers. This shot was close to taking the number one fire spot!”
Fakrul at fakruljamil.com
Fiery sunset over dead trees, Malaysia
Elia Locardi says: “What I love most about this image is the simplicity that was achieved through long exposure. The strong heat from the warm tones is a perfect complement to the twisted shape of the dark branches.”
Check out all of the entries for the Fire category on our Pinterest Board
AIR CATEGORY WINNER
Karen at karenhutton.com
Freedom in air, Santa Cruz
Nicole Young says: “When I saw this photo, it immediately stood out. I love the ethereal, fine-art mood - the entire image is in movement. And the colours! The artist did a beautiful job with this photograph.”
Joel Robison at joelrobison.com
She of the Air
Nicole Young says: “In this photo, I can feel the air. The out-of-focus elements in the foreground really made this photo stand out. Excellent work, and a beautiful composite.”
Tanya Wallis at tanyawallis.com
Byron Bay, NSW
Our air judge, Nicole Young, says: “This image is very playful, and very clever! It was a unique take on the topic and I fell in love with it right away.”
Check out all of the entries for the Air category on our Pinterest Board
Motaz Alnahdy - motazphoto.com
Water - Motion
Earth - Crater
Air - Time Gate
Fire - Light Tornado
Ken (blog.kenkaminesky.com) –
Motaz Alnahdy was the clear overall winner to me with four strikingly beautiful images that showed vision, creativity, and photography skills. The final result was a series of images that overall best exemplified the spirit of the Explore the Elements photo competition. Hearty congratulations to our lucky grand prize winner. Bravo Motaz!
Nicole (nicolesyblog.com) –
What I loved about these photos was that each image represented more than one element. They each have "life" and make you feel like the world is moving around you.
Dave (theplanetd.com) –
Going through hundreds of entries can be a daunting task. But when I came across Motaz’s post it left me with the feeling of wanting to see more images. All of the photos were strong contenders for the individual categories and as an overall winner his stood out to me the most. He was able to capture each element with skill and creativity. I can't wait to see what he does with the winnings and can't wait to see the photos!
Elia (blamethemonkey.com) –
Motaz's work really struck a chord with me specifically for the consistent quality of each of the four entries. Each piece fits perfectly with each theme, the work has striking detail and it's post-processed really well. Nicely done and congrats!