Aberdeen Beach, Water, Explore the Elements, Scotland

Explore the Elements

As soon as I saw this Explore the Elements Photo Contest, I knew that I wanted to enter it, and I was smitten (and a little intimidated) by this incredible example entry by one of the judges.

I love the idea of exploring the elements, the raw power of nature and the way it connects to something deep within each of us when we see something of great beauty.

For my entry, I have tried to only use images that came from that kind of experience for me this year. Each of these photos represents a moment that I was stopped dead in my tracks and my eyes filled with tears of wonder at the world around me.

Haystacks, Lake District, Coast to Coast Walk, Macs Adventure

Haystacks in the Lake District (Wainwright’s favorite fell)

“Have your lunch when you get to the other side of Haystacks.” our B&B host told us as we set out on the second morning of walking the Coast to Coast.

If we had waited until these stacked rocks came into our view to eat our lunch, we would have died on the trail. It was just after 5 pm when my friend, Diane, and I finally made it over this fell. Our shaking hands clutched at the jagged edges of earth every step of the way up and we collapsed with relief when we got to the other side. In a state of delirium, we shot our first (and most viewed) YouTube video. It’s a memory that will always make me smile.

Aberdeen Beach, Water, Explore the Elements, Scotland

High tide at Aberdeen Beach

Ever since we moved to Scotland, I have been regularly making my way down to this spot when I feel overwhelmed. I took this shot one Sunday afternoon when I went to watch the surf roll in and out, to let the loud crash of the waves drown out the sound of the voices in my head and to behold the force of the water. For me, these are reminders that there is a power so much greater than myself, an almighty God in whom I can find peace for my wandering soul.

Bastille Day, Paris, Explore the Elements, Fire

Fireworks at the Eiffel Tower on Bastille Day

Arguably the greatest travel mistake I have ever made was booking a trip to Paris during Bastille Day without realizing it. I shared the experience of being wonder-struck at this fireworks show with several members of my precious family and we will all remember it forever and ever.

Foggy Coast to Coast Day, England, Lake District, Explore the Elements, Air

Hikers walking across England in the Mist

When Diane and I walked the Coast to Coast in September, we kept running into this group of twelve other hikers. We met them on our very first day and they reached Robin Hood’s Bay just before we did. On some days we saw them over and over again, passing one another during rest stops, but then we would have days where we did not see them at all.

On this misty day, they noticed us going the wrong way and called out to us, preventing us from getting lost. Had they not seen us that day, we would have been gravely lost, going a direction from which I am not sure we could have recovered. We kept up with them for the rest of the part of the trail that was this foggy, staying close enough that we were prevented from disappearing into thin air.

This photo reminds me of the beautiful camaraderie that grows up among the hikers on a long-distance trail, an experience that lasts for as long as you are hiking but then disappears like the fog when every one goes their separate ways at the end.

More details:

So, the way this contest works is that I now nominate five other folks to enter next. You don’t have to enter if you’re nominated and you don’t have to be nominated to enter! (So join in the fun either way!) But I would LOVE to see Sarabeth, Whitney, Jerusalem, Jacob and Sarah play along! The prizes are pretty fab and it ends on March 16th.

Y’all, I had so much trouble choosing the photos for this contest! I made an album of my favorites and then chose four from it. Have a look and tell me: Did I choose right?? (I’m so indecisive!)


  1. Love your shots…but the hikers in the mist is my fave!

  2. I love your entries especially the one of The Eiffel tower on Bastille Day, so well chosen to the theme, good luck to you and your entries!

    1. Thanks so much! It was a lot of fun to go back through and choose these! I love re-visiting my travels through photos! 🙂

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