I’m very excited to be one of the judges for the Thomas Cook Explore the Elements photo blogging competition!

The Explore the Elements contest invites photographers and bloggers to showcase images from their travels that best capture and represent the essence of each of the four categories: Earth, Water, Fire and Air. There is no set requirement on how long you’ve been blogging, so bloggers with new blogs or old are all encouraged to take part.

Bear in mind that the categories are subject to your own interpretation, but should represent the corresponding elements, so be sure to read through each category description before submitting your images.

After the competition has finished I, along with three other leading travel experts, will each choose a winner from our own categories and then collectively select the overall grand prize winner.


I will be judging the Fire category

I’m specifically looking for creative entries and strongly encourage you to think outside of the box. Study the fire category description before submitting your images and above all, I’ll be looking for photos with a strong emotional impact and that are created with good technique.


There are some very exciting Prizes you could WIN



Explore the Elements Contest Category Descriptions

While it isn’t necessary to submit an image for each of the four elements to participate and possibly win the category prize, you of course have more chances of winning a prize if you do submit a photograph for each of the elements.

However, please note that IT IS necessary to submit a photo for all four element categories if you want a chance of winning the grand prize of the £5,000 travel fund.

The official hashtag is #exploretheelements. Follow the hashtag to view competition entries and keep up with the conversation about the contest!


The four categories and descriptions are listed below


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

Time Stands Still - Petra By Night - Jordan As the stars dance above the treasury in the historic site of Petra Jordan, I feel as though I’m part of of a fascinating ancient world.



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

Rising Tide || New Zealand The sky explodes with color as ocean waves wash over the St. Clair Beach pylons on the South Island of New Zealand.



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

Belly Of The Beast || Stockholm Sweden Deep below the surface of Stockholm lives the belly of the beast – one of the most fascinating looking subway stations I’ve ever seen.



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

©2014 Elia Locardi - All Rights Reserved. Scenic Rim flight with Hot Air Balloon Gold Coast. On a cold winter morning, stunning fingers of fog sweep across the landscape of the Scenic Rim in Queensland Australia.


What to do to enter the contest

Step 1. Publish an Explore the Elements post on your blog with images for all 4 elements. If you don’t have photos for all 4 elements, post images for the elements that you do have images for. Those who don’t have photos for all 4 elements will still be in with a chance of winning the category prizes, but won’t be in the running for the main £5,000 travel fund prize.

Step 2. Nominate and notify 5 other bloggers to take part in Explore the Elements at the end of your post to spread the word about the contest!

Step 3. Notify Thomas Cook of your entry before the closing date of the 16th March 2015 by either:

  • Tweeting @thomascookuk including #exploretheelements and a link to your blog post in your tweet or;
  • Emailing exploretheelements@thomascookonline.com, including a link to your post, your name and your email address.

Step 4. Thomas Cook, myself and the other competition judges will share and retweet some of our favourite Explore the Elements posts throughout the contest’s 8 week duration so be sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter accounts and the hash tag #exploretheelements closely!

Step 5. Every Explore the Elements blog entry will be judged by myself and the 3 judges with each judge selecting an element category winner to receive either a Fujifilm camera, an Apple MacBook Air, or an Apple iPhone 6 with Bose noise canceling headphones depending on their choice. The judges will then work together to select the overall winner of the £5,000 travel fund.

For further information about the judging and the prizes please refer to the Terms and Conditions page.


My Travel Blogger/Photographer Nominations are:

[li type=”glyphicon-arrow-right”]Stephanie Dandan, writer/photographer at Infinite Satori[/li]
[li type=”glyphicon-arrow-right”]Jim Nix, writer/photographer at Nomadic Pursuits[/li]
[li type=”glyphicon-arrow-right”]Seattle Dredge, writer/photographer at Seattles Travels[/li]
[li type=”glyphicon-arrow-right”]Victoria Watts, writer/photographer at Bridges and Balloons[/li]
[li type=”glyphicon-arrow-right”]Liz Carlson – writer/photographer at Young Adventuress[/li]


Important competition page Links are listed below:

Explore the Elements official contest page
Explore the Elements Terms and Conditions
Explore the Elements on Pinterest
Explore the Elements on Twitter
Explore the Elements on Facebook
Explore the Elements on Google+


Still have questions?

If you want to know more about the contest or if you have any questions please get in touch with Thomas Cook UK via either Twitter (@thomascookuk) or email (exploretheelements@thomascookonline.com)