Exploring the elements of earth, air, water, and fire through the landscapes that surround us.

The Red Rocks of Sedona, AZ highlight the diversity of life on planet earth.

The first time I visited the American Southwest, I remember emailing a friend, “It’s all, just, so brown. It’s brown everywhere!” My eyes were accustomed to the greenery and flat beaches on the East Coast, and I was both confused and in awe of this extreme landscape. It was so different, so much of a contrast, so much earth.

A year later, I found myself visiting Sedona, AZ—another mountainous desert landscape. As I was hiking around Bell Rock, I paused to appreciate the scenery and how beautifully different it was from home. I felt the elements so strongly: the sun grew hotter like fire, the little breeze was a slight respite from the heat, the earth kicked up dust around me, and there wasn’t a drop of water in sight.

The Red Rocks of Sedona, AZ, highlight the diversity of life on planet earth.

When I look at this picture I snapped that day, I see the stark contrast between the dry, hot earth and the cool, breezy sky. To me, it represents the elements of earth, water, air, and fire in both a spiritual and concrete, physical way. It’s impressive to see how, in any landscape, these components find balance and synchronicity, whether that’s the sandy, cool beaches of the East Coast, or the fiery, dry deserts in the Southwest. Regardless of how these elements interplay with one another, they find their unique expression and balance in each setting.

For this week’s challenge, explore the classical elements of earth, air, water, and fire. How do you capture something invisible like air, or the movement of water? Or, more personally, is there a place you go to feel connected to the earth? Take a moment to explore these elements, in or out of balance, together or individually, as you pick up your camera this week.

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  1. If you want to imagine what the world might look like thousands of years ago, Galapagos Islands will be close. This group of islands was formed and still continue to be formed as a result of volcanic activities underneath the ocean’s surface. It features elemental landscapes and an amazing variety of wildlife that has survived and evolved under the harsh environment.

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  2. I moved out to the western US back in 1976 and lived in Ca or Nv for the next 20 years. LOVE the desert!! It was So much more OPEN to FEEL the elements, to work withIN!!~ less manmade “interference”
    Many people would visit (from back east especially) and their reactions to the desert were varied and so interesting. Some people embraced the Energy and wide open-ness of the land. Others found it a bit disturbing. TOO open for them. lol Also I have heard many say just what you expressed when you first arrived. “It’s all, just, so brown…” I always encouraged them to look closer and not Just with their eyes. There are a plethora of colors beside brown!! As with many different environments I have lived in I could see so much More than the “brown-ness”
    Great pic !!


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