Outdoor gear store Blacks have teamed up with adventure holiday company Explore for a new photo competition which is all about epic adventures in the great outdoors. The top prize is £2000 to spend on one of Explore’s trips across the world and four runners up will each get £150 to spend at Blacks. Explore have an amazing range of trips on every continent – top of my shortlist would be their safari and wine trip around South Africa or maybe their tour around the Mayan ruins in Belize and Guatemala. To enter you just need to select photos that sum up each of the four categories – wild, fast, panoramic and epic – but how you interpret them is up to you, and you can be as creative as you like. So here are my choices…
You can’t get much wilder than America’s Wild West – the land of cowboys, outlaws, gold rushes and wagon trains. And the heart of the Wild West has got to be Monument Valley in Arizona. Spotting those huge rock buttes towering up from miles of deep red desert scrubland, you can’t help feeling like you’ve wandered into a Western movie. The 17-mile scenic drive through the valley is pretty wild in another way too, with unpaved roads that bump and bounce their way between the rock formations.
I’m not exactly the extreme sports type, but I’ve been known to get pretty fast on the ski slopes! This shot was taken in Les Gets, in the Portes de Soleil ski area of the French Alps. The skier is crouched down low to get as much speed as they can to get enough momentum to cross this flat piste. But as they speed by they’re missing the fantastic scenery behind them – with dark green pine trees dotted amongst the pure white snow, and a backdrop of mountains surrounding what looks like a lake made of clouds.
The southwest USA is full of beautiful panoramic spots, so I was spoilt for choice for this category. But my favourite had to be this view from Sedona in Arizona. It’s taken from Airport Mesa, one of the vortexes that surround the city – sacred spots where energy flows are said to radiate the Earth’s power. It’s the perfect place to look out over Sedona’s red rock landscape, which starts to glow with shades of gold as the sun goes down, and the handily-placed telescope lets you focus on the details within the panorama.
Petra in Jordan is one of those places that defines the word epic, with its deep gorges, huge rock temples and sweeping views. The most epic part of the ancient city for me though was the Monastery. It’s not just a 50-metre high and 45-metre wide temple carved out of a sheer rock face, there’s also an hour-long climb up 800 steps to even get to the base of it. A truly impressive feat of engineering even today, but even more so considering that it was built by the Nabateans back in fourth century BC.