Elements: In Pursuit of the Wild
Travel

Elements: In Pursuit of the Wild


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• The first book from internationally acclaimed Rucksack Magazine, whose bi-annual themed journals feature stories, photographs, and interviews on wilderness, travel, adventure, and escapism

• Presents predominantly new material which has not been published in the journals or online

"I have to say that Rucksack Magazine immediately earned a spot as one of my all time favorite travel related magazines out there." – runhumans.com

Elements In Pursuit of the Wild, is a powerful and moving visual journey of discovery created by the editors of Rucksack Magazine. In this compilation are stories, interviews, and stunning photographs that highlight locations where we are overwhelmed by the beauty of nature. These wild places embody peace and tranquility, and exploring them requires courage, a sense of adventure, and an intrepid curiosity about the world. Locations featured in this book include the Faroe Islands, the northwest Pacific, Scandinavia, and Scotland, among other places. The majority of the material in this book is previously unpublished, online or in print.



From the Publisher

ELEMENTS: In Pursuit of the Wild

deserted road to the mountainsdeserted road to the mountains

From the editors of Rucksack Magazine: We wanted to create something that inspired and showcased beautiful imagery. That evoked nostalgia and wonder, the reason for our magazine’s existence – Storytelling. A mixture of visual and written stories, we want people to lose themselves in our pages, to explore and discover and imagine.

This book was the perfect opportunity to showcase our very real, very raw appreciation for the elements we are now so aware of. A way to celebrate the four powers of the world; fire, earth, water and air. The foundation of all that we see, of all we experience. We want to amaze, to capture a feeling of awe and wonder at our planet, on every single page.

Through a mixture of stories and photo essays, we have explored what it is about each of these four elements that are so inspiring, so breath-taking. Throughout this book, we venture into the wild in pursuit of fire, earth, water and air. We search for a way to capture the raw, untamed beauty of nature through each of its elements.

In pursuit of the wild we discover that, perhaps, these four elements were never meant to be separated. In our struggle to clearly distinguish earth from fire, air from water, we understand that they cannot truly be defined so distinctively. These elements form the landscape, but it runs deeper than this. Our planet is born of fire, air and water, formed of earth. These four blend together seamlessly into one; living, breathing, growing. And so our pursuit into the wild was one that could never be fulfilled. The world is too vast, the elements too great to comprehend; our journey remains incomplete.

Welcome to Earth

The silent stillness that hangs in the air; a lonely invitation into the wilderness.

The silent stillness that hangs in the air; a lonely invitation into the wilderness.

Densely packed trees give little space for sunlight to filter in.

Densely packed trees give little space for sunlight to filter in.

The silent stillness that hangs in the air; a lonely invitation into the wilderness.

The silent stillness that hangs in the air; a lonely invitation into the wilderness.

Isolated Building

Isolated Building

The clouds have been darkening all day and the landscape is deserted, a foggy afternoon beneath mist and grey skies. The perfect backdrop for deeper thought and mindful contemplation; wandering alone, but not lonely. Searching for the remote, for physical seclusion, doesn’t take long somewhere like this. It is here, amongst the mistcovered hills, jagged cliffs, and vast expanse of desolate land, that isolation can be found.

Densely packed trees give little space for sunlight to filter in. Even so, a few lackluster shards manage to force their way through some of the sparser areas, illuminating the solitary path carving its way deeper into the woodland. Trees grow heavy beneath damp moss draped over branches, forcing an unnatural shape to their growth as they bend under its weight. The passing of time gives way to a variety of formations curving their way up from the forest floor, each tree a unique, gnarled structure.

The vast bleakness of the wilderness can, at first, appear dark and muted. But upon second glance, the earthy hues of the landscape come alive. Verdant green glows beneath a filter of undulating light, seamlessly blending fresh, grassy tones with richer shades of emerald and pine. Dewdrops magnify the colors beneath, before the colder weather dries them burnt orange and ochre. Edged in gold, their beauty is diminished as they fall silently to the ground. But next summer, when sunlight filters through the branches once again, the leaves will return.

Jagged mountains, their peaks never quite visible, and undulating hills blanketed by woodland and forests. Earthy green tones and desolate valleys that carve their way through the deserted land, disappearing into the darkening horizon. The silent stillness that hangs in the air; a lonely invitation into the wilderness.

Welcome to Air

abandoned archipelago is the perfect water playground for the crying sea birds

abandoned archipelago is the perfect water playground for the crying sea birds

Silence

Silence

Dark trees emerge from swathes of rolling fog

Dark trees emerge from swathes of rolling fog

Clouds are drawn to the mountains

Clouds are drawn to the mountains

The abandoned archipelago is the perfect water playground for the crying sea birds that call these towering sea stacks home. Free from human interference, they dive and swoop and soar, returning to scattered nests perched amidst the craggy rock face. The birds take little notice of the crashing Atlantic shattering beneath them. The ocean is not just their source of food; it is their protection. Boat travel here relies on good weather, of which there is little. And so these seldom visited towering stacks remain the kingdom of the birds.

The mist comes down in silence and the path is no longer visible. Even the silhouetted birds swooping in and out of sight do so without a sound, as if the thick, white-grey cloud has robbed them of their calling cries as they search for a return to their nest. Pinnacles of jagged rock rise from the ground, struggling to break through the white cloak hungrily swirling at their sides. But the mist is too strong and they are consumed within, disappearing from view. They remain unmoved by this defeat; the mist will clear and they will emerge once more.

Dark trees emerge from swathes of rolling fog; ghostly figures watching over the landscape. A landscape that cannot be seen, but the very existence of which somehow still makes its presence known. It is a feeling, more than anything else, that something great, something powerful, remains hidden. The water lies flat, nothing reflected within its inky depths, as the fog snakes across its surface, floating with ease and obscuring all in its path. Occasionally voices can be heard, fragments of conversation, but it isn’t long before they, too, are consumed by the fog.

Clouds are drawn to the mountains, clinging resolutely to rugged peaks. Improvising and shape-changing to the will of the wind, they grow stronger in their reluctance to leave. But there is a crack in everything – it is how the light gets in – and the summit pierces through, emerging triumphant. The clouds reform furiously, entwining themselves up the sides of the mountain as they reach for greater altitude. But they cannot travel quite high enough to consume the peak. The summit has won, at least for now.

Welcome to Fire

Jurassic backdrop

Jurassic backdrop

Volcano

Volcano

Dormant

Dormant

Crater

Crater

It rises from the water, this relic of the past, tearing through the surface in clouds of smoke and fire. Death and destruction burn in its wake, a towering force of unmatched power. Amidst the crashing waves, lush green forests, and endless mountains, the isolated volcanic archipelago provides the perfect Jurassic backdrop. A snapshot of past imaginings, a time when rugged black shoulders of volcanoes forced a reshaping of the earth.

Volcano is easy to spot; it is one of those rare places where an imagined landscape is directly replicated in reality. A simple drawing of a Jurassic volcano brought to life. The word ‘volcano’ originates from the name of this majestic island, and as we draw nearer it is not hard to see why. Deep green sides emerge steeply from tranquil waters, its tip tinged a dusky brown. A relic of the past towering over its surroundings and responsible for the formation of the landscape.

Dark skies part to reveal a land born of fire and ice; the combined power of two elements resulting in a landscape that burns amidst frozen seas. Harsh winds and rolling waves erode great rocks of cooled lava until all that remains are deep black sands. These continue to succumb to the crushing power of the ocean, waves cresting beneath frozen slabs before they shatter over charcoal beaches. The ice may have prevailed for now, but the volcanoes continue to smoke in the distance, an ominous reminder of their destructive potential.

Surreal, yet sombre; there is a sense of power and fragility to be found here. There is a lingering, uncertain mystery that clouds the volcano. Both a geological void and physical form capable of emitting lava, gas, ash, and steam, smoke billows from the caldera, covering the barren land in a soft grey haze. Both a place of beauty and terrifying force that holds a reminder of the unknown. An opening into a world inaccessible to the living.

Welcome to Water

Veins of water

Veins of water

Cliffs waterfall

Cliffs waterfall

Calm

Calm

Iceberg

Iceberg

Cascading in torrents over cliff edges and winding veins that carve through flat spaces; water, in its many forms, brings life to the landscape. A relentless, eroding force, inlets and streams bleed into lakes and rivers, destroying anything in their way. The earth a blank canvas upon which the water creates; a modern artist using a variety of mediums. Painting at will, it carves lines and separates structures; intent upon forming a new landscape. One of its own creation.

With nothing but the vast expanse of the ocean before them, ragged cliffs drop unceremoniously down into the foaming waters below. There is no gentle incline, no beach or cove, and no peacefully lapping tide. Instead, the near-vertical rock face stands exposed to the continuous erosion of its very existence. Water crashes relentlessly against the jagged rock as, inch by inch, the ocean claims gradual victory. For now, though, the cliffs retain their status; a precipice at the edge of the world.

The water is calm here, a stark contrast to the stormy turbulence of the open sea that disrupts the horizon. The boats are still and the landscape silent. A tranquil pause; a brief moment of relief. With no ripples to shatter the illusion, all that surrounds the water is reflected. All that exists within that single moment can be seen scattered across the unmoving surface. A smooth mirror upon which echoes of clarity begin to appear.

Water droplets melt atop frozen waterfalls and lakes solidify into delicately etched crystals, a result of the bitter wind. Jagged, pointed, smooth, polished; ice is as varied as the liquid it forms from. Icebergs, vast and ominous, emerge steeply from deep within icy dark waters. Floating stepping stones gleam in the winter sun; sheets of glass splintered by crashing waves. These glistening shards are all that remain.

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