A few months ago, the X Prize Foundation sponsored a video contest that asked a deceptively simple question: Why do you explore?
Exploration is a distinctively human trait and something that the Foundation has incentivized through large monetary rewards, but it is also a deeply personal endeavor that affects and inspires everyone differently. Nonetheless, many entrants echoed similar refrains: to engage with other cultures, to learn something new, to experience beautiful parts of our planet. The submissions ranged in production value, and the judges selected four finalists: dude explorer Ryan Van Duzer, whose narration begins, “I explore because it makes me feel ALIVE!” (emphasis his) and continues to describe his journeys to Honduras and the Himalaya; underdog Samantha Gary, who produced a delightful stop-motion animation; Brit Alastair Humphreys, whose four-man row across the Atlantic Ocean captures the plodding monotony and accents of excitement that characterize many endurance pursuits; and Joe Capra, a time-lapse photography guru.
In the end, public votes crowned Capra the winner for his four-minute video compilation of time-lapse scenes he shot during a 17-day trip around Iceland. The images capture Iceland’s raw power — thundering waterfalls, ice-capped peaks — in a colorful mash-up that may as well have been funded by Iceland’s tourism office.