Scale

So many times photographers are told to include something or somebody in the frame to give scale to the subject.  And it works!  The viewer gets a much better idea of the scale of a mountain if there is a person in the image.

When Annette and I were in the Badlands in South Dakota, we took some pictures both with and without people included.  With the people you get a real understanding of how large the Badlands are.  Without people included, the picture could be either a 3 inch deep rivulet washout after a summer shower or a raged canyon several hundred feet deep.

Last week when we attended the photo workshop in the Outer Banks, we were taken out on the dunes and asked to find aesthetic patterns in the sand.  It was a great exercise.  It got us thinking differently about the dunes and the beach.  Instead of going for the “postcard” vacation picture, we had to find something more artful (some would say more artsy fartsy!)  Both of us got some great shots.

On another seemingly unrelated topic, I have often said that the photo shoot is not complete until Annette is on the ground looking for images with her camera!  Well, during this workshop, I took a cue from Annette and forced myself to get down on the ground, flat on my belly (Actually my belly is not that flat, but the sand gave way for it!).

Being flat on my belly, out in the dunes, looking for patterns, I found some images that defy scale.  The viewer has a hard time deciding whether the image is of something that is 2″ high or a vast landscape.  Let me show you what I mean.

Is the above picture an aerial shot of a vast delta or just a three foot long pattern in the sand?  Well, obviously you know the answer to that question because I just told you where I took the picture.  But, still, can you understand how this could be mistaken for an aerial picture, since there is nothing of a known size in the image to give it scale?

This is an abstract where the scale is also unknown.  Is that gash in the sand just two inches long or more like 6 feet?

I love this shot.  This is my alien landscape.  I see a high cliff just waiting for the cliff dwellers to come and build their adobe homes.  There is a huge plateau behind the cliff that is too high to climb.  Look at the large dust storm on the horizon!

I hope you like these images where I purposefully kept the scale ambiguous!