Regarding Scale and Wonderment

There’s something very tricky about creating images that capture a truly vast wonder of the world such as the Grand Canyon or the Son Doong Cave. The sense of scale is literally mind-boggling, so it is very hard to make a photo that allows the viewer to take in what is being portrayed; and, even if it can be taken in, it is hard to convey the emotional content of the scene when viewing it “for real”.

Scale and Wonderment © Harold Davis

Scale and Wonderment © Harold Davis

The typical way to deal with this scale problem is to forget about the wonderment. If you throw some people into the mix, the scale of the phenomena becomes visually obvious. Unfortunately, the resulting images are banal, commonplace, and usually look like travel brochure ads. 

My goal is to go for the wonderment and the sense of the spiritual. Although this image uses human scaling to some extent (if you look closely you can see the tents of our expedition, and the porters around their kitchen) the proportions and scaling would work without the human element. With or without the tents, this is an image that requires careful visual analysis to discern the clouds far below (the cave generates its own weather system) and the sizing of the distant mountains, valleys, opening to the sky, and other topographic features.

This entry was posted in Landscape, Photography, Vietnam.

4 Trackbacks

  1. By Respite, Restoration, Catching Up and Moving On on April 16, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    […] get to the Son Doong Cave you must first enter Hang En, then pass through the cave to exit into the hidden valley that […]

  2. By Hang En Campsite on April 17, 2017 at 10:43 am

    […] is the first campsite on the way to Son Doong, just within the entrance to the Hang En cave. The trail leads down the rock slide you see in the […]

  3. By Darkness into Light on June 7, 2017 at 9:50 am

    […] spring I visited and spent a number of days and nights in the world’s largest cave, in the jungle mountains of central Vietnam. Fewer people have been to the cave than have been into […]

  4. By Harold Davis—My Best of 2017 on December 22, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    […] Scale and Wonderment […]

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