A Tidbit: Scale Fails…

Scale is the subject of this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge!  And it spurred me to offer my “perspective” on an area in which I think I need a bit of work…

For instance – any idea what this is?

Hm.

At a glance, it might seem like some idle scribblings in the dirt.  Or the work of a colony of rather artistic and sophisticated ants.  Or maybe a detailed football play drawn up for a neighborhood scrimmage (even though I don’t see the bottle cap).

It’s actually an example of how I was so in awe of where I was at the time that I paid no attention to the lack of perspective in my shot.

It’s a view of one of the excavated Roman encampments beneath the lofty stronghold of Masada!  While on an amazing Mediterranean cruise that stopped in Israel, the folks and I took a tram ride up this arid mountainside to a plateau where a palace of Herod’s once stood and where members of a group of Jewish rebels made a storied final stand against the Roman Empire in the year 73.

Tramming to the top!

A view of the Dead Sea!

Other pictures I took that day hint at the scope and scale of this historic part of the world!  But my Roman camp picture?  Not really.

There’s also this photo I took at another cruise destination:

Timid jars.

It’s a pair of ancient storage jars at the Minoan palace of Knossos on the island of Crete.  Maybe the fence is a clue to their height (or maybe it’s there to keep them from escaping and running amok as jars do) – but these vessels were actually taller than I was!  It’s just hard to get that from my picture.

And finally, there was the occasion where I at least showed an awareness of scale – but I’d still have to categorize the result as a “fail”…

I was driving up to California’s Sequoia National Park and just had to stop to capture what appeared to be a mass migration of tarantulas across the road and countryside.  That’s something you don’t see every day!  Which, by the way, is totally fine with me.

Fascinated though not fond, I thought I’d get a shot of one of these guys from as safe and respectful a distance as I could manage.  But I noticed at the last moment (this time… ) that without anything else in the frame for perspective, you couldn’t tell it was no smallish spider.

So I got the brilliant idea of tossing the lens cap from my camera near this traveling tarantula so its size would be more obvious.  And I think it worked!

Eek!

It worked up to the point where l realized I’d actually have to retrieve the lens cap.  Ever been lunged at by an arachnid you’ve annoyed?  It’s no picnic.

Anyway, I did summon the courage to get the cap back – eventually.  And I got some practice that day in employing scale in my photos, with a bonus life lesson in thinking things through.  Did the tarantula experience help me take better pictures?  Possibly.  And did it keep me from ever blundering again into situations without weighing the consequences?

Not really…

23 comments

  1. You are right about how problems of scale can be. Photos in books of archaeology usually have a measuring rod beside the subject. In the real world of photography “on the move” that is not so easy. Des.

    1. Yes, you’re right – but it can be a source of amusement!

  2. Love that scale x reflection in ‘tramming to the top.’

    1. Yes – I couldn’t seem to avoid it but it’s kind of interesting!

  3. I know the feeling! My employer asked me and my coworkers to begin helping our photographer a few months ago. Let’s just say a few photo shoots–and quite a few hard-learned lessons–later, I’m starting to understand the “do’s” and “don’ts” of scale.

    You’ve got some great photos, nevertheless! I had a feeling the top image was of an archaeological site, scale or no scale.

    1. Thank you – and have a good eye to spot that it was an archeological site! And best of luck with your “do’s” and “don’t’s” – I think I’ll always be climbing the learning curve…

  4. Oh these are beautiful photos and your commentary really does address the often difficult issue of scale. I enjoyed this photo/essay submission to the Challenge very much. Thank you.

    1. My goodness, thank YOU very much for the kind comments! I’m like a blind squirrel when it comes to photography – I feel like even I get an interesting nut now and then. 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

  5. […] TESSEROLOGY A Tidbit: Scale Fails… […]

  6. Some interesting observations and smiles too! As soon as I saw the lens cap, I thought “oh-oh, how did she get it back?”

    1. Thank you! And you’re definitely smarter than I am! 😉

  7. Ja k Niemi · · Reply

    Great picture of Masada! Ruth and I have been there. We also enjoyed the tram ride!

    Getting a proper perspective in life is most important.

    Love you,

    Jack

    1. You’re so right about perspective! And Masada was just stunning, wasn’t it? Thanks for reading – and love to you and Ruth!

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  9. Ha! Oh, this is so true… On a school trip back in the days of film cameras, I wasted half my available shots trying to capture the scale of the Collosseum in Rome. And I still failed! At least digital lets us practice endlessly until we get it right. I really like your tarantula picture!

    1. Yes, I definitely feel my photographic “abilities” are better suited for the digital (deleting) age! Glad you like Mr. Tarantula – and thanks for reading!

  10. It was brave of you to retrieve the lens cap at all! If it was me, I’d just leave it and buy a new one, but then again, I don’t think I’d want to be anywhere near a tarantula migration in the first place!

    1. Well thank you! Yes, I have to own that the thought “lens cap shmenz cap, I’m out of here” did, indeed, cross my mind…

  11. Great pictures Amy and be careful with tarantulas!!!

    1. Thank you – and very good advice!

  12. Great perspective … and you’re right, a scale adds so much. Great blog post.

    1. Many thanks!

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