Finding Powers of 10 in a photograph

Looking at images on computer screens, one often doesn’t get the feel of the size of the object. How big or small is it really? If it is a close-up with no surrounding context then a pie could be perhaps as big as Mars, or as small as a dime. That is why I found it exciting to see the brilliant photographs by aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand who spent five years on his project Earth from Above.  His unique vantage point of earth (10+7) was in a helicopter about 10,000 feet (10+4) in altitude.

There is scale in every photograph.  Through his lens, one sees cattle crossing a river, endless rows of houses, crosses in a cemetery, miles of freeways, roaming elephants, sailboats on blue water, the Amazon, round subdivisions, boat houses and solar panels.  Usually there is not just one of something but tens (10+1), hundreds (10+2), or sometimes thousands (10+3) of it.  One can see the scale of the human(100) impact on the surrounding land. Each photo holds several powers of 10 at once!

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