Photo Essay: 18 Places to Feel Dwarfed by Nature

October 17, 2010

Some places — and activities — have a way of making you feel really, really small.

***Copyrighted Material: The images below are copyrighted against unauthorized use. We were granted special permission to feature them in this Matador photo essay. Please visit the photographer links for licensing conditions for each photo.***

Uluru hikers

1. Uluru, Australia
The massive rock — a.k.a. Ayers Rock — is climbed by 250 every day, despite pleas from local indigenous groups to refrain from doing so.
Photo: Chris Harrison

Whale shark diver

2. Diving with whale sharks
The whale shark is the world’s largest fish species and can grow to be longer than 40 feet. This shot was taken off Christmas Island, Australia, in January 2005.
Photo: Rob Hughes

Cotopaxi summit

3. Cotopaxi, Ecuador
This volcano just south of Quito reaches an elevation of 5,897m (19,347ft) — often higher than the clouds.
Photo: david_rombaut

Stout Grove

4. Redwood country, California
Taken in Stout Grove, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, this picture shows me (in red) straining my neck next to the Stout Tree.
Photo: Aya Padron

Lone kayak

5. Sea Kayaking, solo
Big water, small boat. Shot taken walking the Southwest Coast Path from Land’s End to Plymouth, England.
Photo: nixwilliams

Wild coast

6. Great Ocean Road, Australia
The coast along one of the world’s most spectacular roads is also good for a walk.
Photo: Andrew Ferrier

Spelunking in Romania

7. Ponoras Cave, Romania
Things can get large underground too. Here, spelunkers from CSA explore “Mammoth Hall” in Romania’s Transylvania region. The light trail was produced by a fast-moving caver with a headlamp.
Photo: Bela Nagy

Summer snowboarding

8. Snowfields, Rocky Mountains
This is no photoshop. It’s Matador senior editor David Miller getting in some late-season turns in Rocky Mountain National Park. Read about it in The Dharma Shack Chronicles.
Photo: David Miller

Desert near Ica

9. Desert, southern Peru
Sand accumulates into massive dunes in one of the driest deserts on Earth. Notice the city of Ica, Peru, in the distance — also dwarfed.
Photo: guilherme cecílio

Tent glow, starlight

10. Camping under the stars
So many stars. And camping the best way to let them overwhelm you. This shot was taken near Maupin, Oregon.
Photo: Ben Canales

Mount Bromo volcano

11. Mount Bromo, Indonesia
This very active Javanese volcano attracts lots of tiny visitors up to its steaming rim.
Photo: Jiang

On top of Half Dome

12. Yosemite National Park, California
That’s me again, this time feeling very small (and a little dizzy) at the top of Half Dome. Notice the gloves — not a fashion statement, but what you use to pull yourself up the cables on the final ascent.
Photo: Aya Padron

Lake Fryxell, Antarctica

13. Antarctica
Travelers to Antarctica report losing all sense of distance — the geographic scale is so immense and the ice fields so flat and white. This is Lake Fryxell.
Photo: Nicolas Arthur Salava


14. Preikestolen, Norway
This rock has a great view of Lysefjorden and is a good place to get close to the edge.
Photo: Sonya Kanelstrand

Hikers on Mont Blanc

15. Mont Blanc, France
Europe’s tallest mountain tops out at 4,810m (15,782ft) and sits in one of The 6 Best Starter Ranges for Mountaineering.
Photo: Sarah Brigden

Uyuni, Bolivia

16. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
This salt plain is the world’s largest and traps rainwater during wet winter months, creating a tripped-out sky mirror. Find out how to get there.
Photo: Carlos Díaz

Cliff climber

17. On a cliff ascent
This one happens to be the curved limestone face of Malham Cove, North Yorkshire, England.
Photo: Dubris

Iguazu Falls sunset

18. Iguazu Falls, Brazil
The majority of the falls lies in Argentina, but according to the photographer, “the great thing about the Brazilian side of Iguazu is that there are no limits on taking pictures at any time of day….(unlike the Argentinian side).”
Photo: SF Brit

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