Photos from around the world prove that nature’s beauty is in its dizzying scale

A stunning landscape is nothing without a sense of scale, and the most powerful nature photography often plays on a viewer’s feeling of smallness in relation to the mountains, valleys and oceans depicted. Recent finalists from the 2017 Photo Awards by photo sharing community EyeEm perfectly illustrate this concept.

Throughout its “Great Outdoors” category, the inclusion of human figures or evidence of a human presence in the composition brings a concrete measuring stick to the nature’s wildness. That human element brings the image down to earth, but it also heightens the photograph’s wildest elements. That gorgeous sunset isn’t a computer-generated gradient, and that ocean isn’t an endlessly repeating pattern once a person’s in the frame. Those dunes can’t be confused with a zoomed-in sandbox.

For viewers, this photographer’s trick bridges the gap from intangible image to real destination—and allows us to travel in our imagination.

Bremen, Germany

Anthony Castro
Oahu, Hawaii (Anthony Castro/EyeEm)
Masaki Sato
Mt.Tsubakurodake, Nagano, Japan (Masaki Sato/EyeEm)
Michael Lynch
Bingham Canyon Mine, Salt Lake City, Utah (Michael Lynch/EyeEm)
Zhang Yang
Qingdao, China (Zhang Yang/EyeEm)
Bali, Indonesia (Yicheng Xiao/EyeEm)
Than Sadet Beach, Thailand (Simon Gruenenwald/EyeEm)
Nils Leithold
Saksun, Faroe Islands (Nils Leithold/EyeEm)
Michael Schauer
Stokknes, Iceland (Michael Schauer/EyeEm)
Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Sea of Cortez, Mexico (Guiga Pirá/EyeEm)
Vik, Iceland
Vik, Iceland (Xiao Han/EyeEm)
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