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Devils Tower (There is not enough foreground to help the viewer answer, just how big it is.)

Recently, Elena and I took a tourist/photography trip to Wyoming and South Dakota. Traveling through Wyoming, we had to stop at Devils Tower National Monument (the first National Monument). This landmark is also well known for the alien landing in the film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

The photography problem showing just big Devils Tower is a problem of perspective—it’s very big but compared to what? What’s helpful in photographic situations like this where you want to show how big something is, is to show a known reference—like a tree line or a fence post, or other items that the viewer can compare the reference to the larger item. The above image shows Devils Tower National Monument with a tree line to show the size of this rock formation.

Devils Tower (Note how the foreground helps the viewer to determine how big Devils Tower really is–even though it is further away than the first image.)

This photo shows Devils Monument much further back to give a better sense of perspective of how big it is. This photo also shows the great value of adding a foreground, middle ground, and far away ground in your landscape images. Think in terms of threes: something close by (fence), something in the middle (the evergreens and pasture) and far away (tree line and Devils Tower).