33 Stunning Photos Of Humans Rendered Tiny By Earth’s Most Gorgeous Expanses

Published August 24, 2016
Updated March 13, 2019
Turquoise Water
Toau atoll, about 250 miles northwest of Tahiti.GREGORY BOISSY/AFP/Getty Images

Patagonia Glacier Mountain
Argentina's Perito Moreno Glacier, part of the second largest non-polar ice field on Earth. Alex Berger/Flickr

Salt Flat Man
Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni salt flat, the largest on Earth. Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Sitting On Cliff
South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.John Moore/Getty Images

Hiker Mountains Clouds
The Dolomites mountain range, Italy.Steve Bernacki/Flickr

Silhouettes Mountains
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images

Arches National Park
Turret Arch and North Window, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah.Diana Robinson/Flickr

People On Rock
Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), Norway.

Cliffs Of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland.Ingvild Wollstad/Flickr

Cliffside Walkway
The cliff of Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie National Park, China.VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Monument Valley
Monument Valley, Arizona.Moyan Brenn/Flickr

Son Doong Cave
Vietnam's Hang Sơn Đoòng, the largest cave in the world.Nguyen Tan Tin/Flickr

Desert
Wadi Rum, Jordan.Jorge Láscar/Flickr

Woman Salt Flat
Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah.Andrea Dunlap/Flickr

Standing On Rock
Ijen Crater in Banyuwangi, Indonesia.Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

Cliff Walkway
Zhangjiajie National Park, China.Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Water Boat Shadows
Milford Sound, New Zealand.Ben Wiseley/Flickr

Aurora Surfer
The aurora borealis as seen from the beach at Unstad on Lofoten Island in the Arctic Circle.OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images

Rocky Slopes
Nepal's Kali Gandaki Gorge, by some measures the largest gorge in the world.Jean-Marie Hullot/Flickr

Grand Canyon Walkway
The skywalk over the Grand Canyon, Arizona.David McNew/Getty Images

People Walking On Glacier
Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina.DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images

Salt Flat Clouds
Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni salt flat, the largest in the world.Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Mountain Reflection
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images

Swiss Alps
Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland.Simon/Flickr

Indonesia Hikers
Ijen volcanoes, Indonesia.

Snow Covered Trees
Rennsteig hiking trail near Masserberg, Germany.MARTIN SCHUTT/AFP/Getty Images

Photographer On Cliff
Skeleton Point, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Mountains Trees Silhouettes
Milford Sound, New Zealand.Becca McLachlan/Flickr

Walking Snowy Mountain
Isla Incahuasi, Bolivia.FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

Snowy Mountains Tree Branches
Paine small mountain group, Chile.MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images

Cliffs Clouds
Kali Gandaki Gorge, Nepal.Jean-Marie Hullot/Flickr

Waterfall Bridge
Iguazu Falls, Brazil.Urca HUMAITA/AFP/Getty Images

Great Barrier Reef
Vlassof Cay in the Great Barrier Reef -- the largest in the world -- off the coast of Cairns, Australia.Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

In Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot appears the following passage about the minuscule speck that is planet Earth as seen from the depths of space:

"Consider again that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every 'superstar,' every 'supreme leader,' every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on the mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."

It's just as true as it is glib to say that perspective is everything. Earth can indeed be nothing more than a mote of dust. It all depends on your vantage point.

When that vantage point is, say, your desk at work, it can be hard to see much beyond that horizon. Or when you're in the middle of an argument, for example, the massive amounts of life that exist outside of it may disappear.

Still, concerns that seem earth-shaking in the heat of the moment dissipate into nothingness sooner than you'd think. And what helps them dissipate is perspective, remembering that there are horizons far, far beyond your own.

And what better way to remember those horizons than to see humans dwarfed by the most gorgeously vast expanses on Earth, itself just a mote of dust?


Next, for some stunning -- and stunningly empty -- expanses featuring no humans at all, check out the world's most incredible abandoned structures and creepiest abandoned cities. Then, have a look at the world's most astounding aerial photography.

All That's Interesting
All That's Interesting is a Brooklyn-based digital publisher that seeks out the stories to illuminate the past, present, and future.