A sense of scale

Toy horses sit on a shelf Saturday in an antique store in Yankton, S.D. (Veasey Conway/Daily Globe)

I just returned from a weekend trip to South Dakota. Camping with the parents.

Being stuffy New Englanders by birth or choice, none of us thought, well, much of anything about South Dakota before this trip.

But I think our brief South Dakota foray provided some sense of scale — visual, mental — that otherwise might go unchallenged.

While southwest Minnesota and South Dakota both have a wealth of ground and sky, the latter includes more rolling terrain. (Stop me if this is old news.)

To an outsider, this undulating landscape offers hints at how much land you’re really dealing with.

Describing scale visually is one of the many tools in a photographer’s kit. When used effectively, it can stop viewers in their tracks and demand closer inspection.

And scale isn’t reserved for painters’ studios. At its best it challenges, in wonderful ways, the way we perceive the world to be.

Veasey Conway is the night editor at the Daily Globe. If you have questions about photography or visual media, or have story ideas, contact him at vconway@dglobe.com or on Twitter @veaseyc.