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Sense of Wonder: The Earth from above

Seeing the world from above is a transformative experience. Landscape images taken from a bird’s eye view are a delicious banquet of bright colours, texture and breath-taking natural beauty. The subtle gradient of oceans transitioning to land, the wondrous pastel-saturated view of women harvesting water lilies, the remarkable green of a Balinese rice field. 


Aerial photography shows a drastically different perspective of the Earth’s surface from the one we experience on the ground. There’s no denying that seeing a familiar terrestrial scene from a new vantage point has the power to alter our worldview.


Sense of Wonder: The Earth from above
Women washing water lilies in Tan Lap Village, Vietnam

Earth from space

Our curiosity to see the world from above is not new. In 1968, the Apollo 8 crew became the first people to rocket far away from Earth to orbit the moon. During the trip, William Anders snapped one of the most profound images in history: a lush world rising above the relentlessly grey lunar horizon. The iconic ‘Earthrise’ image boosted our awareness of the beauty and fragility of the Earth and became the driving force behind the environmental movement. Seeing our planet from this perspective—as the only colour in an otherwise sterile universe—was a resplendent reminder that there really is no place like home.


Sense of Wonder: The Earth from above
Bird’s-eye view of Tegalalang rice terraces in Ubud, Bali

The bigger picture

Aerial photographs of landscapes are reminiscent of the old adage, “Don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees.” When we become too engrossed in the minute details of our lives, we no longer see the whole picture and we lose our perspective. Aerial photographs not only offer a fresh perspective, they also expand our understanding of our surroundings. We are reminded us of the vastness all around us and of our own special place in it.