Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Big Can Be Beautiful Too!

This week, Tina Schell asks us to consider that even though in a previous challenge that Small is Beautiful, we should not overlook the fact that big can be beautiful, also. You can view the challenge post and Tina’s examples here. Of my many hobbies involving travel, cruising puts me on the biggest vehicles upon which I make these photo trips to share. In the opening image, these two beautiful cruise ships are sitting at the dock in Grand Turk while passengers explore the small island. Our travel put us on the Carnival Magic, the ship on the left. At about 6000 total crew and passenger capacity, it’s the largest cruise ship I’ve ever had the pleasure to travel upon.

Prior to that trip this spring, the largest ship I’d traveled on was the Norwegian Pearl. Holding about 3500 passengers and crew, the Pearl and her sister ship, the Norwegian Sun, are barely capable of sailing through the Panama Canal as it existed in 2013. On that journey, we enjoyed our first trip to the canal on a similar itinerary to the Sun. The two ships sailed side-by-side through the locks and as you can see by the image above, the ships barely fit through the canal’s original locks. If I recall correctly, the Sun and Pearl are the same width, about 18 inches smaller than the maximum width allowed through the canal. The Pearl is slightly longer and is about 100 feet shorter than the maximum length allowed. Both of these ships are big and beautiful inside and out. These days, new and larger locks can support bigger vessels. We are planning on making another trip through the canal in the spring of 2019 on the Norwegian Star.

Though not nearly as large as a cruise ship, the steam engine is surely in the running for big and beautiful transportation. This example, Engine number 353 entertains visitors to the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion every Labor Day weekend at Rollag, Minnesota.

An even bigger example of a steam engine, Number 261 out of the Minneapolis area travels around each year on a tour that provides people with the opportunity to see what it was like to travel on a passenger train, albeit for only an hour or two typically. Beautiful is certainly an appropriate term for this mechanical marvel of the early 20th century.

Certainly there are plenty of examples of big landscapes that I could share. What comes to mind are places like the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Canyonlands and many more. I’ll save those for another time and keep my focus on the big, beautiful examples of transportation. In most browsers, you can click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery. Thanks again to Tina for another great challenge idea.

John Steiner



  1. The first photo of the cruise ships bring an emotion of joyfulness to me but the first photo of the steam locomotive is certainly my favourite in photography context. The cruise ship captains of Sun and Pearl must have nerves of steel

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