The Tragic Optimist

Return of the rock hammer for scale: the legend lives on

It’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these, but it’s time.  And now you get not just one, but two new rock hammer for scale pictures, and as an added bonus, and old one for comparison.

I was asked recently why the rock hammer, why not, say, a jackhammer?  Well try searching google for “jackhammer for scale.”  Google replies with, “wait, what?  Are you sure you didn’t mean to look for jackhammers for sale?”  Now try searching for “rock hammer for scale.”  Google answers that one with a lovely assortment of pictures taken, mostly of rocks, with rock hammers in the picture to provide scale.  I’m following in a rich tradition here.

picture of Zoe with rock hammer for scale

Zoe at 4 years (and 1 month) - rock hammer for scale is 13"

picture of Hazel with rock hammer for scale

Hazel at 1 month old. Rock hammer for scale is 13"

Hazel is big, you can compare with this picture of Zoe at 1 month.

picture of Ze with rock hammer for scale

Zoe at 1 month, rock hammer for scale is 13"


  1. Anya

    Wow. Lilly is *way* closer to Zoe sized :-). I can’t imagine that big at 1 month!! Doug and I are still trying to figure out what our benchmark is going to be…I was pondering a spatula 😉

  2. Ann Wahlstrom

    Yes, but clearly Zoe says, “I’m #1”!

  3. Yes, Hazel is a big girl compared to Zoe but Zoe is ~rocking~ the rock hammer!

  4. Cathy

    Wow – I LOVE the rock hammer for scale!! I so wish I had thought of it!! I am a geologist and we always use a rock hammer in our photos for size scale, since we never leave home without one! Of course, the old time geologists used that, or a beer bottle ;o) I see this page is quite old and so I imagine that you line up rock hammers now! (I stumbled upon this when I was looking for cartoon of a rock hammer – Your photo came up in the search pictures).

    • Ahhh, thanks Cathy! I love that the pictures showed up in an image search! We still do annual rock hammer pictures of both my girls, they’re now 9 and 5 years old. I still only have one rock hammer, though.

      Best to you!


  1. People Using Weird Things for Scale in Photos - Just My Spot

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