Ravine at Dawn

Critique Style Requested: Initial Reaction

Please share your immediate response to the image before reading the photographer’s intent (obscured text below) or other comments. The photographer seeks a genuinely unbiased first impression.

Questions to guide your feedback

I am mostly interested in the impact, emotional or otherwise, that this image has on you. But any other comments or critique is always appreciated.

Other Information

Please leave your feedback before viewing the blurred information below, once you have replied, click to reveal the text and see if your assessment aligns with the photographer. Remember, this if for their benefit to learn what your unbiased reaction is.

Image Description

For the last little while my photography has been more focused on creating a monograph collection that over the next five to ten years I hope to turn into a book I’m calling “Coyotes in the Bardo” about a group of men who have been growing, working, and playing together for the past 36 years. But I still have 5 or 6 thousand frames from last summer’s two canoe trips (amounting to five weeks) in Ontario’s Algonquin Park that need at least some of my time and attention. Algonquin was established in 1893 so, it is one of Canada’s oldest and most venerable parks. While it is possible to visit by car, most of the area it encompasses - roughly the size of Yellowstone - is accessible only by canoe.
While I still take the odd “grand landscape”, at this point, the draw of landscape photography for me is in the solitude, mood, and intimacy of pre-dawn rambles with my camera. I think this photograph captures the mood of those early morning times when the light is diffuse and just beginning to creep above the horizon. I discovered this fall-off as I wandered behind our island campsite. It was still quite dark, and it was pretty tricky working my way down into the ravine where the ground rapidly dropped off 60 or 70 feet to the lake below. The exposed rock faces had an almost ghostly feel bathed as they were in the still faint greyish-blue pre-dawn light.

Technical Details

Screenshot 2024-01-30 at 10.08.05 AM

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It looks powerful and forbidding, but still curious. I like how the diagonal creates a bit of an unsettling feel and the lighting fits the mood perfectly, Kerry. Nicely seen.

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I find this spooky and yet attractive, in a mesmerizing sort of way. I think it’s those blue rocks emanating out of the darkness that I find so fascinating.

This just an excellent image in my book. It grabs you emotionally. I think that’s the main thing. And it does so unconventionally and subtley. There is death and fear here. Yet there is great beauty as well. It’s not a downer, for me at least . Great composiiion as well. The top trees look like horns, and that enforces the motif as I see it. Excellent work.

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@linda_mellor - thank you for your feedback, Linda. Your response is certainly consistent with my intention.
@Igor_Doncov - As always, your feedback is most appreciated. I am pleased that your experience reading this image is so consistent with my intention in making it. I am getting clearer, when it comes to all the photographs I’ve been taking of late, whether landscape or “street”, that I’m attracted to the dark and what lies in the shadows.

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This feels ominous - there are unseen things lurking beneath the surface of life. And it’s a beautiful photo, too.

Anytime you can get a perspective that let’s you see “under the earths surface,” it tends to be dark, mysterious, and often foreboding. This image is like entering a living cavern. It’s dark down below where it should be and there is an eye or an opening or even a mouth into the cavern. The fact that the trees on the surface are tilting lends itself to the POWER that this image imparts. As if the “THING” is waking from a nap and disgorging part of the earths surface from it’s mouth while tilting the earths surface just above it. The trees further away have tilt but no where near the amount of tilt that is occurring just above the “THING.”
I would burn down that one long branch along the right edge as it catches my eye. Easy enough. I’ll admit, I let my imagination run a little bit wild with this one. Great capture, Kerry!
OK. Now off to see what you said!
Ghostly. I love it. I think that’s the feeling I was getting but maybe more Alien for me. Either one works as they feel almost the same.

@Bonnie_Lampley and @David_Haynes - Thank you both for taking the time to give this pic a look and comment. Once again, it is very gratifying when your impressions of the image are aligned with my intentions. By the way, David, I did burn down the branch but, while it does improve the picture, it is a pretty minor tweak and not worth the bother of reposting.

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