Boreal Abstract



There isn’t much I feel I need to say about this image except that it hasn’t been manipulated in any way – neither ICM nor hybridizing in photoshop – just good light, good timing, and good luck. I took many frames in making this picture, but I chose this one out of the bunch because the slightest morning breeze that was coming up was, at this one moment, just enough but not too much.
I have never been huge on abstracts whether in painting or photography, but I rather like this one because it reminds me of the abstract impressionism that was so prevalent in the early 60’s (and I’m a 60’s guy). I think this picture would look great blown up big, hanging over the fireplace of a hip, 60’s split-level.
Is Hugh Hefner still alive?

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.
  • Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

I don’t have a strong affinity for abstracts. This one is rather painterly, I think, but I can’t tell if its appeal for me is the image itself or that it is something that I rarely do. I do like the subtle shift in texture from top to bottom as well as the colour palette. I’m not sure about the brightness of the image as a whole. I originally had it somewhat darker but, letting it sit for a while, I decided to bring up the brightness.

Technical Details

Screen Shot 2023-02-15 at 11.27.56 AM


Superficially this looks like an ICM but it’s really significantly different. It’s blurred and sharp at the same time. It does look more like an impressionist painting in that you can see the brush strokes. The horizontal reeds are kind of interesting. I think you could experiment some more with the colors. I think the image is flexible in that way. You could change colors and not worry about them being representative.

Hef died in 2017 ( had to look that tidbit up), so here’s your chance to take up the mantle (bath robe?) of man- about-town. Just print that big, hang it over the white sofa, and kick back with a martini. :joy:

But, really, this is gorgeous. Those fine ripples are great and I love the grasses cutting across the frame.

This image has for sure a painterly look due to the water ripples, and the large white frame strengthen that. The tree trunks give a pleasing structure and the different colored spots are nicely distributed over the surface. I am not fully sure about the horizontal reeds but maybe they give an additional interest to the image. To me this is a happy image so your choice of brighter light seems right to emphasize such emotions. I like this image a lot!

I like the concept of this image a lot - the streaks of light and the abstract reflections are nice - my only issue is that the water ripples feel super texturized or over-sharpened and that doesn’t sit right with me one bit. OR maybe that’s the wind’s effect on the image? Not sure - need to see the RAW lol.

Yoiks!! @Matt_Payne , you are so right. I applied texture in Lightroom before moving the image over to Ps as a smart object. I meant to work with that but sort of forgot about it and got used to it. I have posted a rework (scroll up) where I removed all the added texture . I really don’t know why I added texture in the first place given the abstractness of the image, just habit, I guess. Anyway, does this address your concern? I could conceivably move the clarity slider to the left but I think this does the trick. Thanks for your sharp eye.

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Yeah that looks a lot better to me! =)


Fabulous nature abstract! I really like how the textures in the water (and yes, the rework is good call) really take this beyond a reflection image to one of abstract textures and colors. Oh, and the horizontal grasses make for a nice dynamic.

Colors are interpretive, so there is leeway to take this whereever you wanted, but I like them as presented.

My only other observation is that it looks like the focus point is farther back in the frame and the DOF shallow enough that the lower half of the image is softer. I only mention as an observatin because as an abstract view, there’s no requirement or expectation that everything be sharp! :slight_smile:

Beautiful relfection abstract.


Hi Kerry, painterly is a good word to describe your fine image. I think what makes this a compelling image for me is the impressionistic background mixed with the strong vertical lines of the trees and then the horizontal ines of the reeds. Wonderful colors too!

Kerry, Really well done! Colors look great and the composition is masterful. I love how those horizontal lines break up the vertical lines of the abstract tree reflections.

I do like this Impressionist image.
Lovely mood, colors and composition.

@Igor_Doncov - Thanks, as always, for your thoughts, Igor. Of course, you’re right about experimenting with colour in this kind of abstract. And indeed, I did to some extent but I am actually very pleased with this colour palette.
@Bonnie_Lampley - there are some who would say he died a long time before that but far be it from me to kick a man when he’s down :wink: I wondered about the grasses cutting across the frame but in the end it felt like good luck to have that unexpected bit of tension. When it comes to abstracts I certainly value your input. Thanks.
@Ola_Jovall - The philosophical question, Ola, is whether it should be bright because it is a happy image, or that its a happy image because it is bright? :crazy_face: I’ll leave that for better minds than mine to figure. Thanks for your input - much appreciated.
@Lon_Overacker - I appreciate your take on this, Lon. I felt the same way - that this was something other than a “reflection image” in that I think it asks different kinds of questions of the reader. To be honest, I’m not sure where the focal point was and, as you say, I don’t think it matters too much. But the top of the frame is very close to the far shore and breeze was acting differently on the water with tighter ripples. So, I’m not sure if the top is actually in better focus or if it just appears to be. In any case, much thanks for taking the time to look and respond.
@Alfredo- Much thanks, Alfredo. When it comes to abstracts, I certainly value your input.
@David_Johnston - I’m surprised at the number of comments on the horizontal lines of the floating grass. A good bit of luck. But it amuses me to think that not too long ago I might have felt those horizontals ruined the picture. Thanks so much for taking the time to look and respond. Much appreciated.
@joaoquintela - Thanks so much, Joao, I always value your input.

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No doubt Kerry! It’s funny how our perception of photography changes over time!