Lake Michigan Escapes

Image Description

One morning I went to a Lake Michigan Beach north of Chicago. I got there pretty early and the glow from this little inlet caught my eye. It was one of those situations where I immediately thought of black and white.

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • 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 like the simplicity of the image especially in B&W. The lighting is what inspired me to take the photo.


This is fantastic. Your choice of Black and white is spot-on for this scene. It suits the lighting very well. My only suggestion is that the horizon looks as though it is running down on the left-hand side. (I wasn’t there, so I can’t be sure) . If so, maybe try to straighten it out. Beautiful image overall.

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Very intriguing image Lisa! At first glance I didn’t think this was terribly abstract, just a stream going into the ocean, right? But when you study it, it makes less and less sense, which is fantastic! Obviously it’s not even the ocean, but that was my first impression.

I would consider darkening the (sky?) to make it even more mysterious. Well done!


Stunning! Wonderful seeing and presentation! I love the B/W idea!

The horizon is tricky here as on casual glance it looks crooked but then I see there is a tiny line at the top that is presumably the actual horizon. Maybe there is a way to emphasize that? Maybe a bit more canvas on top and a tiny brightening of that line? I think it is an elegant part of the composition.

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Excellent image! Your B&W choice really enhances the sense of mystery and intrigue, giving it a great mood. I like David’s suggestion on the sky. Either way, very well done.

On first glance I thought this was shot from an airplane. Then I read “little inlet”. But this ambiguity is exciting, as is the absence of a clear horizon. It’s disorienting, in a good way - and the tones are great!

Hey Lisa! Really cool photo! It honestly reminds me of something from John Barclay or Cole Thompson. At first I considered moving the horizon down in the composition, but I think having it high adds to the mysterious nature to the image. I also agree with what David said earlier in the comments about slightly darkening the sky to match the rest of the scene and increasing the mystery! Cool shot!

Awesome use of ambiguity here to draw the viewer in. The b/w treatment is perfect here.

Lisa, the monochrome treatment and the shapes make this a compelling image for me. Well done! The shadows make the inlet stand out and guide my eye from the lower center to the top of the image. This is an abstract image to me because of the ambiguity of subject, the shapes, lines, and tones.

Excellent work. I don’t see this as an abstract. I prefer the original with information in the sky (making it less abstract).


I think this is your first post here in the Abstract category - Welcome again to NPN and glad to see you jumping in!

Outstanding image! Great responses so far and I’ll agree with all the comments about the b&w treatment - perfect choice for the subject matter.

I love this as presented. I like the top as presented. Even though one might intuitively know what this is a photograph of, there’s a little bit of ambiguity up top that makes this a little mysterious, and a bit abstract. Interesting too that the lack of detail in the darkness - adds to the mystery, although we know what it is. And I’m kinda glad there isn’t any detail. This just about light and darkness.

Beautifully seen and photographed. The only observation I have to mention is that there seems to be some banding in the lower right quadrant of the water. I’m sure a function of resizing for the web, but sometimes this happens during processing in open, pure-color areas from sharpening, HSL or curves/levels layers or other changes. Might look at that if you’re going to print.

Thanks for posting. Outstanding.



Thank you everyone who took the time to comment. Seems the top edge of the image is the area where some might make changes. Perhaps I will revisit it and try a few suggestions. I know the horizon at first glance looks slanted, and I did struggle with that in post, but it is really the water edge that is somewhat diagonal.

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Sensational image, Lisa. As others have already stated, the B&W treatment fits this image to a T! This looks like a drone shot or an aerial image from a plane but then you said, “a little inlet.” Who knew. That’s what makes this abstract. You really don’t know what you’re looking at because there is no scale. I would play with the top portion of the image and maybe even add light to the bands running across the scene. All that light reflecting on the water is coming from somewhere and so to me the top looks a little bit flat. However, because this is such an interesting abstract type of image, you could also reduce the light up there like David did which really showcases the little bit of bright water coming out of the upper portion of the image. The nice thing about abstracts is that you can do whatever you want to them and it’s not right or wrong, just visually interesting.

I agree that this is an abstract. Was it a long exposure?

As a matter of fact, it was 10 seconds. It was just before sunrise.

Before processing.

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This actually looks quite spectacular in color, with an entirely different mood and feel.

Happy to help! Keep up the great work, Lisa!

Late to the party, Lisa but I just wanted to add the accolades. It is interesting to see the monochrome and colour versions together. While the colour version is quite beautiful, the monochrome is sensational and does make the shift from a landscape image to, what I like to call, an “almost abstract”. It’s a close call but I think I like David K’s darkening the horizon for added mood and abstraction but either way, well seen and a great choice to go B&W.