As a lifelong artist, Agnes Voltz said she realized early on that making art isn’t always about the fancy equipment, but knowing how to work with what you already have. On Jan. 4, Voltz decided to set aside her professional camera and take at least one photo of Lake Michigan from Evanston beaches every day of 2022 with her iPhone.

An avid paddle boarder, Voltz spends a lot of time on Lake Michigan, and when winter came, she said she needed to have a new goal every day. She often finds herself on Evanston’s beaches taking photos of scenery and will comment on the beauty of the lake with others visiting the Evanston scenery. 

“I needed an assignment for myself, something that would make my brain creative and take a little break,” she said, describing her year-long photo project: The Lake Effect.

Voltz said that one beachgoer told her, “The lake is like our mother,” which inspired her to combine her love of the lakeshore scenery with the healing tendencies of water, especially during the frigid temperatures when many of us are stuck inside.

Every day Voltz ventures out to a beach. Depending on how much time she has before work, she may stay for a few minutes or longer, walking around and soaking in the view.

“The lake changes so much from day to day,” she said.

Voltz recently joined Evanston Made and is offering free photography meetups every Friday for those interested in learning how to take photos with their phones. She hopes to teach people about style, composition, the rule of thirds and aesthetics, as well as offering another activity in the city to get Evanstonians out of their houses.

While the Lake Effect is still in its early stages, Voltz said that her goal is to make a mosaic at the end of 2022 that features at least one photo from every day. She also posts her photos on her Instagram account below.

Sam Stroozas is a reporter and the social media manager at the Evanston RoundTable. She covers small businesses, social justice and human interest stories. Contact her at and...