Majestically rising above the clouds

Early morning light on the peaks of the Mont Blanc massif rising above a layer of clouds, seen from Valais Switzerland

Majestically rising above the clouds
In Photography
winter mountain landscape with early morning light on the Mont Blanc massif rising above a layer of clouds. In the foreground fresh snow and a line of trees with hoarfrost.
50mm – f/11 – 1/320th – ISO100 – D800E with 24-70mm f/2.8

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I will be mostly off-line in the coming weeks to relax a bit and to enjoy the holidays with family and friends. I will also be out there hunting for a pretty winter mountain landscape like in this image. I captured this one around this time last year, during a snowshoe hike in the Swiss canton of Valais near Orsières. In the back you are seeing the majestic Mont Blanc Massif rising above a thick layer of clouds. I went up to an altitude of 2100 meters (7000ft) pretty early, to shoot the massif with soft early morning light. The layer of clouds was a very nice bonus. Yep, catching a scene under circumstances like this definitely gets my blood pumping! Hope you like how I captured it!? :)

For those who are into details: the mountains in the back are the Aiguille d’Argentière, Aiguille de l’A Neuve, Grand Darray, Mont Dolent and the Tour Noir. All of them are 3900 meters (13000 feet) or higher.

I captured this image with my 24-70 f/28 lens and used a Singh-ray gradient ND filter to dim the sky a little bit. I processed the image with Adobe’s Lightroom 5.3.

Comments (202)

  1. Kamal Deep Singh 2 years ago

    Wishing u a merry christmas and a high altitude conciousness and photos in the year to come…..Sir….

  2. Lella H. 2 years ago

    Wonderful view!

  3. How perfect!! I love this winter wonderland!! Beautiful!

  4. Sheila B. DuBois 2 years ago

    Johan, it is Majestic!

  5. Richard Kralicek 2 years ago

    Great view, nice to see. Greetings from a wet and dull Vienna.

    • Author

      wet and dull here in Switzerland as well at the moment … thanks !

  6. Sheila B. DuBois 2 years ago

    And Merry Christmas to you too!

  7. Gemma Costa 2 years ago

    Wonderful shot Johan

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year , dear friend

    • Author

      A very merry Christmas to you too Gemma! Enjoy the holidays and thanks for the compliment :)

  8. Ralph Mendoza 2 years ago

    Beautiful cloud capture and landscape photo

  9. Michael Muraz 2 years ago

    Wow Johan. Fantastic view! You’re making miss the mountains a lot right now! Won’t be seeing any of them for a while…

    • Author

      thanks for the wow Michael! Sorry to hear you are missing the mountains. It is a good thing that I share them then ejh 😉 Best wishes and hope all is well in Canada!? 

      • Michael Muraz 2 years ago

        All is well in Canada Johan! Trying to figure out the holidays away from the family
        I knew there would not be mountains, it’s just a different experience! And I can always go to your profile to get my dose of sweet altitude!

        • Author

          haha, yes you can Michael! How far a drive is it for you to find something that looks like a mountain? 

          • Michael Muraz 2 years ago

            I don’t think driving is going to cut it… the highest elevation in Ontario (Toronto’s province) is 693m….and it’s in the middle of nowhere at least 5 hours away.
            I think for that kind of driving, we’d better try to go to the US, in the north of New York state… The northern Appalachian Mountains are maybe 6 or 7 hours away.

            Anyway I’ll stick to cityscapes and lake images for now I think ;-)

  10. Dirk Decaluwe 2 years ago


  11. Shelly Gunderson 2 years ago

    Beautiful image!

  12. Great view !.. 

  13. Such wonderful perfection and perfect wonder here, Johan! Breathtakingly captured :))

    • Author

      thank you very much Naghmeh! Glad you like it :) Hope all is well !? 

      • Thank you my friend! All is well, and I hope you have all going on the way you wish them to move :)) happy weekend :)

  14. Marie Cadoret 2 years ago

    Incredible shot! Simply stunning! :)

  15. Gorgeous, and happy Christmas to you, my friend!

  16. How how how :-) Don’t ask a question like that, you know everybody loves your photos. It’s very beautiful! Happy Christmas and Merry New Year to you. Veel plezier nog! 

  17. Merry xmas and a pleasant, fun new year to you too Johan , lovely winter magic going on in your vista as well – have a great 2014 man!.

  18. Author

    @Robin: same to you Robin! Hope you will have a relaxing time as well. Enjoy! Thanks :)
    @Dominique: haha :) The fact that you think so doesn’t mean everyone agrees or that I cannot be uncertain about it :) Thanks! Fijne Kerstdagen en alvast een mooi 2014 gewenst Dominique! 

  19. Jany Viala 2 years ago

    Jaime la formation des nuages! Superbe!
    Bonne fêtes !

    • Author

      Merci et bon fêtes a toi aussi jany! :)

      • Jany Viala 2 years ago

        My pleasure! You are welcome! Johan!
        Thank you very much! Happy Holidays!

  20. Very beautiful picture of the Mont Blanc massif ! A place I also love very much. Happy Christmas and Merry New Year to you :-)

    • Author

      merci beaucoup Jean-Michel! Yes, one of my favorite places. This is the view from the Swiss side. Bon fêtes! 

  21. George Marquardt 2 years ago

    Another fabulous landscape Johan! There’s nothing like getting out in the backcountry like this, and to combine it with photography is a bonus.
    Enjoy the Christmas holiday, it wounds like a wonderful plan!

    • Author

      Many thanks George and merry Christmas to you too! I am already looking forward to dive in this type of scenery again George. We have’t had a lot of snow so far, so hope we’ll get some fresh white stuff soon. How is winter over there?

      • George Marquardt 2 years ago

        It’s been snowy and cold since I got back, so it’s been a great winter so far Johan my ski day yesterday was fresh snow, blue skies, and tired legs :-)

  22. So beautiful! Wonderful shot! :)

  23. Very nice composition (especially full screen).. I love the little ‘podium’ with snow at the front, followed by the trees.

    • Author

      yep, it doesn’t look bad big :) Glad you like how I composed this. Btw there is a 1500m drop just after those trees :) 

  24. Shawn McClure 2 years ago

    Gorgeous, expansive mountain image, Johan…

  25. Mikko Tyllinen 2 years ago

    Fantastic view! so beautiful Johan! have a great wekend! ho hoho! ;)))

  26. Wow… this is stunning shot Johan and happy holidays for you

  27. Eric Delcour 2 years ago

    Superb landscape.
    Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones ! 

  28. Author

    Ho ho ho Mikko! Thanks and merry Christmas :)
    @Leyla: thank you and happy holidays to you as well Leyla. Enjoy! 

  29. Gerda Smid 2 years ago

    Ik zou er zo op willen slapen. Mooi!!!!

  30. I really like the ultimate crispness of your image ’cause that’s exactly what mountains are about… At least for me ;-). Thanks Johan!

    • Author

      for me as well Wilfried 😀 Glad you like it and merry Christmas to you and Nadine ! :) 

  31. wonderful!

  32. Author

    @Delcour: thanks a bunch Eric and merry Christmas to you too! :)
    @Gerda: dank je!! Dat ligt best lekker denk ik 😉 

  33. Amazing! Johan …So crispy, I can almost feel this snow.

    I need to go to the mountains and leave” my” lake!…:)

  34. Markus Landsmann 2 years ago

    Many thanks Johan and a wonderful photo. I wish your family and you also a good christmas time and a good start into the new year.

  35. Author

    @Angela: thank you very much Angela ! :)
    @Annick: ow, yes you should and I can give you some tips of where to go for photography :) Thanks for the nice comment! 

  36. Merry Christmas my friend!! and Happy New Year too!!

  37. Johnny Minor 2 years ago

    Absolutely beautiful shot Johan. 

  38. Britta Rogge 2 years ago

    Stunning capture ! :) Love this wonderful scenery of the winter.

  39. ♥ ~❤❤❤~ ♥ :)

  40. Henni Tenhunen 2 years ago

    Snow! And mountains! 😀 <3

  41. Mady Sach 2 years ago

    Beautyful shot !!

  42. Joan Munford 2 years ago

    Simply stunning photography my friend!

  43. Nina Anthony 2 years ago

    Breathtaking shot! Happy Holidays to you, too!

  44. Ian Good 2 years ago

    Wonderful image Johan – Merry Christmas to you too. :)

  45. Dalibor Pačić 2 years ago

    Fantastic shot Johan, wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year too ! :)

  46. Brian White 2 years ago

    Ow my god it’s gorgeous!!

  47. David Shield 2 years ago

    Fantastic cloud mood and excellent exposure!

  48. For sure I like this a lot Johan great capture :))
    Wish you & Deborah relaxing Holidays. Enjoy family and friends :)

  49. Author

    @Brian: thanks Brian! :)
    @David: thanks for the compliment David :)
    @Anette: thanks Anette! Likewise Anette! :) 

  50. Author

    Thanks Ian! Enjoy! :)
    @Dalibor: glad you like it Dalibor. Enjoy the holidays and snow! :)

  51. Splendid work!

  52. Enrique Palaez 2 years ago

    This is an awesome image ! love it Johan ! have a Merry Christmas my friend ! 

  53. Günter Schurr 2 years ago

    Nice winter scenery Johan! I hope you’ve a little bit snow at Christmas, too:)).
    Merry Christmas! Enjoy your feast days:)

  54. Bjarte Wergedahl 2 years ago

    Beautiful capture. Really nice with the snow capped mountains popping out from the clouds. 

  55. George Fletcher 2 years ago

    Wow! Gorgeous!

  56. Jerry Johnson 2 years ago

    Lovely layers of majestic beauty! I do not simply enjoy your photography Johan, I am inspired by it!! Merry Christmas my talented friend! :-)

  57. Don Spenner 2 years ago

    Very nice image Johan, must have been a sight to behold. Those clouds are marvelous.

  58. Sumit Sen 2 years ago

    Looks very cold up there :)

  59. Aamir Shahzad 2 years ago

    Beautiful shot Johan 

  60. Tom Tran 2 years ago

    Such a silly question, Johan; of course I like how you captured it. 😉
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours, Johan!

  61. Nikola Nikolski 2 years ago

    Dat is pas sneeuw ;-D Wonderful work Johan 

  62. Jean Day 2 years ago


  63. Author

    @Anatoliy: thanks Anatoliy! :)
    @Enrique: thanks and enjoy the hols ! :)
    @Günther: Thanks and thanks for sharing :)

  64. Author

    @George: thanks for the wow George :)
    @Bjarte: many thanks Bjarte!
    @Jerry: glad you do Jerry 😀 Enjoy the holidays! :)

  65. Author

    @Don: It definitely was a great sight. Hard to describe and not easy to capture in an image! Thanks :)
    @Michael: hmmm I couldn’t live there 😉 Good luck with the city and lakescapes Michael!
    @Sumit: it was doable Sumit :)

  66. Author

    @Aamir: thanks Aamir!
    @Tom: :) Enjoy the holidays Tom!
    @Nikola: inderdaad :) Thanks Nikola!
    @Jean: many thanks Jean!

  67. Jarmila Noskova 2 years ago

    Wonderful :-) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

  68. Gittan Beheydt 2 years ago

    Gorgeous scene Johan and wishing you also a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !

  69. Kyra Jessen 2 years ago

    Great Fyne holidays

  70. Mutita EdiblArt 2 years ago

    Great shot +++
    Have a nice holiday !!!

  71. Author

    @Kyra: van hetzelfde:)
    @Mutita : thanks and u2! :)

  72. breathtaking!

  73. Marina Versaci 2 years ago

    Gorgeous! Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year ! ♥

  74. Wonderful Johan!

  75. Meg Rousher 2 years ago

    Beautiful capture ~ Merry Christmas :)

  76. E.E. Giorgi 2 years ago

    Wow, a sea of clouds, Johan, how gorgeous !!!

  77. Mark Esguerra 2 years ago

    Such a beautiful photo and perfect way to celebrate the winter holidays! Have yourself a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Johan! See you in 2014! ;-)

  78. Author

    @Marina: thanks! Enjoy the holidays :)
    @benoit: thanks Benoit!
    @E.E. Giorgi: many thanks Elena! :)

  79. Author

    @Meg: tnx! Merry Christmas Meg :)
    @Mark: thanks for the compliment Mark! Enjoy! :) 

  80. Andi Rivarola 2 years ago

    Amazing views and scene Johan. So glad you share your work with Photo Journal Worldwide! Thank you and Happy Holidays.

  81. Gerda Smid 2 years ago

    Gevangen begrijp ik. Maar toch genieten van jou prachtige foto’s!!!!XXXX

  82. Author

    @Andi: It’s my pleasure Andi ! :)
    @Gerda: gevangen? Ik niet hoor :) Leuk dat je ze mooi vindt! :) 

    • Gerda Smid 2 years ago

      Excuus, het was iemand anders met een foto! Maar er zijn zoveel mooie foto’s op mijn scherm. Door jouw foto’s voel ik me niet gevangen. Het voelt zo vrij!!XXXXX

  83. Kamal Deep Singh 2 years ago

    a great feast to the eyes….powerful and yet calming Sir….

  84. Kevin Rowe 2 years ago

    Wonderful shot!

  85. Hope OHara 2 years ago

    What a gorgeous scene.. and yes I wore my coat and gloves this time when I came in to visit you.. “smiling”.. wishing you and your loved ones the best Christmas ever.. filled with laughter, magic and love… soft hugs my dear friend..

    • Author

      good to hear that you dressed up for the occasion Hope :) Thank you and wishing you the same! 

  86. Michael 2 years ago

    Great work Johan.

    Last week i was shooting this from the French side around a 100km away with a long lens on the Ballon D’Alsace at sunrise.
    I did a nice pano of this mountain range too.

    Have a great Xmas, and hope to see you in the new year sometime.

  87. Beautiful image! Wishing you and your family an awesome Christmas Johan :-) 

  88. Djemor Sabajo 2 years ago

    Mooie berg

  89. Margaret Wong 2 years ago

    Spectacular :)

  90. Author

    @Djemor: dank je :)
    @Margaret: many thanks Margaret :) 

  91. Mamo Delpero 2 years ago

    Magnificent layered view beautifully portrayed. Terrific shot Johan!

  92. Deborah Sandidge 2 years ago

    Beautiful shot, happy holidays Johan!

  93. Stephen Cairns 2 years ago

    Beautiful, alpine heaven. Just gorgeous.
    All the best in 2014 Johan. Enjoy your holidays too. Hopefully there will be a little time for photography in there as well.

  94. Mady Sach 2 years ago


  95. Author

    @Mamo: thank you very much Mamo! :)
    @Deborah: thanks and U2! 

  96. John Dunne 2 years ago

    And a very Merry Christmas to you and Debby, Johan !

  97. Kurt Harvey 2 years ago

    Spectacular capture! Full of mountain goodness! Very nice work Johan! 

  98. Fantastic winter scenery! Greta photo Johan! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  99. … ich wünsche Dir frohe Festtage im Kreise Deiner Lieben! 

  100. Anna Ryndak 2 years ago

    Wonderful work! I hope you had a great Christmas! All the best for New Year 2014! Keep enjoying your time off! :-)

  101. Anna Rimovska 2 years ago

    Beautiful work , Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2014 my friend Johan!! -:)

  102. Suzie Javed 2 years ago

    Beautiful winter landscape, lovely white clouds, Happy new year to you and your family

  103. :) ♥ ~❤❤❤~ ♥ :) Happy New Year dear Johan 

  104. Betty Manousos 2 years ago

    Majestic capture, too!

    happy new year Johan !

  105. Andreas Levi 2 years ago

    I absolutely enjoy this wonderful capture, my friend!!
    I wish you a Happy New Year!! :)

  106. Athena Carey 2 years ago

    I missed this one – been offline for awhile. This is gorgeous!!
    I hope that you had a marvelous holiday season Johan :)

  107. Vishal Kumar 2 years ago

    Stunning & Beautiful Capture :)
    Happy New Year Johan 

  108. Nice landscape!

  109. Johan Swanepoel 2 years ago

    Beautiful Johan, best wishes

  110. Yasmin Simpson 2 years ago

    …. and as always majestically quality images from you, buddy Johan.
    Wishing all the very best to you and yours this 2014.
    Huge hug :)

  111. Michelle Potter 2 years ago

    Majestic beauty Johan, Wow…

  112. Thierry Bouriat 2 years ago

    Happy New Year to you my friend and I wish you a creative and successful 2014.
    A friendly thought :-))

  113. Rosa Frei 2 years ago

    My body is shivering by just looking at snow mountains….. beautiful image!

  114. You must be so happy that it’s winter Johan :) This is absolutely gorgeous!

  115. Rikard Lindby 2 years ago

    Great work! Love this.

  116. Michael Menefee 2 years ago

    Gorgeous winter mood!

  117. Author

    @Stephen: thanks for the compliment and all the best for 2014 for you too! :)
    @Mady: happy New Year Mady :)
    @John: thanks John and looking forward to seeing you again in the new year! :)
    @Kamal: thank you sir! :) 

  118. Author

    @Kurt: many thanks Kurt! :)
    @Angela: thanks for singing Angela! :)
    @Grzegorz: many thanks and hope it will be a great one for you as well Grzegorz! And maybe we will run into each other this year 😉
    @Anna: I enjoyed it Anna thanks! Hope yours was nice as well! :)

  119. Author

    @Anna: many thanks Anna! Same to you :)
    @Suzie: glad you like it Suzie and thank you! Wishing you all the best as well :)
    @Annette: U2 Annette! :)
    @Andreas: danke vielmals Andreas! Gleichfalls! :) 

  120. Author

    @Athena: thanks Athene and yes I enjoyed the time off! Hope the same goes for you :)
    @Betty: thank you Betty. Best wishes to you as well :)
    @Vishal: thanks for the compliment Vishal! Best wishes to you 2! :)
    @Dirk Photography: thanks and nice to meet you :) 

  121. Author

    @Johan: many thanks Johan and happy new year to you too!
    @Michelle: thanks Michelle! :)
    @Yasmin: glas you like this one as well Yasmin :) Best wishes to you as well! :)
    @Thierry: thank you Thierry and wishing you a great year as well! Merci! :) 

  122. Author

    @Rosa: lol Rosa. Thank you :)
    @Sinead: yes I am … just need a bit more snow here! Thanks :)
    @Rikard: many thanks Rikard!
    @Michael: thanks Michael! :) 

  123. Tatiana Parmeeva 2 years ago

    Fantastic winter scene Johan!!!

  124. Gerda Smid 2 years ago

    Heb weer heerlijk kunnen slapen. Bedankt!

  125. Asif Jajja 2 years ago


  126. Paul Turkowski 2 years ago

    This composition is a killer! :)) You caught the right moment Johan

  127. Jim Lundgren 2 years ago

    Stunningly beautiful!! 

  128. Author

    Many thanks +atiana ! :)
    @Gerda: mooi :)
    @Asif: … ok …
    @Jim: glad you like it Jim :)
    @Paul: thanks for the kind words Paul! This place as such amazing views! Nice ski area as well btw :)

  129. Kamil Dolny 2 years ago

    Great shot :)

  130. Agree with Kamil :)

  131. Beautiful

  132. Author

    Many thanks Kamil, Jorunn and Khalid ! :)

  133. Marilou Aballe 2 years ago

    You capture the majesty and beauty of winter so beautifully Johan!

  134. Daryl L. Hunter 2 years ago

    Beautiful :D

  135. Beautiful!

  136. Author

    Many thanks Daryl and Patricia ! :)

  137. So beautiful!

  138. Mint Emmer 2 years ago

    mooi foto .

  139. Hadegda Ignatova 2 years ago

    Oh, what splendor !

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