Silky smooth

A long exposure photograph of flowing water and stones in a mountain river (Johan Peijnenburg)

A long exposure of flowing water and stones in a mountain river in the Swiss Jura

[ 36mm – f/11 – 126sec – ISO100 – Nikon D3x with 24-70 f/2.8 lens ]

A few weeks ago I was doing a hike in the Val d’Areuse near Boudry in the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel, home of the Gorges de l’Areuse. The Gorges de l’Areuse is a narrow gorge through the limestones of the Jura, shaped by the Areuse river. One of the things I was after, was long exposures of the flowing water and nature’s details in it.

It is always a bit hard to predict how a long exposure image of a mountain river will look. I tend to be on the look-out for stones or wood with a bit of character or a special color. In addition I tend to look for light patches that can give a long exposure image a special look and feel. I think that in this case I found a nice combination. Hope you like it!

I combined a Lee 10-stop and a Lee 3-stop ND filter to achieve a 126 second exposure at f/11.

Click on the image, if you are interested in buying a print or license. For more images like this:

The Waterfalls & River Rapids Gallery

187 Responses to “Silky smooth”

  1. Love the colours and the textures!!!!

  2. Great textures and love the silky feel …

  3. I love the transitions between smooth and sharp. The colors simply glow – wonderful! :)

  4. Thanks Vishnu and Heather :-)

  5. Beautiful natural rhythms Johan and in some ways looks like an aerial image.

  6. Lovely work Johan!

  7. Johan, this is one of my favorites from your portfolio. Dreamy and beautiful image!

  8. very smooth .. very nice Johan

  9. Beautiful image Johan. I think you deserve a place in any list of “Top Gun” Long Exposure photographers.

    • thank you! Think I will need to practice a bit more to get into those … this is from the hike we did together btw :-)

      • I’ve been looking at some of the “best LE photographers” lists and I truly believe that you’re better than quite a few of them. If I build such a list, I’d have no problem with adding you to it; no special treated for people I know.

        BTW: I figured it was from our walk and I’m jealous.

        • …. I’ll keep practising anyway Charles 😀
          Did you order your filters already?

          • Never stop practicing. That’s when you start to lose the edge.

            No, I haven’t ordered the filters because the total for everything I wanted was 1000 francs. I was thinking about asking if you still have the extra Lee holder and what I would need to use it. What lens do you recommend for LE ?

            I would like to go with you to practice but it would be a bit foolish without a holder, adapter and filter :-))

          • Charles, why don’t you just order a 10 stop circular one from B+W? It’s more hassle but you can start for a few 100 francs. Yes, I still have the spare holder and actually also a spare 10-stop Lee filter, but I decided that I want to keep both for myself. These things break easily and given the waiting period … think the holder are in stock again however!

  10. Great image Johan ! Very abstract and mysterious.

  11. I’d say it worked out really well this time. The foreground rock is so sharp and prominent that it holds the eye back from the bright horizon… until it’s time to go there. Wonderful!

  12. It’s beautiful Johan !
    The textures are an amazing contrast to the soft water.

  13. This is very beautiful. At the beginning I thought that this image macro,is tilt-shift effect. Excellent work my friend. Have a nice day :)

  14. Beautifully done!!!!

  15. Tom Tran says:

    Ahhh…I see it has been a good “away” time, Johan. :)
    What a great image. I like the sharp details of the rock and the contrasting flow of the water.

  16. Splendid LE Johan!! love the DOF where it is perfectly sharp in the center!

  17. The result is outstanding and very special. Dreamlike with lovely control of the tones. Art for sure. Congratulations – it is so rewarding when everything comes together like this!

  18. This is a very cool shot Johan, i love the colors in it!

  19. First from where did you purchase the Lee filters here in Swissyland ??? ( I am after those, but quite costy ) Second wonderful image. I love the colors, light, rocks and the flow of the water. Wonderful :-))

  20. Whether it’s a majestic mountain or a gentle flow of water, your photos always portray your dedication to excellence. Thank you for the background information, as always, that makes your photos ALL the more special to behold. :-)

  21. absolultey amazing shot Johan! so beautiful and still mysterious full of live and magical! Fabulous!

  22. Beautiful, and a bit (pleasantly) disorienting (alternating areas of focus and blur – I get confused easily:-)

  23. Super shot Johan – wonderful atmosphere!

  24. Amazing colors and details Johan. Very beautiful and calming.

  25. Beautiful image Johan.

  26. Oh, I could just immerse myself in that! Beautiful, Johan!

  27. Ben Locke says:

    lovely contrast in textures. Great work Johan

  28. Wow! I love the bit of water between the foreground rocks and mid-ground rocks. The result to me is a dof that is a bit disorienting! Very nice, Johan.

  29. Thanks a lot for the compliments Kurt and Javier!

  30. Great effect Johan, the combination of textures and silky, smooth water created a wonderful abstract image from nature:) That is what I love !

  31. Nice shot. I am suprising by the quality of this capture. With a 126s capture the noise seems null. Great job.

    • Thanks! It’s shot at ISO100 with long exposure NR turned on. I didn’t apply any noise-reduction in post. So it’s the camera I need to thank :-)

      • Thank you for the info Johan. I have made few long exposures for night shots, but I have always turned off the NR of the camera. I’ll reconsider this option in the future ;-)

        • I do turn it off when I shoot a sunset for instance, as time is vital then. For shots like these, I tend to leave it on because I like the result and usually don’t mind the extra wait time. I’ll be setting up for the next shot or moving on again whilst it does its thing.

  32. Debby Vos says:

    Me like :-) or should I say, me + ? Anyway next time i will be joining you when you return!

  33. Radek Vik says:

    Yeah yeah yeah! Great shot Johan

  34. beautiful image Johan !!

  35. Very beautiful … I love this soft water look.

  36. Beautiful, creative work here Johan! It’s always a pleasure coming across dedicated artists such as yourself. I look forward to seeing more more of your portfolio as the journey unfolds!

  37. this is so dreamy Johan , wonderful tones

  38. Wow This is a wonderful shot Johan. I love it :)

  39. Quite mystical Johan :)

  40. wow strong strong image!!! i like it very much!!

  41. Wowww, what an amazing image, Johan!!! Like from another planet. Love it!!

  42. Wonderful image Johan! One can almost imagine looking at a tilt shift image of some older mountains with clouds :-)
    Great combination of color/texture and light. Well spotted and executed :-)

  43. Geat Work Johan. Like the detail and the LE effect.

  44. Laurent and Paul: thank you!

  45. Lovely image Johan! I’ve seen it yesterday but I’m very short of commenting these days (time issues) and meant to come back to it later. So here I am telling you that you made a perfect choice of the place and light here, everything turned out just great: textures, colors and this ethereal water flowing among the rocks… beautiful!

  46. Tremendous!! You certainly captured the details of nature in this outstanding long exposure image!

  47. oh i love your photos thank you for sharing karol sheffield

  48. Mystical and surreal! You always amaze me
    with your photos Johan, great work!

  49. Absolutely gorgeous. I love this type of shot and you have really created a true beauty.

  50. Woww Johan. Sure is a breathtaking piece of art, very well done!. I can watch at it for hours.

  51. Sinead: glad you like it :-) Thanks!
    Yasmin: still here? :D

  52. this is so Wow Johan. I love everything : the post processing, the tonality, the framing… Everything. Well done.

  53. Awesome my friend! It looks from another planet! Great shot Johan!!

  54. A good photo, I like the dof and the smoothness created by the flow… You perfectly chose those 126 seconds. Thank god you didn’t set 125 or 127 😉 Thank you, my friend!

  55. Francesco: thanks for the kind words!!
    Wilfried: thank you! Yes, the 126 was crucial obviously :D

  56. John Dunne says:

    Very lovely abstract Johan

  57. This is awesome Johan . I love the detail and the misty steam, gorgeous image

  58. Especially like the texture contrast and the mood it creates. Excellent work.

  59. Great moody atmosphere! Awesome shot.

  60. @John: thank you John!
    @Sarah: glad you like it Sarah!
    @Gérald: merci :-)
    @Candace: thanks for the compliment Candace!

  61. This image has a quiet, otherworldly quality – colour is simply gorgeous as is the sheen on the rocks. Depending on how one views it, the image could almost be interpreted as an aerial landscape with fog. Lovely work.

  62. This looks great and very abstract Johan – and I do like the colors for a change:)

  63. Another stunning of an image Johan ! Beautiful rock colors, smooth silky waters. It’s magical!

  64. Very nice Johan! The thumbnail almost looks like a moonlit scenic. 

  65. I like the abstract nature of this, in that it is hard to tell exactly what you are seeing (which is part of what makes it interesting.) About how far is between the lens and the middle portion of the image. To me, it looks to be about 1.5 feet/.5 meters, but I’m not sure as there isn’t and identifiable reference for scale.

  66. Splendid image, Johan !

  67. wow. This is gorgeous

  68. @Scott: the thumbnail indeed can throw you off :) Glad you like it!
    @Francis: thanks! Glad to see you around again Francis :)
    @Lisa: thanks for the wow. I always love that! Glad to see you around again as well 😀

  69. Nice dreamy photograph, Johan , love the cold tones fog like affect of the flowing water.

  70. Diego Cattaneo says:

    Hi Johan! I saw this browsing on google currents from the train this morning :)
    Wonderful shot! I tried some long exposure too, but I need to practice more :)

  71. It’s so incredibly gorgeous! I love the awesome color and textures! Those wispy clouds make it so dream like! It’s wonderful! Is this where you hiked? It looks rugged!

  72. Quite amazing LE Johan

  73. Superb! It’s almost as if the river resembles a mountain range.

  74. wonderful light and fantastic fine details….. fantastic work

  75. this is fantastic, I think the exposure is perfect and the blue tones are great

  76. This one I like a lot. Thanks for sharing.

  77. Wow! You have beautiful collections of photos!

  78. Ben Coope says:

    Cool little detail Johan, have you noticed that the colours are so much better with a long exposure like this, they are more saturated and smoother, the short test shots before putting on the 10 stop always seem flat to me when compared.

  79. I soooo love this one Johan! Feels so other-worldly. Like something from the movie Avatar : )

  80. @Ben: sorry missed your comment earlier! Yes, I agree. That is also what makes this type of photography hard. I find it quite difficult to foresee what the result will look like. I knwo what ingredients to look for, but the end result can always be a bit fo a surprise :)
    @Shane: thanks Shane! Interesting comparison. I know what you mean :)

  81. excellent work, Johan!

  82. indrukwekende fotos maak je!

  83. Jon Meier says:

    I love this scene!

  84. Many thanks Scott and Jon !

  85. Ric Lav says:

    Jolie photographie 

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