A mountain river close to sunset

Landscape image featuring an Alpine mountain river at sunset in the Swiss National Park

A mountain river close to sunset
July 15, 2012 Johan Peijnenburg
In Photography
A mountain river floating downwards from a trio of mountains, lit by the last mountain light close to sunset (Johan Peijnenburg)
14mm – f/11 – 1/15sec – ISO100 – D3x with 14-24 f/2.8

Time for a color image again! This photograph was taken in the Swiss National Park in the Swiss canton of Graubünden (Grisons). The Swiss National Park is a great place to be for landscape photographers, especially in late spring and autumn. Plenty of great hiking trails and loads of unspoiled scenery and wildlife at hand!

This image features a typical rocky alpine river that is floating towards a trio of mountains in the background. The mountains are lit by the last mountain light as it was fairly close to sunset. I captured this image using my 14-24 f/2.8 wide angle lens. Shot it at 14mm to give a lot of depth to the image. No filters were used (quite an investment for the 14-24 lens used). The image was processed in Adobe Lightroom 4.1.

I had two alternative captures of this scene. One with and one without that old tree trunk to the right. I opted for the one with the tree trunk. Think the trunk balances the composition a bit. Was I right?

Comments (166)

  1. Manuel Acebedo 8 years ago


  2. Yasmin Simpson 8 years ago

    Oh dear friend simply exquisite this image!, well as always… :)

  3. Author

    Thank you Manuel !
    @Yasmin: glad you like it as always! 😉 

  4. Vitor Ferreira 8 years ago

    Very nice composition with the foreground.

  5. Ian Gazzard 8 years ago

    Beautiful natural touch!

  6. Dietmar Descamps 8 years ago

    superb shot! I’m not distracted by the trunk (its color is close to the stones) but I might have preferred without it

  7. Debby Vos 8 years ago

    I wanna go back :-)

  8. Author

    @Ian: many thanks!
    @Dietmar: thank you for the compliment and thanks for the feedback. Curious to see what others will say 🙂 

  9. Didier schürch 8 years ago

    Super Johan Peijnenburg 

  10. David Herreman 8 years ago


  11. Author

    Merci beaucoup Didier!
    @David: thank you! 

  12. E.E. Giorgi 8 years ago

    wow, beautiful shot!

  13. Bill Pevlor 8 years ago

    Bet that water’s cold. Nice shot!

  14. Author

    @E.E. Giorgi: many thanks Elena 😀
    @Bill: yes, for sure. This was in May at an altitude of about 1900 meters. Thanks for the compliment! 

  15. Gemma Costa 8 years ago

    wonderful shot and place!

  16. Sudip Ghate 8 years ago

    SO much to like about this photo Johan, the detail in the foreground…the stream leading your eyes to the mountains, with a really nicely lit peak capturing your attention there…just a super shot!

  17. Mikael Sh 8 years ago

    not sure about the tree trunks right to exist 🙂

    but superb.work Johan, looking mighty inviting. And composition and fl indeed give a great sense of depth

    very nice :-)

  18. Author

    @Sudip: thanks a bunch for the very kind words!
    @Mike: I have mixed feelings about the tree trunk, but it has a function … sort of 😉 Thanks for the compliments!!! 

    • Mikael Sh 8 years ago

      oh we should not bully the poor tree trunk to much, it doesnt distract 🙂 – but i do think that your other photo without it might be even better :-)

      • Author

        😀 The one without has a bit less depth as it was shot at 18mm … enough more tight to exclude the trunk. I liked the scene at 14mm better … maybe I need to do magic in PS and see how it looks without 🙂

  19. Wes Lum 8 years ago

    Beautiful landscape! 

  20. Evelin Inauen 8 years ago

    Great with the stream and the light! Graubünden is a beautiful landscape :)

    • Author

      So far my favorite part of Switzerland Evelin 😀 Thanks for the kind words!

      • Evelin Inauen 8 years ago

        I can understand that, but the Alpstein is also very nice :))

        • Author

          If I am not walking on a glacier on Sweptember 1st, I will come to check it out Evelin !

  21. Athena Carey 8 years ago

    Beautiful scene and colors Johan. I can’t decide what I think about that old piece of wood. Maybe post the other one for us to compare. :)

    • Author

      thank you Athena! Might post the other one later. It’s mountainmonday today though, so I am off to the mountains 🙂 

  22. Robert H. Clarke 8 years ago

    Johan, wonderful composition with the leading lines drawing me into the shot.

  23. Domique Hilbert 8 years ago

    Great work Johan! your choice is best! makes the whole image natural.

  24. Celso Carvalho 8 years ago

    Beautiful work and composition ;)

  25. Beautiful Johan !! I love the rich texture and wonderful color!! It’s outstanding!!

  26. Author

    @Dominique: many thanks Dominique!
    @Robert : glad you like it Robert!
    @Celso: thank you!

  27. Shelly Gunderson 8 years ago


  28. Ada M 8 years ago

    this is absolutely a dream image! Superb!!!

  29. Toshiro Ikeda 8 years ago

    I like the tone and the angle of this image. I like the tree trunk to be there.

  30. Author

    Many thanks Margaret and Ada! On my way to the biggest glacier of Europe now :D
    @Shelly: thank you!
    @Toshiro: many thanks for the kind words and the feedback on the trunk !

    • Ada M 8 years ago

      have an amazing trip!! bring great photos to share with us!!!

  31. Michael Russell 8 years ago

    like it – I don’t find the tree trunk element distracting at all – it fits there.

  32. Stefanie Loges 8 years ago

    Loving the touch of light on the left trees Johan, a very beautiful scene! :)

  33. Wonderful tracking paths you’re traveling on Johan! Indeed the best place to be for a landscape photographer. Love this shot and you were right about the trunk. :)

  34. Chris Miller 8 years ago

    Love it Johan! The water texture is spot on. As for the tree trunk I think it works just fine. In fact if it was a bit closer it might have worked even better?

  35. Nikola Nikolski 8 years ago

    Very nice (mooi man :-)) work Johan, love the pureness here!

  36. The tree trunk supports the impression in a very fine way. The right exposure time makes for that perfect movement of the river and I like the contrasty stones in the foreground, captured by the line-leading side rivers. Thank you, Johan!

  37. jany viala 8 years ago


  38. Christof Simon 8 years ago

    Very appealing picture Johan, especially the fine lines in the water are amazing! Here is what I think About the “trunk-thing”. For me the trunk does not balance the composition. To do so, his tone should differ more in comparison to the stones.
    BUT I think he is important to give further information: He tells me that this small river can be very strong from time to time. So strong that he is able to transport trunks or even pull out trees. Therefore, I think it’s good to have the trunk there :-)

  39. Wonderful colored alpine landscape with fine lights, Johan fantastic.

  40. Peter de Rooij 8 years ago

    wish I was there…

  41. Dalibor Pačić 8 years ago

    beautiful Johan Peijnenburg 

  42. Dominique Dubied 8 years ago

    Beautiful capture Johan!
    In fact I suppose you lost your Big Stopper during the hike and you are ashamed of telling us the truth 😉 lol

  43. Andy Korolis 8 years ago

    Nicely balanced composition Johan! I wonder if the river bed, which seems so broad, actually fills during spring runoff, or is this the remnant of receding glaciers?

  44. Author

    @Ada: thank you. It was 😀
    @Michael: thanks and thanks for the feedback!
    @Stefanie: thank you. Appreciated! 

  45. Author

    @Julia Anna: I surely am 😀 Thanks for the feedback! Glad you like it!
    @Chris: many thanks Chris! Unfortunately I didn’t move any closer. I already was at a spot I shouldn’t be 🙂
    @Nikola: dank je wel man 🙂 Thanks!

  46. Author

    @Wilfried: thanks for the kind words Wilfried! Looking forward to haunt rivers like this with you again 😀
    @Jany: thank you Jany!!
    @Christof: glad you like it Christof! And thanks for the feedback. Yes these rivers go wild in Spring!
    @peter paul: thanks! Appreciated!

  47. Author

    @Dalibor: glad you like it Dalibor 😀
    @Peter : make it work Peter! 🙂
    @Dominique: thanks Dominique! Nah had the big stopper on me, but this was the effect I was after. Nicely dynamic 😀
    @Andy: thanks for the nice feedback Andy! Yes this river goes wild when the white stuff gets to deal with warm weather in sprig. I was there 2 weeks before I took this shot as well and the river was almost full then! 

  48. Jerry Johnson 8 years ago

    Speaking of gorgeous LE photos! 🙂

    You obviously timed out the light perfectly. I wouldn’t have guessed you could capture this beautiful scene without a filter. Wow!

    • Author

      Thank you Jerry 😀 Yes, waited a while for the sun to hit the mountains and being in the shade gave me the exposure time I wanted.

      • Jerry Johnson 8 years ago

        BTW – I think you made the right decision to include the tree trunk. I think it helps to bring the small side stream into the scene.

  49. Milena Llieva 8 years ago

    Amazing work!

  50. Wow! What a view! I really love the composition and the light. Great work (as always)!

  51. Author

    Many thanks Milena and Sinead :D

  52. your pictures always give me the feeling of vacation Johan 🙂 just great!

  53. Bernhard Schmid 8 years ago

    it´s a beautiful landscape!

  54. Author

    Thank Matthias! I can relate to that feeling. I have the same when I am taking them 😀
    @Bernhard: thank you and nice to meet you!

  55. Meg Rousher 8 years ago

    Wonderful capture Johan, It looks like a great park for picture hunting :)

  56. Looks beautiful Johan

  57. I like the skilful composition : the foreground pretty stones and the background sweet light. How lucky you are to live in the Alps, this paradise for photographers ! :-))

  58. Superb photo of landscape and great light captured Johan ! Beautiful!

  59. Love this Pov Johan !!

  60. OMG that details are freakin amazing Johan, and love the light and comp. I would love to just wonder along the stream. Great image.

  61. Author

    @Meg: thank you. It is very nice. I guess it is a lot like the national parks in the US. There is just one road in the middle of the park, from which many hikes depart, no houses and they let nature to its thing basically 😀

  62. Author

    @Anette: thank 😀 An loads of wildlife as well 😉 Aren’t you on hols?
    @Jean-Michel: merci! Very kind words and yes I am very very lucky!
    @Emanuele: glad you like it Emanuele! 

  63. Author

    @Sophie: many thanks Sophie!
    @Andrew: thanks for the very kind words Andrew! I always hate it when I have to leave the park again!

  64. Shawn McClure 8 years ago

    Love the stream-level perspective on this…

  65. Hengki Koentjoro 8 years ago

    Go with the flow

  66. Daniel Ewert 8 years ago

    Beautiful landscape scene!

  67. Jim Lundgren 8 years ago

    Love the composition and how the river leads to the peak. Very nice!

  68. Sandy Schepis 8 years ago

    Wonderful and good choice on the tree trunk, Johan! 

  69. Johan Swanepoel 8 years ago

    Love this low angle Johan – agree with your choice. Very nice work.

  70. Author

    @Shawn: glad you like it!
    @Hengki: thanks! To the point as always 😀
    @Daniel: many thanks Daniel!
    @Jim: the feedback is highly appreciated Jim! Thanks!
    @Sandy: glad you like it and thanks for the feedback!
    @Johan: thank you! Highly appreciated!
    @Anette: you are so high-tech 😉 

  71. Mikko Tyllinen 8 years ago

    absolultey stunnig! water dragon try capture a mountain.. 🙂 very beautiful!

  72. Debby Vos 8 years ago

    Congratulations on making Jarek Klimek’s top 3 again Johan :-)

  73. Debby Vos 8 years ago

    @Mikko: thanks Mikko. Nice parallel 😀
    @Debby: 😀 Thanks! 

  74. Meg Rousher 8 years ago

    Yes it does sound like our national parks. I just wish we had more of them, although the area where I live does a good job with local parks and has plots of land set aside for nature to take over. These places are so much fun to visit.

    • Author

      Same here Meg. There could be more, but that will be just a matter of time 😀

  75. John Dunne 8 years ago

    Beautiful vista Johan. Just a hint of a cloud at the edge of the frame :-)

  76. David Orr 8 years ago

    Breathtaking capture !!

  77. Author

    @John Dunne: thank John! Yes, was tempted to remove it but liked it as is 🙂
    @David Orr: many thanks David!

  78. E.E. Giorgi 8 years ago

    congratulations on getting on the top 10! :-)

  79. Congrats, Mr. Peijnenburg! This was a must! :-)

  80. Sumit Sen 8 years ago

    Greats shot Johan!

  81. BJ Bolender 8 years ago

    Tremendous POV here, well done and grand to “meet you” via the wonder of G+ and a share I received just now.

    • Author

      thank you for the very kind words and nice to “meet you” as well 🙂 

  82. Kurt Harvey 8 years ago

    Yum. I love places like this. Wonderful capture Johan! My kinda place. 🙂 

  83. Paul Turkowski 8 years ago

    Fabulous shot Johan. Like how the water leads my eyes to the peaks. Superb framed!

  84. Rigobert T. 8 years ago

    Magnifique photo, bravo Johan Peijnenburg !

  85. Very good, very good, Johan Peijnenburg 

  86. Author

    @Kurt: thank you! Me too 🙂
    @Paul: thank for the feedback and compliment Paul! 
    @Rigober: merci Rigobert!
    @Alexandre: many thanks !

  87. Nora Carol 8 years ago

    love the light on the tip of the mountain, great shot Johan :)

  88. Author

    @Nora: many thanks Nora. Nice to see you around again 😀
    @Людмила Танасевская-Караваева: thank you+

  89. John G Moore 8 years ago

    Lovely shot Johan ;-)

  90. Aileen Sorenson 8 years ago

    Beautiful work! Nice rocks details and movement. ☺

  91. Tom Tran 8 years ago

    Wow, what a shot, Johan. Full speed ahead! :)

    • Author

      good to see you back Tom. Thanks. Hope all has settled down a bit 🙂 

  92. Fabio Bucchieri 8 years ago

    congrats for the PhotoExtract! Really deserved, Johan! I think the trunk adds nicely to the compo.

  93. Robert Skreiner 8 years ago

    Great photo and wonderful area! Johan 

  94. David Shield 8 years ago

    Very clever perspective, and an excellent exposure!

  95. Author

    @Fabio: many thanks for the compliment and the feedback Fabio!
    @Robert: danke vielmals Robert! Really nice yes and very close to Austria as well!

  96. Paul Paradis 8 years ago


  97. I love the composition that you choosed. Nice job 

  98. Incredibly beautiful!! I love that white water and the angle that you used!! The color is awesome my friend!!

  99. Author

    @Paul: thanks and thanks for the share. Just circled that page!
    @Robin-Angelo: thank you Robin-Angelo. That is very nice to hear!
    @Margaret: thanks again Margaret! Hope all is well? 

    • All is well Johan, especially when I can enjoy one of your masterpieces!! 

      • Author

        😀 Margaret
        Too busy shooting to post a new one now. Hopefully in the course of the week!

  100. jens Ceder 8 years ago

    Lovely low viewpoint!

  101. shane holsclaw 8 years ago

    gorgeous! love that water flow and the light hitting the pea

  102. Suzie Javed 8 years ago

    Stunning image, specially for amateur photographers like me, just to see such images is a teaching lesson in itself, also reading all the discussions is again a learning process!

  103. Author

    @Jens: thanks Jens and nice to see you around again 🙂
    @shane: many thanks Shane!
    @Suzie: thanks for the very kind words. Glad you like it and that it is useful to you 😀 

  104. Michael menefee 8 years ago

    Masterful work with exposure/light. The balance between sun and shade is exquisite. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend~!

  105. Yasmin Simpson 8 years ago

    Missing more of your stunning art, dear Johan … :)

  106. David Witte 8 years ago

    Love the low POV in this image

  107. Author

    @Yasmin: ok ok posted again now. Just for you 😉
    @David: thank you for the compliment! 

  108. Kerry Murphy 8 years ago

    Beautiful. Love the down low perspective.

  109. Markus Landsmann 8 years ago

    Johan Peijnenburg, a wonderful perspective and composition.

  110. Myrna Weinreich 8 years ago

    whish…love the processing my friend! :-D

  111. Hans Berendsen 8 years ago

    fantastic .. just .. fantastic
    And what a scenery .. aaaah dream

  112. Author

    @Myrna: thanks Myrna!
    @Hans: a dream I live in. I am a very lucky man! Thanks Hans! 

  113. Awesome picture !!! I loved especially the way of water ! between stones it looks great !

  114. Carola Habeck 7 years ago


  115. Javier Esvall 7 years ago

    Fabulous shot

  116. Trever McGhee 7 years ago

    Excellent shot, reminds of the Rockies, I can just imagine what this would look like during spring run off.

    • Author

      Thanks! A pretty amazing load of water comes down this in Spring Trever! I miss the rockies :)

  117. Barbara Mi 7 years ago

    Wow!!! Cudowne;, kadr, kolorystyka, użyty czas, światło!!!

    • Author

      Thank you. I understood the “wow”. The rest you will have to explain 😉

  118. Laurie Wade 7 years ago

    Fantastic. I can’t decide which part of the pic I like best.

    • Author

      thank you! Everything maybe?

      • Laurie Wade 7 years ago

        Lol, Johan, I do like it all, but my eye goes immediately to the movement of the water and the bluish gray of the rocks. But when I finally look up from that and see the mountain, I’m, like, whoa! It’s just an all-around great shot. Congratz.

  119. Praphul T 7 years ago

    Johan Peijnenburg

    such a wonderful image..do u have a tutorial on the same? the light everyting looks fabulous..i am always wondering whether this output can be achieved from a camera..can u say about the processing done? 

    • Author

      thank you! Actually I haven’t done a lot of processing on this one 🙂 You can get this out of a good camera. You might need to use a gradient filter though as the sky is a lot brighter than the foreground. The most important thing is to shoot at the right time of day. This was shot just before the sun went down 🙂 

  120. ¡ Que paisaje ! es alucinante, espectacular , maravilloso ,no encuentro palabras para poder describirlo ,Johan . Gracias por compartirlo .

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