Dom, Nadelhorn and Täschhorn: High above the clouds

The mountain landscape photograph below features the Swiss mountains Dom, Nadelhorn, and Täschhorn. Three beautiful alpine peaks with a height of more than 4,300 metres (14,000 ft). They are located in the Swiss Canton of Valais and are amongst the highest in Switzerland. I shot this image early in the morning. The light was still lovely and soft, and the fog and clouds just started to rise from the valley, adding a nice dose of drama to the scene. I was high up a mountain on the other side of the valley just at the right time.

High above the Clouds, three Swiss mountain peaks

A black and white landscape showing the Swiss mountain peaks Dom, Nadelhorn and Täschhorn, lit by early morning light above a layer of clouds and fog.

I captured this photograph titled High above the Clouds using a Nikon D800E in combination with a Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 VRII. A lens with which I have a love-hate relationship. I almost always stuff it in my bag, next to 2 or 3 other lenses, when I go hike up a mountain. From a physical point of view, I always regret that at the end of a day … it is just too darn heavy. When I come home though and see the quality it delivers, I am always glad I did take it. I would love to own a good lightweight alternative lens, however. So, tips are welcome! The light wasn’t very bright yet. Therefore, I did not use filters to balance the exposure.

The settings were: 165mm, ƒ/11, 1/200s and ISO100. I processed the photograph using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro, because I felt the image begged for a black and white conversion. I opted for a 2:1 crop to make the composition as strong as possible. I hope you like it! Click on the photograph if to learn more about it or if you are interested in buying a print or licence of this photograph of Dom, Nadelhorn and Täschhorn.

Cheers, Johan 🙂

224 thoughts on “Dom, Nadelhorn and Täschhorn: High above the clouds

  1. Anette Mossbacher says:

    When do you post a new image Johan ? I am waiiiiiting :))) come on, the good weather is over, the bad weather for great pix too, now we have medium weather – not good !!! :)))

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      I know Anette, it’s time again. I am actually busy working on my summer and autumn images. I’ll post one tomorrow 🙂 An indeed, we are now in mud season. Colors are almost gone and the snow as well. Means I’ll have to go higher up to shoot :)

  2. Chris Miller says:

    Lovely shot Johan. Sounds like you had an early start to get this one…

    When lugging heavy camera gear around starts to get me down, the way I deal with it is to tell myself that the exercise is good for me! That’s usually enough to make me grin and bear it :)

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      about 5 AM I think Chris 🙂 Has to happen sometimes. Your way of dealing with it is about the same as mine. It’s aweful but in the end mostly useful!

  3. Walter Soestbergen says:

    Geweldig Johan , ik zou willen dat wij zulke uitzichten hadden, dan zou hopelijk mijn mijn landschaps fotografie beter worden.

  4. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Cameron: glad you like it! This one I am going to print big!
    @George: Tnx! am going to lug it around on long hikes the coming days again George. Can’t live without 🙂 Canon has a nice f/4 alternative. Nikon only has a 70-300 f/4-5.6 … might go for that one. Hoping for new lens introductions in the coming weeks 🙂 

  5. George Marquardt says:

    Fabulous photo Johan! I feel your pain on the lenses. We did a 9 hr scramble up Mt Lougheed a couple of weeks ago, and I left the long lens behind for weight savings. Although the non-IS version of the 70-200 Canon is quite light, it still felt like too much along with the water and extra gear.

  6. Hope OHara says:

    HI Johan. I honestly love this capture.. here you have beautiful clouds with the light softly touching them.. then in the background you knock it off brilliantly .. with those peaks.. standing so tall and proud above the clouds.. and the light caressing them is totally outstanding.. one of those OH MY.. moments..

  7. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Johan: hey thanks Johan!
    @claudia: many thanks Claudia. That is a very nice compliment 😀 Nice to meet you!
    @Annegret: thank you! Thanks for stopping by 🙂 

  8. Rikard Lindby says:

    I like how you managed to isolate the subjects in this one. Not an easy task in these types of shots. Having the clouds leading the eyes towards the mountains is also quite extraordinary. Well done.

  9. Matthias Haeussler says:

    it’s really amazing. I think more than 50% make it to the plusextract. this is an unbelievable quote 🙂 … it’s even more amazing that it is fully deserved 😉

  10. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Stefanie: nice to see you around again Stefanie! Thanks for the great feedback. And I know you love double squares 🙂
    @Dalibor: that sounds like great fun. Too advanced for me still. I did my first 4200 ascent a few weeks ago under guidance of Wilfried Haferland. He knows the mountains you mention very well 🙂 

  11. Dalibor Pačić says:

    Great photo Johan!
    I was yesterday on Nadelhorn! 😀
    My friend and me climbed it in 3,5 hours with strong wind.
    I was on 6 days vacation in ‘your’ Swiss, just returned few hours ago. 🙂
    Climbed Weismiess, Allalinhorn and Nadelhorn.
    It was fantastic! 

  12. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Nora: going to check it out now! Thanks for the “wowow”! 😉
    @Leyla: tnx! Not sure if I understand the last part of your comment …
    @Jens: hey Jens! Tnx!

  13. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Davorin: many thanks Davorin!
    @Kurt: thanks Kurt!!!
    @Andrew: glad you like it Andrew!
    @Agustin: thanks for the feedback and stopping by!

  14. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Markus: how could you 😉 Thanks Markus!
    @Dane: I love clouds in my images Dane, especially in combination with mountains 🙂 Thanks! 

  15. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Julia: many thanks for the great comment and looking forward to seeing you in CH Julia!
    @Stuart: thanks Stuart :o)

  16. Julia Anna Gospodarou says:

    What a superb view of these mountains lost in the clouds Johan! When I see your images the only thing I want is to be there and see that with my own eyes. Wonderful strong b&w processing! :)

  17. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Sinead: glad you like it Sinead !! 😀
    @Vitor: thanks you Vitor!
    @Joel: many thanks Joel for the feedback ! 🙂

  18. Athena Carey says:

    Lovely dramatic shot btw Johan. You know I feel your pain regarding the 70-200 F2.8. Fortunately for me there is a smaller, F4 option. Maybe I should rent it to see if I can deal with that…

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      I hear that that f/4 is a great lens for landscape so I wouldn’t hesitate switching over. f/4 is plenty enough! Thanks for the compliment :)

  19. Athena Carey says:

    @Dominique Dubied Faire attention! I am actually a full 50% real Swiss. My family are over on the German speaking side. 🙂

    But Johan, I think you mean my shot of coffee. My chocolate drink has to come a bit later if I am to continue. ;)

  20. David Shield says:

    I would love to Dominique And, I would make it a priority to contact both you and Johan. Probably not Athena Carey though since she does not like chocolate! :-)

  21. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Dominique: me neither remember 🙂
    @David: I know the area very well. The lake there is a great location for long exposures. 

  22. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Dominique: did you know that some Swiss residents like Athena Carey just refuse to function in a coherent manner without having been given their shot of chocolate! 

  23. David Shield says:

    I lived in Lausanne Johan. For about 6 months when I was 9. I wish I was into photography back then. I still remember the beautiful scenery.

  24. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Sharon: many thanks Sharon!
    @David: yup 🙂 Thanks David!
    @Dominique: very true 😉
    @Ian: nope! I actually did my first climb up to a peak of 4200 metres Ian … bloody amazing! Thanks for the compliment! 

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      that the first time I hear the term “belter” Dylan. Had to look it up 😉 Thanks. Hope all is well over there ! 

      • Dylan van Graan says:

        🙂 Glad I could widen your horizons. Just got back from a hike in the Drakenberg in preparation for Kili, just over a month to go! All gear sorted and fitness levels not too bad. Got some images on the hike I wanted to share with you, will post as soon as I’ve worked on them.

  25. Baldur McQueen says:

    Superb image, Johan! The light hitting the mountains is beautiful – and the 2:1 crop, showing all the clouds before you hit the mountain, is extremely powerful.

  26. Jean-Michel Taconné says:

    Love this early morning light over these snow capped summits in the background. The light over the clouds is
    also very nice. Bravo l’artiste !

  27. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Andreas: glad you like it Andreas!! 🙂
    @Wilfried: going to process the other one with a slightly different approach. Not sure which one I prefer. Re lenses: tried the 105, but don’t like it for stuff like this. Maybe I should get the 135DC. The 85 is nice as well. but a bit too short.
    @Pranab: many thanks Pranab. Thanks for stopping by!

  28. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Mikko: always love your comments Mikko! many thanks 🙂
    @Peter: 28-300 doesn’t perform very well on my camera’s Peter. Think the 70-300 is the only Nikon alternative. F/8 wouldn’t be a problem for me in most cases. How ist the image quality? By the way: the problem is the long distances and the ascents and descents here … 

    • Peter Maris says:

      I could send you some examples. Shot on my D300. I do not have FX bodies. If you look on my flickr page you can also find some shots with the 70-300 I reckon (downsized ofcourse). 

      • Johan Peijnenburg says:

        that would be great Peter. I hear the lens is not great between 200-300, but excellent until 200. Would love to see an image in the 100-200 range! 

  29. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Meg: thanks Meg. Hope you are having a wonderful summer!
    @E.E. Giorgi: many thanks Elena 🙂 I will probably keep carrying it around yes :-O
    @Joseph: thanks Joseph! Thanks for stopping by! 

      • Johan Peijnenburg says:

        I can imagine that! It is a phenomena we in Europe are not very familiar with. It always looks like a real nightmare on the news though! Mine has been splendid so far. Thanks Meg !

  30. Wilfried Haferland says:

    @Johan – Of course it is a different one… I’d be a bad photographer if I wouldn’t notice :-). I really like the 2:1 aspect.

    @Sophie and @Johan – Funny to see the discussion about carrying weight. For every mountaineering photographer it’s an issue from the start. I choose my lens to bring depenfing on the trip. Wideangle for ridge climbing, moderate 105mm long lens for the rest. Shooting fixed lenses trains too, as you know ;-)

  31. Peter Maris says:

    They say the 28-300 is a nice lens. Personally I also own the 70-300 VR which I take on “exploration trips”. But that usually needs f/8 to get the best results. But its light and simple. Personally I say stick with the 70-200 it rocks, but then I also take heavier lenses and using the 70-200 is light for me ;)

  32. Lilia Lin says:

    WOW!!! Amazing photo… so Dramatic… so beautiful +Johan Peijnenburg It’s a fantastic photo Johan 🙂 Love this photo, dank je wel! :)

  33. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Jim: thanks for the feedback Jim! Glad you like it 🙂 That region is great for shooting AND camping btw 😉
    @Mike: many thanks Mike!!! I love the lens to, but I also love the 14-24 … plus 1 or two others give a nice weight total. But I guess you are right … no pain no gain 😀 

  34. Mike Sh says:

    welcome back Johan 🙂 and a great photo to go did you bring with you :-)

    as for the nikkor – just dont replace it 🙂 – its my favourite nikkor – you just need more muscles so you can both climb and carry the lens all day long :-P

  35. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Leyla: thanks for the kind words 😀
    @Kimberly: glad you like it Kimberly!
    @Grant: thanks for the feedback Grant! Much appreciated !

  36. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Robin-Angelo: thanks you very much Robin-Angelo!!
    @Michael: thanks! I love drama 🙂
    @Margaret: thanks 😀 

  37. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Beverley: hey Beverley. Nice to hear from you. Hope all is well !? Thanks for the compliment 🙂
    @Aileen: thanks you Aileen. Great feedback!

  38. Aileen Sorenson says:

    Wow! This is beautiful! Love the compressed perspective! I feel like I am high up above too with the clouds. The covered snow-capped mountain led my eyes to it.

  39. Francis Gagnon says:

    Splendid photograph, Johan ! I have the same relation with my 70-200mm. I absolutely love it for its quality, but it’s a real pain to hike with it; it’s so damn big and heavy !

      • Francis Gagnon says:

        Nope ! I don’t really want to spend money on a smaller and lighter lens that I won’t use because it does not have the same optic performances. Nikon should do a lens like the Canon 70-200mm f/4. If you come with an alternative, I’d be interested to know it !

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          I had exactly the same thoughts as well so far and agree with the comment on the f/4 lens. Think the 70-300 is too much of a compromise. 

  40. Margaret Tompkins says:

    Oh my, this is incredibly beautiful!! I love the wonderful light on those mountains and the wonderful contrast. Those clouds are gorgeous!! This is outstanding Johan !!!

  41. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Kurt: thanks Kurt. Great feedback. I was a bit afraid that I made it too rough 🙂
    @Sophie: thanks for the great input and feedback on the image Sophie! The only alternative Nikon has is a 70-300, which is actually quite cheap and light. Not sure about IQ though. Maybe we both should move to hiking with one lens only. Just pick one (with limited focal length range) and just make it work. Wouldn’t that be refreshing!?

  42. Sophie Vandebuerie says:

    1)=>I have the same problem with weight if i go hiking in the mountains 🙂 but after the hiking tour you’re always glad you have brought them with you, but ergonomically it’s a real burden.
    I use Canon, so i don’t know what types Nikon has for lenses, i see that you have a 70-200mm – f2,8 and the weight is => 1540gram, yes that’s heavy!
    If i go hiking, i have two lenses with me if i shoot mountains: a wide angle lens and a telelens, a 75-300mm, i can’t carry more because of my backproblems, the rest of the luggage is for my assistant, euh, my friend and i’m very grateful for that! 🙂
    I can’t give you a lot of advice but maybe you have to look it up which type of Nikon is best for you and please look at the reviews, they can be very interesting!

    2)=> It’s a very powerful, dramatic mountainscape and i love the uprising fog! Great work!!!

  43. Kurt Harvey says:

    The air is so incredibly clear. I could reach out and touch those gorgeous clouds. Amazing capture Johan!! Its very calming which is always nice on a manic/working Monday. %-)

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      glad to be sharing an image of a couple of mountains you climbed Wilfried! Thanks for the compliment. This is a different one then the one I send you earlier btw …. and I was a bit more aggressive in composing and processing 🙂 

  44. Brian Spencer says:

    Maybe you need an assistant to carry the lens for you Johan!!! Because you definetly need this one with you! I love the light on those peaks poking through the clouds! 

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      thanks a lot Brian! Great idea. I tried sneaking it into my gf’s bag but didn’t work 😉 In some places in Switzerland you can hire a sherpa goat though ! 

  45. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Dominique: thank you Dominique! Some might find it to dark and moody … but that’s me 🙂
    @Janine: I think so. They always have a nice view at breakfast somewhere 😉 

  46. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Anette: it does doesn’t it 😉 Thanks!
    @Elizabeth: many thanks Elizabeth and great that you stopped by! 

  47. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Mike: Many thanks !
    @Gemma: thanks for the compliment Gemma! 
    @Jerry: I was hoping it would go better over time, but it doesn’t. Usually can’t force myself to leave it at home … wish Nikon would have a good alternative like Canon has! Thanks for the kind words Jerry. Much appreciated! 
    @Debby: indeed 🙂

  48. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Peter: thanks Peter! Been a while … hope all is well! 🙂
    @Armand: thank you! How are the legs doing?
    @Javier: muchas gracias 🙂 

  49. Jerry Johnson says:

    Based on the marvelous quality of this image, I’d say you need to do some push ups and sit ups and keep this lens with you at all times Johan! I know, easy for me to say! 🙂

    It is a beautiful and dreamy photo and I

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