Alpine lake reflections at sunset

Landscape photograph featuring last light at a small Alpine lake in Switzerland

Alpine lake reflections at sunset
May 31, 2012 Johan Peijnenburg
In Photography
Alpine reflections in a half frozen alpine lake called Lej Pitschen near the Bernina pass in Engadin, Switzerland, with the Piz Cambrena (3606m) in the background. (Johan Peijnenburg)
19mm – f/11 – 1/125sec – ISO200 – D3x with 14-24 f/2.8

I published many black and white (long exposure) images lately, so I figured it was time again to post in color 🙂

This photograph features a small Alpine lake called “Lej Pitschen”. It’s located at the top of the well-known Bernina pass in Engadin (canton Graubünden in Switzerland). In the background you see the mountain Piz Cambrena, which has an altitude of 3606 meter (11.830ft).

I captured this image at the end of May (last weekend). The lake was still partly frozen. As I was shooting fairly close to sunset, I ran around like a maniac to try to capture this lake and the surrounding mountains with differing compositions, perspectives and focal lengths. About 10 minutes after I shot this one, the light was no longer hitting the scene. Timing is everything in landscape photography!

For this image I used my 14-24 f/2.8 wide angle lens. No filters were used. The image was process in Adobe Lightroom 4.1.

Comments (205)

  1. Mark Esguerra 7 years ago

    Absolutely incredible shot Johan!

  2. Milena Llieva 7 years ago

    Beautiful crisp photograph…Brilliant!

  3. Fabrizio Vignali 7 years ago

    Nice work with the reflection.

  4. Anson Jett 7 years ago

    Awesome shot. Great capture!

  5. Author

    Thanks Mark and Anson!
    Thanks you Milena and Fabrizio :)

  6. Thorsten von Eyb 7 years ago

    very very nice! I love the reflections the light and the last shine on the mountain at the background. a wonderful image.

  7. just wonderful!

  8. Author

    Thorsten: thank you! Glad you like it!
    Thank you as well Alessandro Brandolino !

  9. Shelly Gunderson 7 years ago

    Very beautiful scene!

  10. Dane Clingan 7 years ago

    Fantastic, Johan . Great foreground, great sky!

  11. Author

    Shelly and Dane: thanks your for the compliments and the visit again!

  12. Roland Voegtli 7 years ago

    Breathing freshness… wonderful. Thanks for this, Johan !


    • Author

      Fresh air from my favorite part of Switzerland Roland 🙂 Thank you!

  13. Tim McAdam 7 years ago

    Beautiful view Johan !
    Thanks for sharing it!

  14. Kerry Murphy 7 years ago

    Stunning, Johan. I love the little bits in the foreground and the reflections are great.

    • Author

      Thanks Kerry. I love the little bits as well. They were catching the light very nicely :)

  15. Michael Diblicek 7 years ago

    Beautiful Landscape Johan, love the wide sweeping panoramic view.
    Are you coming out with me and Athena on tuesday??

    • Author

      Thanks Michael!! Yes, of course. That day has been blocked for ages now and am looking forward to seeing you again!

  16. David Orr 7 years ago

    Tremendous capture !

  17. George Fletcher 7 years ago

    Wow! So beautiful!

  18. Debby Vos 7 years ago

    Beautiful image Johan 🙂
    My hanging around, waiting and seeing you run around like an idiot to shoot all, was worth it apparently ;-))))

  19. Author

    Thanks a bunch David and George!
    Debby: for sure! Thanks for the patience :D

  20. Scott Horwath 7 years ago

    Very nice image Johan :)

  21. Kurt Harvey 7 years ago

    This is amazing Johan! Beautiful, fresh and on the edge of the season. I loved your description of hurrying around taking shots. I love that feeling of seeing something very special and having the opportunity to capture it like this.

  22. Jim Lundgren 7 years ago

    Just a vibrant, bright, popping result. Great image but really great, natural looking processing. Fantastic!

  23. Terrill Welch 7 years ago

    Feels like ice on a crisp day. Gorgeous!

  24. Gorgeous Johan!

  25. Hengki Koentjoro 7 years ago

    Gorgeous landscape, love the reflection

  26. Nikola Nikolski 7 years ago

    Nice work here Johan

  27. Sumit Sen 7 years ago

    Wow! That is a cracking shot! Top class and great in colour!

  28. Author

    @Scott: thanks Scott!!
    @Kurt: thanks Kurt! Yeah, it must have looked really funny. I think I had 20 minutes at this location, so tried different things. I got lucky that the wind eased at some point as well, so that the reflections were actually worth while 🙂
    Thanks as well Jim!

  29. Author

    Thanks Terrill! Wasn’t sure whether it was appropriate to also tag +Breakfast Art Club for this one ?
    Thanks you very much Hengki and Patricia !
    Dank je wel Nikola!!!

  30. Tom Tran 7 years ago

    The wide angle is giving us such a treat with this beautiful landscape, Johan. You managed to stay out of the lake during your maniacal running around, I take it? :D

  31. Carsten Kopp 7 years ago

    I love the deep blue sky reflection on the water surface. Fantastic photo !

  32. … but you coloured ones are not bad at all either 😉

  33. Michael Russell 7 years ago

    Beautiful photo Johan!

  34. Gemma Costa 7 years ago

    wonderful shot as usual, so clear and fresh image Johan

  35. Vitor Ferreira 7 years ago

    A great image Johan 

  36. Morkel Erasmus 7 years ago

    what an absolutely stunning scene very well captured, Johan !!!

  37. Javier Esvall 7 years ago


  38. Fantastic reflections, wonderful composition and perfect processing.
    One of the best alpine landscape…..
    congrates…. Johan

  39. Dylan van Graan 7 years ago

    Very nice Johan. Would be seriously nice to spend a couple of evenings in a tent next to the lake :-)

  40. Christa Niederer 7 years ago


  41. Dominique Dubied 7 years ago

    Very nice shot Johan !

  42. Author

    Thanks Tom! No I didn’t get myself wet …. this time. It does happen once in a while though 🙂
    @Carsten: danke vielmals Carsten!! Glad you like it!
    @Matthias: hehe phjew ;)

  43. Author

    @Michael: thanks Michael!
    @Gemma: thanks for the kind words and the share 🙂
    @Vitor: thanks for the compliment Vitor!!!

  44. Author

    Thank you for the kind words Morkel and nice to meet you!
    Javier: gracias!!!
    Peter Paul: thanks. Very kind Peter Paul. I think I will do a black and white version of this in the future as well 🙂 

  45. Author

    @Dylan: I think that would be awesome indeed. Would be a perfect location for shooting a starry sky reflected in the water 🙂 Thanks for the visit again and the compliment. Hope all is well in SA!
    @Christa: danke dir Christa!
    @Dominique: merci beaucoup Dominique! 

    • Dylan van Graan 7 years ago

      All is well, thx for asking. I think I should come and carry your gear for a session of star gazing, maybe sneak in a few shots myself. 

      • Author

        more then happy to carry my own stuff and have you come along anyway Dylan 🙂

        • Dylan van Graan 7 years ago

          I was rather hoping you would carry mine when you come over for an African safari ;-)

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 7 years ago

            ow yes, I wouldn’t mind coming over. I already agreed with your fellow South-African Johan Swanepoel, that we would switch countries one day :)

  46. Meg Rousher 7 years ago

    This is Fantastic Johan _:)_

  47. Wow, beautiful Johan! What a scene and I love the colors!! Great shot! :)

  48. Athena Carey 7 years ago

    Johan, you do color so splendidly! And you know how much I love that. This is an absolutely perfect image. Everything just as it should be, clouds, mountains, snow, lake, ice, grasses, and those two foreground rocks make me smile! I am a little bit jealous that I was not also there running around like a maniac trying to get different compositions! I’ll just have to enjoy seeing them all as you post them. :)

    • Author

      Thanks a bunch for the very kind words Athena 😀 Yeah, this is one of those scenes that you just have to run into at the right time of day. I had already given up that day after a disappointing visit to another lake, Then we ran into this one. Big smiles :))) I think I have about 7 or 8 different good captures from this area!
      Hey, if you figure out when your kids are free from school in Autumn you could visit this as part of a Graubünden trip ;)

  49. Author

    @Julia: thanks Julia!!! Glad you like it 🙂 Hope your being busy is getting less by now!
    @Meg: and it is not even a Monday. How can that be? 😉

  50. Jim Davis 7 years ago

    Nice Johan, I long for the mountains!

    • Author

      Come over to the Alps one day Jim and I’ll show you around 🙂 Thanks for the compliment!

      • Jim Davis 7 years ago

        I would love to take you up on your offer . This year is busy but will certainly consider next year!

        Thanks for your generous offer!

        • Author

          That would be cool Jim. Would be great to shoot alongside a talented photographer like you and I think I know a few other people here in Switzerland that would like to come along as well ;)

          • Athena Carey 7 years ago

            You would not be able to keep me away Johan, if you had a photowalk with Jim Davis. :)

          • Jim Davis 7 years ago

            Photowalk on the wildside! sounds like a plan! Do you camp in the mountains Johan ?

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 7 years ago

            I don’t do a lot of camping anymore. I should though 🙂 Anyways just keep the option in mind and maybe we can make it work next year!

          • Jim Davis 7 years ago


            With planning a visit would be highly likely. If you could let me know when would be an ideal time to visit based on your schedule and for mountain conditions etc. I can commit the time. I mentioned it to my wife and she certainly would like to come.

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 7 years ago

            depend a bit on what you want to shoot and how high up you want to go. I would personally skip the summer months, as alpine landscapes are a lot less interesting then.

  51. Michael menefee 7 years ago

    There is such a nice clean feel to this image, I feel refreshed just taking it in. Beautiful work Johan !

  52. Aileen Sorenson 7 years ago

    Amazing work!

  53. Alan Owens 7 years ago

    awesome shot!

  54. Author

    @Michael: thanks for the kind words Michael. I will be going back to this place in a few weeks and might try to imitate one of your starry sky shot above this scene 🙂
    @Aileen: thanks Aileen. Glad you like it!
    @Alan: thanks Alan. Hope all is well in Ireland! 

    • Alan Owens 7 years ago

      All is well here Johan, sun is shinning if you can believe!!haha Hope all is well with you!

      • Author

        you’re kidding me. Sunny in Ireland! We need to see proof otherwise it didn’t happen! All’s well here. Being outdoors most of the time so happy man here 🙂

  55. Patrice PVK 7 years ago

    Reflections are fun… always! Great photo Johan…

  56. Candace Bartlett 7 years ago

    Beautiful reflection…wonderful image.

  57. Dominique Dubied 7 years ago

    Superb shot Johan!

  58. Andy Korolis 7 years ago

    Excellent alpine scene Johan !

  59. Charles Lupica 7 years ago


  60. Steve Hambley 7 years ago

    Simply beautiful!

  61. Brian Spencer 7 years ago

    Such a gorgeous landscape Johan! I love the reflection!

  62. Thierry Bouriat 7 years ago

    Fantastic Johan beautiful colors, reflection, ……

  63. Sudip Ghate 7 years ago

    Stunning! Colour, B&W…doesn’t matter Johan, you’re a master of all types of landscapes!

  64. Paul Turkowski 7 years ago

    Awesome view with cool reflections Johan!

  65. Author

    @Patrice: thank you and yes you are right 🙂
    @Candace: thanks for the compliment. Hope all is well with you! 
    @Dominique: thanks again Dominique!
    @Andy: thanks a lot Andy!

  66. Author

    @Charles: thanks Charles!
    @Steve: simply beautiful works for me. Thanks!
    @Brian: thanks Brian and nice to meet you! 

  67. Author

    merci beaucoup Thierry!
    @Sudip: too much honor Sudip! Thanks for the very kind words 🙂
    @Paul: glad you like it Paul and hope all’s well in Austria! 

  68. Great shot Johan (^_^(

  69. Johan, the effort was worth it. You’ve created an ultra-clear, crisp photograph! I like the fact that I can see more in the foreground than in the background. This provides a refreshing look of this wonderful gem of a lake. Glad you took the time, my friend!

  70. Author

    Thanks Henrik!
    Thanks a bunch for the kind words Wilfried! I guess your favorite Piz Palu is connected to this mountain no? We should try night photography above a lake like this with our new babies 😉 

    • Sure we should! Gargl! Piz Palue is definitely connected 😉 Let me send you a night shot of Palue from Boval hut soon, with my camera rammed into the icy snow as a tripod substitute 😉 It was full moon. Again, your photo is fantastic!

  71. amazing capture !!!!

  72. Debby Vos 7 years ago

    @Wilfried: we went to the Boval hut last week, too much snow for the last part though…. So we should redo it…. It is a beautiful area 

  73. markus rienzner 7 years ago

    Awesome Composing great light and stunning reflections!!

  74. A great shot, but it has such a clearity, that I could stare at it a very long time for that quality alone. I taste the cold but fresh air. Fantastic work

  75. E.E. Giorgi 7 years ago


  76. David Herreman 7 years ago

    Fantastic landscape Johan !!!

  77. Author

    Thank you Bertrand and thanks for the visit!
    Thanks for the kind words Markus!
    @Sassi: still here staring?

  78. Author

    E.E. Giorgi and David Herreman: thank you both very much! 

  79. Ada M 7 years ago

    when I see marvelous mountain pictures like that I get transported in them, I feel like I am there feeling the cold air, touching the ground, hearing the silence and enjoying the miracles of mountains. Superb!

  80. I think that running around the lake to find the right composition was a good run! Really wonderful picture Johan!

  81. Rikard Lindby 7 years ago

    Great image. There is a lot to look at. Partly frozen lakes are interesting. Hope to capture one or two myself soon. 

  82. Guy Dekelver 7 years ago

    cracking shot Johan, looking forward to more

  83. Author

    Ada: thank you Ada! Really glad you feel like that!
    Emanuele: hah yes definitely! Thanks Emanuele!
    Rikard: don’t wait too long or you’ll have to go up too high 🙂 Glad you like it!
    Guy: I love the “cracking” bit Guy. Thanks a bunch and nice to meet you! 

  84. this is nothing but stunning

  85. shane holsclaw 7 years ago

    stunning capture my friend! love how the clouds hug the mountain and the reflection is so crisp! beautiful!

  86. Author

    Jorunn: thanks! Glad you like it!
    Shane: he he, catching up? Thanks for all the great comments. Really appreciated!!!

    • shane holsclaw 7 years ago

      Yeah…I haven’t been on much here lately. Love catching up with your wonderful image Johan. : )

      • Author

        I don’t blame you Shane. Real life is much more important. I appreciate your taking the time to catch up!!!

  87. looks gorgeous Johan, you were lucky that the remote was not picking up the shacking, of all that running :))) Glad you made it in time, otherwise I could not enjoy this :)

    • Author

      Made it in time and there is more coming from this session Anette ! Thanks for the comment!

      • Next time I come along, just a short drive, guess 1 1/2 hours or so :))

  88. Glenda Christina 7 years ago

    Sigh, beautiful! 

  89. Charles Lupica 7 years ago

    Johan, the more I look at this the more I think this may well be the best image you ever shared . It works on every level. 

  90. Mike Sh 7 years ago

    nice one Johan, you´r photos might make me to have to visit Switzerland with the gf some day for a photo walk amongst the “roof of the world” :)

  91. Stan Showalter 7 years ago

    Gorgeous image Johan. I really like the crisp feel it evokes. Definitely worth your dashing around.

  92. Author

    @Anette: I was surprised that you haven’t been there yet 🙂
    @Charles: thanks again Charles. Hope I can keep it up 🙂
    @Mike: thanks! You should if you like hiking in the settings we hae here. I love it 🙂
    @Stan: thanks for the kind words Stan! Glad I could serve some fresh air 😉 

    • Hahaha will go, was at st.bernhard twice and hit twice so bad cinditions that I had to leave again after waiting and waiting and waiting :))

    • Mike Sh 7 years ago

      oh i do love the outdoors, green forests, warmth and ocean as much as cold, tall mountains, it’s all great in its own way 🙂 so yeah that do look like a wonderful scenery to hike, climb and shoot our way through some day in the future 🙂

      You just keep on shooting and inspiring Johan, until that day happens :-)

  93. Author

    @Glenda: thanks for the compliment and the sigh :)

  94. Johan Swanepoel 7 years ago

    Magnificent work Johan – a pity we cannot stretch those times with good light :)

  95. Jerry Johnson 7 years ago

    Johan, whenever one of your phenomenal photos pops up, I go and pop some popcorn, I make some lemonade, and I sit back and study your photos for a LONG time. They are SO good!

    This beautiful photo has such amazing depth, but my favorite facet is found in the rock protruding from the water on the left. I think that is because it breaks up the reflection in the water in just the right way.

    O.K. I’ve finished my popcorn and lemonade so I had better get back to work. 🙂 Well done as always and thank you for sharing this with me.

  96. Wow Johan , thank you for posting this breath taking mountainscape!!!!
    And the reflection, clarity, the clouds who are elegant majestic…Impressive in every way!! :-)

  97. Lisa RedWillow 7 years ago


  98. Author

    Lol Jerry 🙂 Your comments always make me smile! Really glad my images have this effect on you 🙂
    @Sophie: thank you Sophie!!! Love the way you describe it. Thanks 🙂
    @Lisa: thank you very much as well :D

  99. Ian Gazzard 7 years ago

    Encompassed a beautiful setting with all the right elements Johan, creating a stunning image. Glad it all came together for you! Nicely done man!

  100. Laurent Coppée 7 years ago

    This is glorious Johan! Love the blue sky, the clouds and those reflections! 

  101. David Shield 7 years ago

    This is a fantastic sweeping scene. I really like this view…Excellent quality work, Johan.

  102. Author

    Thanks a bunch Ian! Yeah it’s cool when thinks work out like this 🙂
    Merci Laurent! I am tempted to also do a B&W version btw 🙂
    Thanks David and thanks for the visit.

  103. Alan Kirby 7 years ago

    This is superb! 

  104. Markus Landsmann 7 years ago

    Absolut fantastic shot Johan Peijnenburg 

  105. Author

    Thank you very much Alan and Markus !! 

  106. Maurizio Pontini 7 years ago

    Superb scene

  107. George Marquardt 7 years ago

    Fabulous photo Johan; this looks like a nice spot!

  108. Joel Tjintjelaar 7 years ago

    That’s beautiful Johan ! Especially the reflections. So still seduced by colors Johan?:))

    • Author

      thank you Joel! Yes, that will never stop. At the moment I am more ambitious to get better in B&W though and that in the end will improve my photography across the board I think. Btw weekend of 7/8 still looks good. If you want you can test with a D800e then ;)

  109. Author

    @Maurizio: thank you Maurizio!
    @George: thank you very much! It definitely is! 

  110. Nora Carol 7 years ago

    Stunning shot! such an amazing location.

  111. Stunning work! Love it!

  112. Author

    Thanks Patricia !
    @Nora: thank you as well. Nice to see you back. Hope all is well!

  113. Eric Rousset 7 years ago

    A pure delight mate

  114. Diego Cattaneo 7 years ago

    Beautiful place!! well captured as usual :))

  115. Author

    Eric and Diego: thanks for the kind words and the visit. Much appreciated!

  116. reading the post for the 2nd I realized I cam across that one with my mountain bike once … excellent capture and thanks for bringing back good memories :-)) Johan 

    • Author

      It is indeed a great area for that Matthias! I will be going back there this weekend :D

  117. Sandy Schepis 7 years ago

    Beautiful, Johan!

  118. Mikko Tyllinen 7 years ago

    such amazing magicl you captured here Johan! realy amazing glowing of colors and light and what a magical view! so beautiful!

  119. Author

    Thanks a bunch Sandy and Mikko !!!

  120. Maggy Meyer 7 years ago

    Gorgeaus image, Johan!! What a beautiful landscape!!! Love it!!

  121. Lilia Lin 7 years ago

    Beautiful, so pristine :)

  122. Fabio Bucchieri 7 years ago

    awesome place and photo, Johan!

  123. Simply Arlie 7 years ago

    Johan Peijnenburg, I really enjoy your work so much:-)

  124. Author

    @Maggy: thanks a lot Maggy! Glad you like it!
    @Lilia: many thanks Lilia! Nice to meet you 🙂
    @Fabio: thanks again Fabio. Yes indeed. And almost in Italy 🙂
    @Simply: very glad you do. Thanks for checking it out again :D

  125. Yasmin Simpson 7 years ago

    Beautiful!!!, your images help me stay positive to think about our move to Canada, I will be changing red scenarios , sun and cactus for lakes, ducks and mountains…

    • Author

      That doesn’t sound like a bad trade Yasmin. I am still very glad that I moved to the mountains 4 years ago!

      • Yasmin Simpson 7 years ago

        … and I am very glad, too Johan, because if you wouldn’t move to the mountains we couldn’t admire these beautiful images that feel my soul with beautiful feelings, cold but beautiful :))). Blessings…

  126. Neil Camara 7 years ago


  127. Randall Sanger 7 years ago

    Tremendous!! The reflections are fantastic!

  128. Author

    Thanks Neil and Randall! Very much appreciated!

  129. schitterend, is me een goegen om jou en je fotos te bewonderen…..

  130. Sandra Canning 7 years ago

    This is pure magic!!!

  131. I’m just going to drool all over this! It’s so gorgeous Johan !! I love the great texture in the foreground and the wonderful mountains and clouds so beautifully reflection. This is stunning!!

  132. Author

    @Encarnaciòn: dank je wel. Leuk om te horen 🙂
    @Sandra: not sure about that but it is nice to hear Sandra 😀
    @Margaret: hey thanks Margaret! I was nervous about being able to capture what I saw. I managed though 😀

  133. Johan Peijnenburg : amazing image, congrats!

  134. Anna Romovska 7 years ago

    Sir very nice photo

  135. Scott Masterton 7 years ago

    woonderful, love snowy mountainscapes… expecially like the feeling of width and depth to this

  136. Author

    Thanks Anna and thanks again Scott !

  137. I like the light, the colours and the nice reflections. Great work Johan ! Have a good day.

  138. Paul Paradis 7 years ago


  139. Author

    @Jean-Michel: merci beaucoup!! It was one of the nicer photography experiences this year Jean-Michel 😀
    @Paul: many thanks Paul!!! 

    • Good day Johan.
      I wish you other photography experiences as pleasant as this one for summer 2012 . :-)

      • Author

        thanks you for the kind words Jean-Michel. I will certainly spend a lot of time in the Alps in the coming 2 months, so there is a good chance :)

  140. Gib Goff 7 years ago


  141. must special l like more of manners ,l like of colour uis more beauty,well all have your time space and use then our mind use a cretive ,ok good week,l need will go,by by:)

  142. jany viala 7 years ago

    The Alps are beautiful. In addition to the clouds, just grazed the mountain and is reflected in the lake. Beautiful. Thank you for this show.

    • Author

      I love the Alps. I moved to Switzerland 4 years ago just to be close to them 😀 Thank you for your nice comment! 

  143. wooow ! Just for this – when the skyes touching the earth !

    • Author

      Thanks for the “wooow” Syuzanna. I always love it when people do that ;)

  144. Jessy Eykendorp 7 years ago

    This is my fav the light, contrast, colours and details on here..Amazing!

  145. EDWIN KWLIM 7 years ago

    nice !

  146. Ric Lav 7 years ago

    Jolie la vue paronamique bel couleur et reflet tres poncher

  147. Author

    Thank you Edwin!
    @Ric: merci beaucoup!

  148. Ahsan Ullah 7 years ago


  149. Ric Lav 7 years ago

    Jolie photographie bel couleur 

  150. Impresionante paisaje y muy buena foto . Un cordial saludo

  151. Wow!

  152. Matt Adcock 7 years ago

    Sweet frame, lots of elevation! Johan very beautiful

  153. Author

    Thanks Randall !
    @Matt: many thanks Matt! Btw for some of my images I was up lots higher 🙂 

    • Matt Adcock 7 years ago

      I have total respect for you working and or getting to the Elevation to shoot. I’m living mostly at sea level… I’m a big wimp when it comes to the endurance needed at that altitude . Props!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *