Come fly with me

Aerial view of the Mont Blanc Massif in black & white

Come fly with me
February 16, 2012 Johan Peijnenburg
In Photography
Aerial view of the Mont Blanc massif as seen from Orsières in Switzerland (Johan Peijnenburg)
52mm – f/11 – 1/400 – ISO160 – D3x with 24-70 f/2.8

One of the places I visited this winter for a snow shoe hike is Le Chapelet. This is a small skiing area just of the Grand Saint-Bernard pass in the Swiss canton of Valais. There is a snow shoeing trail there, that takes you out of the skiing area up to a mountain summit, where a 8 km panoramic trail starts. From there onwards the views are a real treat, with the Mont Blanc massif on one side and high peaks of the Alps of Valais on the other side.

The image above was shot during this hike and features the mont Blanc Massif. I framed it quite aggressively to try to draw you into the image and to give the impression that you are flying towards them. I processed the image in black and white to emphasize the raw nature of these mountains. Most of the peaks you see have an altitude between 3500 and 4810 meters (11500 to 15750 ft), with the Mont Blanc (4810m/15750ft) being the highest. Other mountains you see are: Aiguille d’Argentière, Aiguille du Chardonnet, Grand Darray, Le Châtelet and the Tour Noir. I shot the image from an altitude of 2105 meter (7000 ft).

Comments (242)

  1. Alan Pasalic 8 years ago


  2. Lisa League 8 years ago

    Congrats on your PhotoShelter mention!

  3. Mark Esguerra 8 years ago

    Incredible shot!

  4. Daniel Ewert 8 years ago

    Beautiful scene!

  5. Dane Clingan 8 years ago

    Wow! That’s about all I can come up with. The detail is stunning.

  6. Stuart Williams 8 years ago

    Beautiful scene Johan and such sharp details. :o)

  7. Lauri Novak 8 years ago

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  8. Kerry Murphy 8 years ago

    The little trees in there are amazing. So many great details. Very nice, Johan!

  9. Younes Bounhar 8 years ago

    Love this. The B&W conversion suits the scene perfectly!

  10. Luca Gandolfo 8 years ago

    beautiful and majestic!!

  11. So beautiful!

  12. david Murphy 8 years ago

    Brilliant capture of scale. Love it.

  13. Author

    Thanks Mark, Alen and Daniel !
    Lisa: thank you! Quite happy about that 🙂

  14. Author

    Thanks Dane, Stuart and Kerry! Credits for the detail go to the camera … which I am about to trade-in … maybe … argh

  15. Lance Rudge 8 years ago

    Wonderful rugged scene Johan!

  16. Author

    Thanks Lauri, David and Luca!
    Younes: glad you like it. Thanks for the confirmation 🙂

  17. Author

    Thanks Leonardo and Lance !

  18. Andy Kennelly 8 years ago

    Such amazing shapes and tones. Really beautiful!

  19. Sumit Sen 8 years ago

    Super shot! Great details.

  20. Dave Pattinson 8 years ago

    Amazing shot, glad you did it in BW!!!! Definitely worth selling as a fine art print !!!!

    • Author

      Thanks Dave. Yeah I still need to look into doing that via FAA. Nice task for the muddy months ahead 🙂

  21. So beautiful ! It is difficult to find some simple words…I only prefer to admire and to be silent !

    • Author

      thank you for the compliment. Glad you like it! There is more coming 🙂

  22. Really a great photo, perfect contrast in every detail. I wish I could see this one in original resolution (cropping included). Btw, the agressive crop fits perfectly. That is not only the camera… 😉 Thank you, Johan!

  23. Charles Lupica 8 years ago

    You succeeded in every way with this. It definitely gives the feeling that this was taken from an aircraft and the B&W portraits the RAW beautify that only a well done B&W can.

    • Author

      Thank you! You should do this trail, really! Go up with the ski lift and snow shoe down. I have some great pano’s coming up from this trip as well !

  24. Lori Hibbett 8 years ago

    Just magnificent! I tried to see these beauties up close and personal but was denied due to cloud cover. Perhaps one day again… Great job.

    • Author

      you definitely have to try again. It is so worth it! I am lucky that I live reasonable close 🙂 Thanks for the compliment!

  25. Author

    Thanks Andy and Sumit !!
    Wilfried: thanks! Cropped it only a bit. I framed it aggressively when I shot it already 🙂 You can have the original if you want. I can send you a large jpg or tiff if you want!

  26. Quentin CAUDRON 8 years ago

    Beautiful shot ! Like everyone above, I love the B&W detail. The feel is fantastic 🙂 Would you mind explaining your method for converting to B&W ?

    • Author

      thank you! I used Lightroom 3 for the initial processing: a bit of contrast, a bit of clarity and a bit of playing with curves. No sharpening yet. Then loaded the image in to Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 for the B&W processing and the sharpening using the structure sliders. I applied structure to some tones but not all. When I was done it came back in Lightroom, where I added a slight vignette and did a bit of noise reduction (which is necessary after using Silver efex Pro). Some like the grain, but I mostly don’t. Hope this is helpful. Silver Efex Pro 2 has a price but is so worth it!!!

      • Quentin CAUDRON 8 years ago

        thanks very much for the description ! I’ve never played with Silver Efex… Might have to give it a try !

        • Author

          you can get a free trial for two weeks or something and there a plenty of coupon codes flowing around. Make sure to check out some of the tuts on YouTube!

  27. Tiff, tiff, tiff…! Drool! 🙂

    • Author

      I will send you the file at a size of 2560 ok. Otherwise it would be 128MB large …

      • Well, then we should switch to JPG. But the hires would be pure sugar anyway… Thanks, Johan!

        • Author

          the tif is 23mb for 2560 wide. That should be large enough no?

          • Wilfried Haferland 8 years ago

            That’s perfect. Thanks, Johan!

          • Wilfried Haferland 8 years ago

            You know what? Every monitor is way too small for such an detailed image. It is absolut pure pleasure to look at all the fine details. It’s a real big-print candidate. Thank god you’re using the right equipment for creating your top photographs. Thank you very much, Johan!

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 8 years ago

            Glad to hear that Wilfried! So should I sell the equipment?

          • Wilfried Haferland 8 years ago

            No, trade in for even better stuff ;-)!

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 8 years ago

            It’s like giving away my baby Wilfried 😉

          • Wilfried Haferland 8 years ago

            I know, I know… But in the end, I’m not better ;-)! And we get two…

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 8 years ago

            You are right Wilfried and it does make sense 🙂

  28. Ada M 8 years ago

    yhis is a dream! a real dream! superb superb superb,

  29. Douglas Dietiker 8 years ago

    Really draws you into the scene, lots of details to look at, Good choice.

  30. Author

    Thank you Ada and Douglas. Glad you like it and the choices I made!

  31. Cho Tang 8 years ago

    Wowowow Johan WOW! (wow!)

  32. Layla Kuyper 8 years ago

    Fantastic, dramatic image Johan! Love it.

  33. Beautiful moment captured with these clouds so low. The tones of black and white and details are exceptional. Great work Johan !

  34. Daryl L. Hunter 8 years ago

    Wonderful 😀

  35. Author

    Daryl .: thank you!
    Emanuele: glad you also like this one! I have plaxed a while with this image to get the tones just right. How is/was the Carnival in Venice?

    • This is a super photo Johan!
      This year everything went well in Venice even if they were three days with snow, ice and very freezing wind! Thanks!

  36. Johan, this is incredible beautiful! I love the crisp detail on the mountains and looking down on the clouds rolling in. Awesome!!

  37. Jerry Johnson 8 years ago

    Such a brilliant capture of the majesty these wonderful mountains, Johan! I really can’t say enough good things about the stunning photograph. Well Done!!

  38. Author

    Emanuele: thanks! well looking forward to the images then 🙂
    Jerry: thank you and thanks for stopping by!

  39. Rao Gobburu 8 years ago

    Absolutely magnificent!

  40. markus rienzner 8 years ago

    beautiful image!!

  41. Author

    Thank you markus and Rao. Thanks for stopping by!

  42. Peter de Rooij 8 years ago

    Wow. This is like you’re flying towards it all (I really thought “aerial” when I saw this). Brilliant perspective. And great B&W conversion – it looks so barren and inhospitable.

  43. Gorgeous! What a view! Excellent work Johan.

  44. Meg Rousher 8 years ago

    Fantastic Shot Johan It’s Beautiful 🙂

  45. Author

    Thanks for the kind words Patricia and Meg 🙂

  46. Robert Brosche' 8 years ago

    wonderful shot of the cuts in the mountain here to this artists eye

  47. Joel Tjintjelaar 8 years ago

    Spectacular mountains Johan – and they look good in BW! BTW just saw on your FB profile you also studied at the KUB Tilburg, same period as I did so we must have met before without knowing it:)

    • Author

      Thanks for the compliment Joel! That is indeed an interesting fact. You should upload an image of how you looked back then. I know I played a lot of cards back then 🙂 Your name always has sounded very familiar. What did you study over there?

      • Joel Tjintjelaar 8 years ago

        Hey Johan – I’m younger than you:) I studied Law… BTW: I will put up a photo from around that time.

        • Author

          don’t think so … the 50 was referring to your awesome page 😉 I studied business economics, so we should indeed have run into each other!

  48. Francis Gagnon 8 years ago

    Wow, this is wonderful !

  49. Randall Sanger 8 years ago

    Superb image, Johan – such a beautiful scene . . .

  50. Filippo Macchi 8 years ago

    Great B&W!

  51. Love the title… Beautifully done Johan!

  52. Chris Day 8 years ago

    Really beautiful image Johan

  53. susan leonhardt 8 years ago

    Francis, Randall and Filippo: thank you!
    Thank you Louisa! I came up with that title already when I shot it. Sometimes these alpine scenes are so inspiring!
    Chris and Susan: thanks for the kind words and for stopping by!!!

  54. Alan Owens 8 years ago

    wow what a shot!!

  55. Davorin Mance 8 years ago

    Fantastic photo. Perfectly processed in B&W. I enjoy watching.

  56. Debby Vos 8 years ago

    …………………………………….. (so this means that I cannot find the words to do justice to this image 😉

  57. Author

    Thanks Davorin, Debby and Alan !

  58. Tim Haynes 8 years ago

    Gorgeous 🙂

  59. Cédric Leblond 8 years ago

    a grandiose landscape, again an excellent B&W editing, a stunning view Johan!

  60. Author

    Thanks Tim and Cédric!!!

  61. Mikko Tyllinen 8 years ago

    i definetly love to came and fly! Magical view Johan! Love mountains and this is such amazing capturing! so beautiful and still mysterious! Very powerful!

  62. Dwayne Feeley 8 years ago

    I like the view it gives me a feeling of flying above the mountains ! Very good picture!

  63. absolutely incredible Johan !

  64. Author

    Thank you Mikko and Dwayne!
    Thanks Matthias. It’s all mother nature’s doing 🙂

  65. Lexy Santillan 8 years ago

    Im from texas. looking at this i say HOLY SHIT!

  66. Gerard Charnley 8 years ago

    There is so much going on this shot. So many peaks, the low level cloud, the snow and the trees. I could look at this for ages! 😉 Super shot+Johan.

  67. Rolf Hicker 8 years ago

    I love it – I sure miss the Alps.

  68. Author

    Thanks Gerard! You can always come back later 🙂
    Thanks also Rolf. I can imagine. I don’t want to leave anymore!

  69. Jaycee Crawford 8 years ago


  70. This is fantastic Johan! It have me goosebumps! Love it! I’ll send the link of this photo to my dad ’cause I know he’ll love seeing it too! 🙂

    • Author

      that is really nice to hear. I had goose bumps as well up there. If you like, I can send you a large version of this file by mail for you dad.

  71. Bill Wood 8 years ago

    Exquisite in black and white, Johan

  72. Franka M. Gabler 8 years ago

    Great image!

  73. Lisa RedWillow 8 years ago

    Gorgeous and it looks so cold

  74. just incredible!

  75. Nicholas Ong 8 years ago

    Great work yet again Johan, you achieved your goal, i thought this is an aerial shot!

  76. Johan Swanepoel 8 years ago

    Excellent processing and subject Johan – love everything about it.

  77. Gerard Charnley 8 years ago

    And I did come back later!

  78. Yasmin Simpson 8 years ago

    absolutely gorgeous and exactly looks like we are flying, thanks for the ride only is a little cold ☃ for me… :-)))).
    Definitely a master piece and thank you for the description, too. Tomorrow I will love to visit your blog. Have a great weekend!.

    • Author

      dress up right and you will be fine 🙂 Thanks for the compliment!

  79. Tilman Tausb 8 years ago


  80. Margaret S. 8 years ago


  81. Author

    Bill, Franka, Lisa, Agustin, Johan, Tilman, Margaret and Nicholas: thanks very much for the kind words!

  82. Superb shot Johan!! Compositionally and from all the other points of view. The vaste range of tones makes this landscape so powerful and charming! Great work indeed!! 🙂

    • Author

      thank you very much! Very nice words 🙂 Berlin sounds tempting btw!

      • Yes Johan, Berlin will be great. I can tell you that!! I hope you’ll be there as well, I’d love to meet you and it’s not too far away from where you live either 🙂

        • Author

          would love to meet you and the others as well. My only doubt is that I am not really a city shooter …

          • I don’t think there is such a thing as city shooter Johan! You’re a great photographer and that’s all that counts! Come and I’m sure you’ll like it! 🙂

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 8 years ago

            You are probably right Julia Anna 🙂

  83. Dylan van Graan 8 years ago

    I love mountains and this is one of the best images of a range I’ve ever seen. Amazing detail and mood. Thanks for sharing Johan

  84. Just spectacular Johan. I am breathless just thinking about the hike but also the image – it is wonderful.

  85. Giannis Gogos 8 years ago

    Stunning!!Wonderful scene,excellent b&w treatment,well done Johan

  86. Author

    Thank you both Andrew and Giannis !!!

  87. Athena Carey 8 years ago

    Beautiful high altitude shot Johan! 🙂 I love the soft glow over the top ridge.

    • Author

      Thanks Athena! You should try out your new snow shoes there with the family. They’ll love it!

      • Athena Carey 8 years ago

        I am sure I would love it Johan! Although yesterday I ended up completely lost in the fog on the side of the mountain! Visibility was down to about 2 meters. It was a bit scary for awhile. 😉

        • Author

          Thank god for trail markers and gps Athena 🙂

          • Athena Carey 8 years ago

            Actually Johan, it was more thank goodness I can understand Swiss German so I could talk to the guy in the hut I finally found. haha I was actually really close to a piste and a T-bar lift, but could not even see it! The fog was crazy…

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 8 years ago

            Hope the foggy images resulting from that adventure are worth it

          • Athena Carey 8 years ago

            The lunch and beer in the berg restaurant was worth it. It was way too foggy for images – no subjects could be seen through it. lol

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 8 years ago

            you could have done a shot of a lonely beer in the fog …. and one big beer and one small one in the fog … and one full one and one empty one …. and a dark one and a blond one … and 6 of them fading away in the mist …. would have been a cool minimalistic series!!! 😀

          • Athena Carey 8 years ago

            I totally agree with you Johan, but I had to get unlost before I could get a beer and by then it had cleared. I think maybe that is the only reason I got unlost – I could finally see the t-bar lift. Unfortunately I had to walk up the piste by it to get to that restaurant. Exhausting! All part of the adventure though.

  88. Hope OHara 8 years ago

    speechless.. breathtaking indeed

  89. Neil Camara 8 years ago


  90. So amazing capture !!!

  91. That’s perfect capture! Johan

  92. Andy Korolis 8 years ago

    Wonderful alpine landscape Johan … it does feel like an aerial !!

  93. Author

    Hope, Neil, Michał, Dawid and Andy: thanks for the kind words! It’s appreciated 🙂

  94. Benjamin Chase 8 years ago

    Sir – that is awesome work!

  95. Gail Beerman 8 years ago

    Beautiful image Johan. Congratulations on having it selected by Photo Extract!

  96. Philip Johnson 8 years ago

    congrats on Top Photo Feature 16th february

  97. Lisa RedWillow 8 years ago

    Congrats!!. This is one outstanding Image.

  98. Kenny Mullen 8 years ago


  99. Paul van Loo 8 years ago


  100. Author

    Thank you Benjamin and Kenny!
    Paul: dank je wel 🙂
    Gail, Lisa and Philip: thank you! Just notice myself 😀

  101. Peter Vooijs 8 years ago

    love the view real beautiful place you live .

  102. This is incredible! So dramatic. Really excellent.

  103. Jay larson 8 years ago

    Shit! —Sorry, but damn this is so great!

  104. Robert Esseboom 8 years ago

    erg mooi gedaan

  105. Author

    Thanks for the kind words Jay and Sinead !!!
    Peter en Robert: dank jullie wel!!!

  106. Diego Cattaneo 8 years ago

    amazing shot and place!

    • thanks! You need to check back in later as I will be posting an image of the bird that was carrying my camera 😉

  107. Diego Cattaneo 8 years ago

    I’ll stay tuned 🙂

  108. Congrats again, Johan! This image is truly magnificient and I’m happy Jarek chose it! Great!!!

  109. David Herreman 8 years ago


  110. John G Moore 8 years ago

    Love it Johan 😉

  111. Author

    Thanks David and John !!

  112. Javier Esvall 8 years ago

    Congrats!!. Johan excellent image, well deserved.

  113. shane holsclaw 8 years ago

    the textures and contrast are amazing! the trees look like rows of shark’s teeth! love the misty goodness! congratulations on the Photo Extract! Well deserved Johan!

  114. Alan Kirby 8 years ago

    Don’t know how I missed this one until now, but it is wonderful. The framing and BW conversion are excellent!

  115. Author

    thanks so much Alan and shane!

  116. Tim McAdam 8 years ago

    Gorgeous processing Johan !! Wow! Love the b&w treatment!

    • Author

      Thanks for the feedback and compliment Tim! Highly appreciated 🙂

  117. Andreas Levi 8 years ago


  118. Dominique Dubied 8 years ago

    what to say !! Everything has been said in the previous posts! It is a stunning picture. Moreover I know this region and you did a wonderful job!!

    • Author

      thank you very much for the compliment! Think you are about as close to this region as I am 🙂

      • Dominique Dubied 8 years ago

        That’s right Johan! In fact we are quite neighbours!

        • Author

          31.4 km according to my calculation 🙂

          • Dominique Dubied 8 years ago

            Wow that is accurate! We could eat a fondue one of these days 🙂

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 8 years ago

            We should Dominique. Looking forward to meet you. I will be sending out a photo walk announcement soon. Maybe you could join 🙂

          • Dominique Dubied 8 years ago

            Great Johan ! Brilliant idea, the photo walk. I have never participated to a photo walk.

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 8 years ago

            We did quite a few already at the end of last year and this year and the group of people is growing. It’s a nice mix of people and skill levels and quite fun Dominique. You’re in the invitation list already by the way!

          • Dominique Dubied 8 years ago

            Cool… Johan , I am interested!

  119. Hengki Koentjoro 8 years ago


  120. Caroline Lavoie 8 years ago

    W.O.W. 🙂

  121. Author

    Hengki and Caroline: thank you for your kind words and the visit!!

  122. E.E. Giorgi 8 years ago

    this is stunning, congratulations!

  123. Milena Llieva 8 years ago

    Lovely…great detail on the mountain…

  124. Brilliant!

  125. Radek Vik 8 years ago

    Great shot and BW editing Johan. Yeah it doesn’t get much better than a BW mountain scenery. Especially this one.

    • Author

      Thanks Radek. Tanks for the compliment and stopping by. Hope all is well!

  126. jean-luc PJL 8 years ago


  127. Candace Bartlett 8 years ago

    This is absolutely stunning!

  128. Author

    Thank you Jean-Luc and Candace !!

  129. Jessy Eykendorp 8 years ago

    Amazing contrast and details! I love it!

  130. Markus Landsmann 8 years ago

    Johan the details are amazing.

  131. Laurent Coppée 8 years ago

    Again it needs to be seen large to appreciate all the details! Brilliant contrasts! I love those clouds stuck in the valley and you did a great job getting us to fly into the scenery!

  132. Author

    Thanks for the compliments Laurent, Jessy and Markus!

  133. Wonderful image

  134. Myrna Weinreich 8 years ago

    Beautiful scene Johan. Couldn’t have said it better than Laurent ;-D

  135. Alan Kirby 8 years ago

    This one has lots of depth! With the contrast as well, it is superb.

  136. Kurt Harvey 8 years ago

    Absolutely gorgeous capture and congrats on the PE inclusion!

  137. Melissa Kester 8 years ago

    This is really amazing – really almsot looks like a model given the 3dness – it is not flat like many landscape shots.

  138. Wow! That really rocks the mountains +Johan Peijnenburg :-D

    • Author

      Thanks Sophie! You should consider visiting that area when you are in CH :-)

      • Yeah, I really have to do that! 🙂
        These are amazing mountains in that area!

        • Author

          The Mont Blanc massif is a lot less rugged when viewed from French side, that’s why I love this region Sophie !

  139. Maurizio Pontini 8 years ago

    Senza Fiato!

  140. Wes Lum 8 years ago

    Wow! This is amazing Johan. You can really get a sense of just how magnificent the peaks are — especially with how small the trees and clouds look. Excellent!

  141. Author

    Thanks you Maurizio !!
    @Wes: they are even more impressive in real life. Did my best to get it across 🙂 Thank you!

  142. Robert Esseboom 8 years ago

    Perfect job my friend

  143. Daniel Peckham 8 years ago

    You have really excellent work Johan. This makes me want to visit Switzerland again.

  144. Author

    Dank je wel Robert !!!
    Daniel: thanks for the compliment 🙂

  145. Harry Kikstra 8 years ago

    Great framing and stunning landscape Johan!

  146. Rohan Reilly 8 years ago

    Wow, it really is stunning, superb details and the the scale from the trees, whoa

    • Author

      One of the best views I ran into this winter Rohan! Thanks for checking it out!

  147. Simply… beautiful. I like this one very much.

  148. Dalibor Pačić 7 years ago

    great photos Johan 

  149. Eva Gschmack 7 years ago

    Überwältigende Aufnahme!

  150. Author

    Thank you very much Dalibor and nice to meet you!
    @Eva: danke 🙂 

    • Dalibor Pačić 7 years ago

      You are very welcome Johan
      I must repeat once again awesome photos! 🙂
      Hope to visit your country, maybe even this summer, but we will see.

  151. wonderful work…..<

  152. Yasmin Simpson 7 years ago

    For sure this is a magnificent shot, Johan!

  153. Patrick Perrier 7 years ago

    I like the graphism of that one…

  154. omgosh I can’t stop looking … this is the most fantastic gallery of images I have ever seen

  155. Author

    @Patrick: merci Patrick!
    @Sweedon: I am really enjoying your comments Sweedon!! comments like these make posting fun! Thanks for that 🙂

  156. Dylan van Graan 6 years ago

    A belter as always Johan :)

  157. Stephen Cairns 6 years ago

    That’s just a great BW image. Luminence, detail, contrasts, power, majesty…its all there.


  1. […] ] A few weeks ago I posted an image with an aerial view of the Mont Blanc massif (see this post: Come fly with me), which I shot at the end of January. I went back to the same area at the end of February to […]

  2. […] view” and gives the viewer the feeling of flying into a scene. I published and image called Come fly with me a while ago which had that perspective. The image above is another good example. For the image […]

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