Rainy day waterfall photography: Dancing in the Dark

What can a landscape photographer do on a day with dreadful rainy weather? Indeed, hide out in a cave and do some waterfall photography!

This B&W fine art photograph is an excellent example of what can come from at least trying on days like that.

I captured this photograph close to where I live in the Swiss Canton of Fribourg. The waterfall is hidden in a small cave with big granite rocks along a hiking trail, and a small mountain creek runs through it. I decided to photograph it using a long exposure of 2 minutes. As a result, the waterfall appears very silky and smooth. The black & white processing adds a bit of a dark and moody feel to it.

Personally, I really like how the water of the mountain creek seems to be dancing in between the rocks. Hence the title “Dancing in the Dark”. I opted for a square crop to keep the focus on the waterfall instead of the rocks. Hope you like the result!?

The photograph was captured using a Nikon D3x and a 24-70 Nikkor lens. The settings were: 60mm – ƒ/11 – 122s – ISO160. I used a 10-stop Lee ND filter, which unfortunately fell to pieces when I dropped it on some rocks a few minutes later. Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 was used to process the photograph. Nik’s Silver Efex Pro is my favourite piece of software for creating fine art black and white photographs.

Click on the photograph to see a larger version, or wish to buy a print or a licence.

Cheers, Johan 🙂

Dancing in the Dark, a silky waterfall in black & white

A silky smooth waterfall in a dark cave, with water from a mountain creek dancing around the granite rocks, in black & white.

294 thoughts on “Rainy day waterfall photography: Dancing in the Dark

  1. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @maria: thank you 🙂
    @Anna : thanks again Anna!
    @Don : hah, I wish everything would turn into art in 122 seconds 😉 Thanks Don!
    @Renay : Thanks again Renay!

  2. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    hanks again Kurt ! 🙂
    @Milena : thank you and thanks for catching up 🙂
    @Anette : glad you do Anette! 🙂
    @rohan : thanks Rohan 🙂

  3. Grzegorz Piechowicz says:

    Johan, I think your choice of square format was great decision! For me it works very well in this kind of abstract photography, this is an higher level of photography that I would like to jump in the future 🙂 Excellent shot, fantastic processing, pure art my friend! An I guess you had a time to enjoy sandwiches ;-)

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      Thanks for the compliment Grzegorz! Not sure if it is high level, but I do like how it came out 🙂 Go try it. Try to see the small landscape in the bigger landscape but compose in the same manner 🙂
      I always have/make time for sandwiches :)

      • Grzegorz Piechowicz says:

        Did you submitted any of your work for IPA competition at all? I think you have lots of chances to win there. And thank you, I will try to focus to smaller landscapes as well 🙂 

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          I actually have never entered an image in a competition Grzegorz. At the moment I focus on growing my portfolio and getting better. In addition, I Guess somehow I haven’t felt comfortable enough to enter something so far … nice compliment though :)

          • Grzegorz Piechowicz says:

            I think you have enough rich portfolio to start enter in a competitions, world class off course. It was a good lesson to see which works won and maybe next year I will submit a few of my works to IPA as well. B&W definitely, and you have plenty of great photos… we can’t always win but even to be shortlisted is a success, heh?

  4. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Daniel: Glad you like it Daniel 🙂
    @Christa: thanks for the kind words Christa 🙂
    @Michael: thanks for the compliment Mike 🙂 Nice to see you around. How are things? 

  5. Christa Niederer says:

    Very nice Johan and I love your title to describe it. The light on the rocks framing the waterfall is particularly beautiful.

  6. Daniel Diggelmann says:

    This is a suitable title for this beautiful waterfall. I like the light reflection off the the rock on the lefthand side Johan .

  7. Nicolas Quentin says:

    Great picture. However I’m not sure to love the smooth appearance of the water. On my mind, the contrast between natural (and real) aspect of rocks and the unreal water is too important.

  8. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Jerry: thank you Jerry 🙂 Hope all is well with you !?
    @Markus: thanks Markus! Hope you had a nice Birthday!
    @Marilou: glad you like it Marilou and thanks for the visit 🙂

  9. George Marquardt says:

    A splendid capture Johan! Rainy days do make some great photo-opps. Those darn Lee filters seem to be too fragile for me to use :-)

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      nah, you just gotta be careful and I like glass filters for some reason 🙂 Thanks for the compliment 🙂 Hope all is well in Canada !?

      • George Marquardt says:

        All is well, except for one sick horse who sadly didn’t make it through his troubles. Other than that we are entering into peak fall foliage displays here.

  10. Paul Turkowski says:

    I very like what you have done on a dreadful weather day Johan! So mystical mood. And sad to hear about your nd filter :(

  11. Sweedon Hedeberg says:

    Stunning composition, I like how we must look between the rocks to see the gorgeous effect on the water. Outstanding photography!

  12. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Armand: looks like it 🙂 Tnx! Alles goed?
    @Michael: thanks for the compliment Michael. All well?
    @christian: tnx Christian! 🙂

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      I like intimate once in a while John. Especially when it involves curves like this 🙂 Thanks for the great compliment! 

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      This one was hiding from me for a while. Forgot to publish it. Thanks Nikola! Alles goed verder. We zien elkaar in november trouwens 🙂 

      • Nikola Nikolski says:

        Ja het gaat goed hier. Ik krijg het wat drukker met mijn werk aankomende periode. Ergens eerste week van de November moet het wel gereed zijn dus we kunnen vanaf dan iets inplannen. 

  13. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    Many thanks for the compliment Sandra! 🙂 Did I read somewhere that you did well in the IPA’s?
    @Steve: many thanks Steve! 🙂 

  14. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Frank: hey reiziger 🙂 Mooi compliment Frank. Dank je wel! Werk ze! 🙂
    @Stephen: they aren’t easy Stephen. I fully agree. Thanks for the feedback and compliment! I learned to put things away first as well now. Haven’t had to use the spare filters I purchased after this incident 🙂 

  15. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Jamal Alias: yup 🙂 Thank you Jamal!
    @Mark: being a caveman sometimes pays off Mark. Hope all is well with you!? Thanks for the compliment! 🙂
    @Aamir: thank you!

  16. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @E.E. Giorgi: i thought so as well Elena 🙂 Thank you!
    @Leyla: many thanks Leyla! 🙂
    @Rodolfo L thanks Rodolfo 🙂 

  17. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Shelly: thank you Shelly! 🙂
    @Joan: lol Joan! Dank je wel! 🙂
    @Alycia: glad to be back Alycia. Thanks for the kind words and visit 🙂 

  18. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Louis: glad you like it Louis ! 🙂
    @Dominique: trying to do my best 😉 Thanks for the compliment!
    @Dalibor: thank you Dalibor! 🙂

  19. Stephen Cairns says:

    I’ve tried river rock flow images before and they are deceptively difficult to compose and process effectively. How tight, what angle, how long, how dark…there are a lot of variables. I think this works well. I like that we can see the flow on the top right and that we also see it hitting the water.

    Likely a very tight place to compose and easy to imagine a camera swinging around and hitting some rocks. The camera damaged that mine suffered has resulted in me looking for angles and compositions first, setting up the tripod securely second, before finally getting the camera out. Then put things away before moving onto the next composition. It cost $400 in camera body repairs to learn that lesson.

  20. Frank van Es says:

    In the train on my way to work I stumble upon your photo and really Johan everybody in the train is wondering now what the look on my face is meaning and where it came from. Compliments from a bit jealous guy from the Netherlands on his way to work. Have a great day

  21. Mark Esguerra says:

    Wow, this is another stunner from you Johan! I’m glad the weather forced you into the cave. He he. And the square crop works perfectly here!

  22. Roland says:

    Dancing, Johan? To me, this water is in love with the stone and it caresses the surface of it very sensibly. Very nice shot!

    All the best,

  23. Dominique Hilbert says:

    You did it again, after a long period of nothingness you manage to let us all forget about that with another marvelous piece of art.

  24. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Jim: hah, just what I wanted to hear. It was intended to be very intense 🙂 Glad you like it Jim! 🙂
    @Jutta: danke vielmals Jutta 🙂
    @Cazimir : Thank you! 🙂

  25. Dylan van Graan says:

    Like it indeed Johan, love the way how the lighter tone of the water and the path it follows holds one’s attention. It seems like caves + bad weather = great images ;)

  26. Kamal Deep Singh says:

    So inspirational sir….i will be joining few workshops and get some formal education….i want to explore art photography.. thank you so much for expanding our horizons….

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      you are very welcome and thanks Kamal. Yes, doing workshops can help a lot. Reading a few books and shooting with others in general will help as well 🙂 

  27. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Dave: Nice to meet you Dave and thanks for the compliment! 🙂
    @Victor: glad you appreciate my curves Victor 😉 

  28. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Henrik: thanks for the compliment Henrik! 🙂
    @Hope: and thank you for visiting again and for the compliment Hope 🙂 And it is not you. I have been a “bad boy” the past few months. Haven’t been around much. Needed to put my energy elsewhere :)

  29. Hope OHara says:

    Knew I had to come in and visit with you today.. so happy I did..and as usual you brought peace into my day.. softest of all hugs dear friend..whom I don’t see that often.. my bad.. “smile”

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      yes it did! I actually hit a rock with it while moving to the next location. The filter and holder were broken. Lens survived. Still a bummer though … 

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