Dancing in the dark

A long exposure of water dancing in between dark rocks

Dancing in the dark
September 16, 2013 Johan Peijnenburg
In Photography
Fine art black & white image of a waterfall surrounded by rocks in the dark (by Johan Peijnenburg)
60mm – f/11 – 2 minutes – ISO160 – D3x with 24-70mm f/2.8

What does a landscape photographer do on a day with dreadful landscape weather? Hide out in a cave indeed! That’s where I ran into this waterfall surrounded by big rocks. I liked how the water appeared to be dancing in between them. I decided to use a 2-minute exposure to give the waterfall a smooth appearance and to process it in black and white to create a bit of a dark and moody feel. I opted for a square crop to keep the focus on the waterfall instead of the rocks. Hope you like this fine art black & white approach!

Captured this image in 2012 with my Nikon D3x and used a 10-stop Lee ND filter (which I broke a few minutes after) to achieve an exposure time of 2 minutes. Adobe’s Lightroom 5 and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 were used to process the image. Nik’s Silver Efex Pro is my favourite piece of software for creating fine art black & white images.

Comments (294)

  1. Meg Rousher 6 years ago

    Wonderful capture & thanks for the description on how it was done (if I only had a waterfall) :)

  2. Michael Salmela 6 years ago

    Beautiful, Johan, love the contrast here! 

  3. Sumit Sen 6 years ago

    Wonderful image!

  4. Thomas Schaller 6 years ago

    Pas de deux !

  5. Author

    Thanks Sumit ! 🙂
    @Thomas: vraiment! Danke dir 🙂 

  6. Annelies Kroen 6 years ago

    Wonderful atmosphere created Johan ! Works well for me!

  7. Shawn McClure 6 years ago

    Beautiful, dramatic image, Johan…

  8. Oh yes! this is gorgeous!

  9. Sandra Parlow 6 years ago

    This is just lovely, Johan!! ;)

    • Author

      thanks Sandra. Curious to see how many will appreciate this 🙂

      • Sandra Parlow 6 years ago

        I don’t think you have to worry – all of your photos are gold! ;)

        • Author

          you think so? That is very nice to hear 😀 With images like these I always wonder. It’s not a splash of color ;)

          • Sandra Parlow 6 years ago

            Awww -you know I’m a big fan of your work.

            I like this in B&W … it’s just dreamy and it draws you in with it’s quiet simplicity. ;)

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 6 years ago

            Figured Sandra 🙂 Thanks again for the kind words! I’ll check in with you later …. I have been away way too long again!

  10. Sandra Salsedo 6 years ago

    Gorgeous image!!! :)

  11. powerful !

  12. Fabrizio Vignali 6 years ago

    Nice Johan

  13. Betty Manousos 6 years ago

    Fantastic shot!:)
    where is this place?

    • Author

      thank you Betty. This is in Switzerland … actually quite near to my house 🙂 

      • Betty Manousos 6 years ago

        Looks like a beautiful place- i’d love to see it for real. but your photo does suffice 😉 

        • Author

          it is in a dark cave like area in the midst of a forest. Thought the dark mood would fit well 🙂 

        • Author

          By the way Betty: on all of my images I include the gps coordinates to if you click on the image and look at the left you will see the exact location on a map :)

  14. David Orr 6 years ago

    Superb photo buddy !! I know I appreciate this one ! Have a great week my friend !

    • Author

      Thank you buddy !! How have you been?

      • David Orr 6 years ago

        Doin good my friend, forgot to say sorry for the breakage of the big stopper !

        • Author

          thanks! Didn’t have a spare back then … I have two spares now and now I don’t seem to break them anymore 😀 

  15. Richard Kralicek 6 years ago

    Great shot, but I can imagine, that breaking a filter helped keeping safe the more expensive lens ^^

    • Author

      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 … 

  16. Sean McLean 6 years ago

    Johan this is terrific! I also enjoyed visiting the rest of your blog. Looking forward to exploring with you further :)

  17. Günter Schurr 6 years ago

    Wonderful moment Johan! Great long exposure image!

    • Author

      Thanks 🙂 Will I see you on the 2nd of November? 

      • Günter Schurr 6 years ago

        …I’ll try to come to the Walk.
        At the moment I’ve to look for a new flat, because the owner decided to demolish the house where I live.

        • Author

          That’s bad news Günter! Hope you still have some time before you have to move out ?

          • Günter Schurr 6 years ago

            You’re welcome! Hope to see you in November. I was in August at Jungfrau:) 

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 6 years ago

            likewise. It has been a while for me since I was there. Glad to be returning 🙂 

  18. Kaatje Jansen 6 years ago


  19. Lin Thao 6 years ago

    Nice pic

  20. Author

    Dank je wel Kaatje! Alles goed? Hoe is het weer in NL?
    @Lin: thanks Lin!

    • Kaatje Jansen 6 years ago

      de maartse buien zijn hier begonnen!!??? 😉
      Alles prima verder.
      Met jou ook? Fijne dag.

      • Author

        heb ik ook last van. Beetje nazomer zou ik echt beter vinden 🙂 Ook hier alles goed. Fijne dag ook 🙂 

  21. Subra Govinda 6 years ago

    Sunning monochrome work ! 

  22. ~❤❤❤~ 😀

  23. Great work here Johan. When the weather is bad, creativity rules 😉 Like the carbon look here and light focus,,

  24. Hope OHara 6 years ago

    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”

  25. Dave Boiskill 6 years ago

    Just love this image and the B&W processing was a great choice!

  26. Fantastic shapes Johan 

  27. Rosie Nixon 6 years ago

    Great work Johan 

  28. Author

    @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. Author

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

  30. Jahangir Khan 6 years ago

    Very true, it is like dancing in dark,

  31. Author

    @Rosie: thank you Rosie 🙂
    @Khan: thank you :)

  32. Andreas Levi 6 years ago

    What a wonderful work, Johan!! Fantastic!! :))
    Have a great evening!

    • Author

      Thank you very much for the compliment and for sharing Andreas! Much appreciated 🙂 

  33. Melody Peters 6 years ago


  34. Kamal Deep Singh 6 years ago

    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….

    • Author

      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 🙂 

  35. Johan Swanepoel 6 years ago

    This is lovely Johan – beautiful tones and crop goes well with the lines. The weather helped you :)

    • Author

      Trying to make the most of it Johan 🙂 Thanks for the compliment!

  36. Claudia T 6 years ago

    a wonderful ‘dance’

  37. Tatiana Parmeeva 6 years ago

    Very very nice Johan!!

  38. Dylan van Graan 6 years ago

    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 ;)

  39. Gemma Costa 6 years ago

    Wow Johan , this is great,

  40. Jim Lundgren 6 years ago

    O…M…G!!!! Seriously???? Johan , I am just drooling over this image. So unbelievably intense!! Amazing job!

  41. Jutta Sötje 6 years ago

    Das ist so schön geworden, als würde dort “Milch” fliessen, lieber Johan 

  42. Cazimir Cip 6 years ago

    +++ !

  43. Ian Good 6 years ago

    I do like what you did with this Johan – the square crop looks perfect and I’m all for dark and moody! :)

  44. Author

    @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! 🙂

  45. Annie Petrick 6 years ago

    Marvellous light, processing and all… just love it.

  46. Louis Lavoie 6 years ago

    Sorry for your filter Johan, but wonderful work. Intense yet serene. 

  47. 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.

  48. Dalibor Pačić 6 years ago

    Wonderful capture Johan, my friend

  49. Shelly Gunderson 6 years ago

    Just beautiful!

  50. Joan Munford 6 years ago

    A sublime capture my friend. I am proud that you are Dutch and I am not very chauvinistic
    by nature : ))

  51. Roland 6 years ago

    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,

    • Author

      Nice to see the image tells more than one story Roland 🙂 Thanks!

  52. Alycia Miller 6 years ago

    Beautiful waterfalls shot dear Johan. I’m glad to see you post again.

  53. E.E. Giorgi 6 years ago

    Wow, so elegant !

  54. Cheers Johan… Outstanding image… great tones and processing… Love this image in b/w….

  55. Rodolfo Seide 6 years ago

    Great shot!

  56. Jamal Alias 6 years ago

    Coming out of darkness. A beautiful piece Johan

  57. Mark Esguerra 6 years ago

    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!

  58. Aamir Shahzad 6 years ago

    Wonderful image and edit

  59. Wonderful image. Really like the B&W. Best Regards.

  60. Frank van Es 6 years ago

    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

  61. Stephen Cairns 6 years ago

    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.

  62. Author

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

  63. Author

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

  64. Author

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

  65. Author

    @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!

  66. Author

    @Meg: hey Meg 🙂 thank you!
    @Michael Salmela: thanks Michael! 🙂
    @Michael Reynolds: glad you do Michael. Thanks!

  67. Author

    @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 🙂 

  68. Beautiful Johan !! love the contrast and drama in the image :)

    • Author

      Many thanks David. An intimate landscape for you this time 🙂 

  69. Tisha Craw 6 years ago

    This is fantastic, Johan!

  70. Sandra Canning 6 years ago

    Worth the wait. Loving the deep, rich dark tones!

  71. Steve Hambley 6 years ago

    Wonderful Johan!

  72. Author

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

  73. Abhay Pendharkar 6 years ago

    Wow superb Johan Peijnenburg 

  74. Remo Primatesta 6 years ago

    Sehr schön

  75. Love it

  76. Author

    Danke dir Remo ! 🙂
    @Jorunn: thank you Jorunn! 🙂 

  77. Anna Ryndak 6 years ago

    Fantastic image! Great Bruce Springsteen song too!

  78. Nikola Nikolski 6 years ago

    Wonderful work again Johan you have found the perfect spot here

    • Author

      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 6 years ago

        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. 

  79. Tom Tran 6 years ago

    Beautiful contrast and details Johan. Love your work as usual. :)

  80. Dominique Dubied 6 years ago

    Very nice work Johan, is it the one you have shown me on your smartphone?

  81. Super Johan, great detail in it like it very much.

  82. Johnny Minor 6 years ago

    Love it Johan 

  83. Javier Esval 6 years ago


  84. Author

    @Johnny: glad you do Johnny. Less colourful then your shots I am afraid 😉
    @Javier: Gracias Javier :)

  85. John Dunne 6 years ago

    Absolutely stunning Johan. The sheer simplicity of it is its power. Wonderful

    • Author

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

  86. Gorgeous, Johan!!

  87. Anna Rimovska 6 years ago

    I like very beautiful Johan 

  88. Piet Filmalter 6 years ago


  89. Roxanne Rice 6 years ago

    Amazing photo. Beautiful. :)

  90. Author

    @Anna: thank you very much Anna 🙂
    @Piet: thanks a bunch Piet ! 🙂
    @Roxanne: glad you like it Roxanne 🙂 

  91. Eric Delcour 6 years ago

    Fantastic monochrome capture. Great exposure time !

  92. Amazing work!

  93. Marc Briggs 6 years ago


  94. Oh yes he does, much like you do in your imagery :)

  95. Barbara BM 6 years ago

    Wonderful image!!!

  96. Author

    @Sairam: so you figured me out ejh 😉
    @Barbara: thank you Barbara!! 🙂 

  97. Such a suppppper capture! Love this :))

  98. Chris Day 6 years ago

    Very nicely done Johan and well toned.

  99. Mady Sach 6 years ago

    Amazing shot

  100. Armand Dijcks 6 years ago

    Pretty cool Johan, I see you’ve come over to the dark side :-)

  101. Gorgeous stuff Johan and what a perfect and beautiful hiding place you found :-).

  102. Very nice dark mood here

  103. Author

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

  104. How awesome that you found this is a cave! I love the rich contrast and wonderful soft water!!

  105. Sweedon Hedeberg 6 years ago

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

  106. Enrique Palaez 6 years ago

    Amazing image Johan ! 

  107. Robby Bowles 6 years ago

    Just beautiful Johan!

  108. Didier Demaret 6 years ago

    Very nice!

  109. Jeff Austin 6 years ago

    It is always very rewarding when you come away with something spectacular despite poor weather.

  110. Athena Carey 6 years ago

    Very dramatic Johan! Nathan is next to me and said, “that’s cool!”. ;)

  111. Paul Turkowski 6 years ago

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

    • Author

      guess it was worth losing a filter over Paul. Thanks and nice to see you around again 🙂

  112. David Shield 6 years ago

    Impressive detail and processing!

  113. Nurcan Azaz 6 years ago

    Lovely capture!

  114. George Marquardt 6 years ago

    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 :-)

    • Author

      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 6 years ago

        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.

        • Author

          Sorry to hear that George ! Always sad to lose something you love 🙁
          I am hoping for peak fall foliage as of next week. Will be shooting in a specific region here for3 to 4 weeks in a row :)

          • George Marquardt 6 years ago

            Looking forward to seeing your scenery!

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 6 years ago

            Yes, me too. It will be a special project in solitude George :)

  115. Noufa Ethaniel 6 years ago

    Love it!

  116. Thorsten von Eyb 6 years ago

    Superbe! :)

  117. Gerard Charnley 6 years ago

    Excellent work Johan :)

  118. Enzo Ros 6 years ago

    Great shot Johan 

  119. Beautiful contrast!

  120. Karin Bronner 6 years ago

    You Seized the Day! And nicely processed :):)

  121. Yasmin Simpson 6 years ago

    Wherever I go and wherever I see it, my eyes dance with this beautiful image, buddy Johan :)

  122. Yara de Haas 6 years ago


  123. Well, this is a bit different, and I like it. It featured a good amount of drama, and the square adds as well. :-)

  124. Cazimir Cip 6 years ago


  125. Author

    @Yara: Thank you !
    @Wilfried: you gotta try something different sometimes 🙂 Glad you like it !
    @cazimir: ok 🙂 

  126. Charles Lupica 6 years ago

    Johan, stunning image and processing. 

  127. Jerry Johnson 6 years ago

    Magical indeed and I love the way you wove these beautiful streams together Johan!!

  128. Markus Landsmann 6 years ago

    A stunning bw work Johan . The light is so good at the right points here. I wish you a good day.

  129. Marilou Aballe 6 years ago

    Fantastic details, textures and contrast Johan !

  130. Author

    @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 🙂

  131. Margaret Wong 6 years ago

    Fabulous b&w :)

  132. Nicolas Quentin 6 years ago

    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.

    • Author

      Thanks for your feedback Nicolas. I guess that it’s a matter of differing taste 🙂

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

  134. Christa Niederer 6 years ago

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

  135. Michael Diblicek 6 years ago

    A beauty Johan, love that wonderful soft light on the rocks and that smooth water.

  136. Author

    @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? 

  137. Manuela Azevedo 6 years ago


  138. love love love 😀

  139. Author

    Thanks Manuela and Annette! 🙂

  140. Love it!!

  141. Yasmin Simpson 6 years ago

    Just a killer 😀

  142. Author

    Thanks Yvette and Yasmin! 🙂

  143. Mikko Tyllinen 6 years ago


  144. Breath taking image

  145. Author

    Thank you as well Mikko and Leyla! 🙂

  146. Prachtig Johan

  147. Matej Michalik 6 years ago

    Very nice picture, I love the contrast Johan!


  148. 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 ;-)

    • Author

      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 :)

      • 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 🙂 

        • Author

          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 6 years ago

            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?

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 6 years ago

            t is definitely on my list for next year Grzegorz 🙂 Who knows!

  149. Very beautiful! :)

  150. Wow.. This is great. I really like to have that filter. 

  151. CJ Cox 6 years ago

    Wow, what a shot and the square crop works as you figured, love the dramatic mood and energy!

  152. Author

    @Jeffrey: get one. You won’t regret it 🙂 Thanks!
    @CJ Cox: thanks for the compliment CJ! 🙂

  153. amit jung kc 6 years ago

    inspiring shot

    i have one shot like this on my cover page of my website
    http://www.lensmanimageart.com 🙂

  154. Kurt Harvey 6 years ago

    Like a hidden beauty revealed. Very beautiful image Johan .

  155. Milena Llieva 6 years ago

    Absolutely wonderful!

  156. Love this one Johan, wonderful done 🙂

  157. Rohan Reilly 6 years ago

    A beautiful title for a very beautiful image

  158. Author

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

  159. Imagem Divina….

  160. Anna Rimovska 6 years ago

    Beautiful work!

  161. Don Spenner 6 years ago

    Great art, Johan, of course after 122S it should look this good (-:. Very fine work.

  162. Renay Gallup 6 years ago


  163. Author

    @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!

  164. Thomas Wilhelm 6 years ago

    Great shot and crop. Absolutely perfect.

  165. Jany Viala 6 years ago

    Beautiful shot!

  166. Victoria Etna 6 years ago

    Wow Johan ! this is sublime …really love it : ))

  167. Mikko Tyllinen 6 years ago

    Fantastic very beautiful!

  168. Author
    Johan Swanepoel 6 years ago

    Thank you very much Victoria and Mikko ! :)

  169. Jackie Fontanez 6 years ago


  170. Tania Sonnenfeld 6 years ago

    Stunning b/w, love the composition too :)

  171. Diana IM 6 years ago

    Beautiful would be an understatement. Great work

  172. Author

    Thank you very much Jackie, Tania and Diana ! :)

  173. Peter Scott 6 years ago


  174. E. Cindy 6 years ago

    Very beautiful!

  175. Author

    Thanks Peter and Cindy !

  176. Jackie Fontanez 6 years ago


  177. Fantastic

  178. Jim Davis 6 years ago

    Love the mood here Johan , very nice!

  179. Beautiful post

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