Going upstream

A moody aereal landscape image of brewing clouds above a mountain river near the Swiss Albula pass

Going upstream
May 5, 2014 Johan Peijnenburg
In Photography
A landscape image with dark clouds above a mountain river floating down from the Alps at the Albula Pass in Graubünden
48mm – f/14 – 1/20 – ISO125 – Nikon D800E with 24-70mm f/2.8

As you’ve probably figured out by now, I usually don’t process new images very quickly. To the contrary … I like to sit on them for at least half a year to let them “mature” a bit. For some reason, that makes it easier to make selections and to get into the right mood to put the necessary effort in. In addition, the good ones seem to jump right at you and tell you how they want to be dealt with in post-processing after they have had a good rest. Sounds familiar? 😉

Here is an image I shot in September last year, during a 4-week shooting trip to Engadin in the Swiss canton of Graubünden (Grisons). The image features a mountain river up on the Albula Pass. In the back you see a mountain called Piz Üertsch. I love how the river elegantly slaloms down from the mountain in the back. Shot this on a rather grim day. The light was quite nice though and created an interesting mood. I climbed up a cliff to get this specific angle. Wanted to add some extra depth and give the viewer the feeling of flying into the scene. Hope you like how it came out!?

I captured the image with my 24-70mm f/2.8 lens on a D800E. A 2-stop graduated filter was used. The image was processed with Adobe’s Lightroom 5.4.

Comments (261)

  1. Michael A Koontz 2022 years ago

    Beautiful work Johan and i so fully agree with you. Creative stuff needs inspiration to be at it´s best. And inspiration comes when it comes, sometimes you know it right away once the image is laying in the “darkroom”. Other times, just like writing, it needs to just be, taking it´s own time :).

  2. Andreas Levi 6 years ago

    A wonderful view and excellent details, Johan!! Have a great week! :)

  3. Daniel Ewert 6 years ago

    Wonderful landscape image, Johan. This is beautiful. 

  4. Beautiful image. Letting images ripen is my approach too. A friend of mine coined the term “marinating them” for that. 🙂

    • Author

      Thank you very much Alexander! “Marinating” is a very appropriate term indeed 🙂

  5. Gemma Costa 6 years ago

    Wow Johan, so good!

    a great light indeed 

  6. Marek Rak 6 years ago

    Stunning composition, post processing and those amazing lights on the top of mountain! Wow!

    • Author

      Had to wait a while to get that light in that spot Marek 🙂 Thanks for the compliment! 

  7. Patrick Metzdorf 6 years ago

    Beautiful capture. Surely brings out the inner hiker in anyone.

    • Author

      Hey Patrick. Thanks! Actually preparing for a long weekend of hiking in the Alps right now 😀

      • Patrick Metzdorf 6 years ago

        I’m not the only one who will be envious. Too bad we will have to wait months for the pictures :/

        • Author

          Haha, maybe I will make an exception this time. Actually I still have last years images that I shot in the place I am visiting (Ticino), so I can trick things 😉

  8. Lammert Doddema 6 years ago

    Wauw stunning processing & picture Johan! ☆

  9. Mark Esguerra 6 years ago

    I love this Johan! Such amazing work as always! 

  10. I love this gorgeous valley and how the stream leads to the mountains!! Beautiful!

  11. Tim Haynes 6 years ago

    Yes, you’re right.
    I shoot one photo every day, processing and publishing it that day. The results are highly variable – normally it “comes together” but there can be frustrations.
    I’m now working on landscape stuff that I shot a good couple of months ago – er, maybe 3 months even! – and the great thing is, you can be more objective about the results and, as you say, a possible interpretation jumps out at you more.

    • Author

      Thanks Tim! Yes, that is definitely my experience as well. I guess it is a bit like good wine ;)

  12. Great view Johan 

  13. Kamal Deep Singh 6 years ago

    Powerful image……

  14. Elizabeth Lund 6 years ago

    Love the POV and the lines Johan, such a beautiful scene!

  15. Beautiful Johan ! :)

  16. Klara Moody 6 years ago

    Fantastic ..photo

  17. Amazing scenery and well captured Johan ;)

    • Author

      Thank you very much Henrik! Long time no see … hope all is well ?! 

      • Thanks! All is well! 😉 Had a bad winter due to photography, but manage to catch up in the spring :)

  18. Shelly Gunderson 6 years ago

    Beautiful view!

  19. Wonderful Johan 

    • Author

      Thanks Benoit! 🙂 How are the entries for the competition going? 

      • Very well so far, first year is always hard to spread the word but very pleased so far. ;-)

        • Author

          Good to hear Benoit! It sure looks serious with the judges you lined up 🙂 

          • Yes, we are very serious and our goal is to be “the” competition to win… It will get better every year…

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 6 years ago

            Nicely ambitious Benoit! I will see if I can find something worthy of entering Benoit 🙂 

          • Would love to see your work entered Johan. It should be pretty easy for you, everything you post is worthy of any competition…

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 6 years ago

            Thanks for the vote of confidence! I wish I would be so sure myself 🙂 The Stark competition would be my first one ! 

          • Go for it Johan, you have nothing to lose…. Only something to gain…

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 6 years ago

            Very true and I will Benoit 🙂 

  20. Richard Kralicek 6 years ago

    Sooo beautiful, a true leading line.

  21. Rodolfo Seide 6 years ago

    Wonderful shot!

  22. Günter Schurr 6 years ago

    Wow, that’s fantastic! I like this winding stream and the magic light. I have to visit this place Johan :)

  23. Author

    @Rodolfo: many thanks Rodolfo!
    @Günter: very close to where you are Günter 🙂 Thanks ! 

  24. Mikko Tyllinen 6 years ago

    Fantastic view! such a beautiful place!

  25. Bill Wood 6 years ago

    Exceptional detail, wonderful light and a very pleasing rhythm to this image, Johan. Certainly up to your standards!

  26. Nikola Nikolski 6 years ago

    Natuur daar is heel mooi! Heel mooi vastgelegd Johan!

  27. Stefan Bäurle 6 years ago

    Stellar light and leading line!

  28. Brilliant work Johan! Your photo has all the ingredients that are most important in landscape photography: nice colours, dramatic scenery, beautiful composition. Superb! Well done :-)) 

    • Author

      Many thanks for the great compliment Grzegorz! How are you? How was your shooting trip at Eastern? Still sorry I couldn’t make it over :)

      • Thank you Johan for asking, this is shame I had to travel alone, I hope we can make similar trip together one day. I have visited many places that I never seen before, many adventures, sometimes funny, sometimes even scary but it was great photo journey ;-)

        • Author

          I can imagine Grzegorz! Yes, we will do something together soon. Will figure something out :)

  29. Exquisite image Johan !
    Superb composition, love this curvy river…Wonderful play of lights you have captured!

  30. Fantastic landscape and incredible image… love it

  31. Neil McShane 6 years ago

    Wonderful composition and the grim day as you say is perfect light for the image.

  32. Author

    @Leyla: many thanks Leyla 🙂 Hope you are well !?
    @Annick: thank you Annick 🙂 One of the results of my long stay there. Glad you like it! 🙂 

  33. Outstanding work! fantastic composition!

  34. Gittan Beheydt 6 years ago

    Absolutely wonderful Johan, en een heel fijne week gewenst ! 

  35. Howard L. Smith 6 years ago

    Excellent capture great use of leading line, excellent composition!

  36. Daniel Hopkins 6 years ago

    So so good! I love this. :)

  37. Eric Delcour 6 years ago

    Wow, outstanding capture and wonderful landscape. I surely agree with the choice you made. But I am sure there are still a lot in your “basket” as great as this one ! :-)) Johan
    Have a terrific evening ! 

  38. Author

    @Daniel: thanks Daniel and nice to meet you 🙂
    @Eric: who knows Eric 😉 Thanks for the compliment and enjoy the evening as well ! 🙂 

  39. Gorgeous scene!

  40. Wojciech Toman 6 years ago

    Wonderful composition. I love how the river leads the eye through this image

  41. David Shield 6 years ago

    Yes, I like the deep valley perspective Johan. And, the waiting to process theory too!

  42. Great, Johan !
    I’d like to stand on the top of that distant peak and look down to the valley :)

  43. Author

    @David: glad you like it David 🙂 Yes, I am amazed that there are photographers that can actually process their work right away !
    @Елена: thanks! 🙂 I did … almost at least 😉 

  44. …and up, and up, and up!

  45. Marinus Wieten 6 years ago


    Wonderful images, the front image is absolutely stunning. Wonderful composition and colors. Great Photo Management, well done.

    Best regards,

    Marinus Wieten

  46. Dominique Dubied 6 years ago

    Very nice leading line Johan! I would have added a slight more space on the top of the mountain, but that’s just my personal feeling. It is great shot!

  47. Author

    @Robt. J. Moore II: and up 🙂
    @Dominique: thanks Dominique! Was debating how much space I needed at the top. Might give that a try as well. My initial feeling was that this was a bit stronger 🙂 

  48. Geweldig mooie foto!!

  49. I somehow always like your choice, well the ones you share here, this one no exception, it’s beautiful.

  50. Javier Esvall 6 years ago

    Stunning composition!

  51. Kenny da Lima 6 years ago

    “Going Upstream” its…..wonderful….
    beautiful….amazing light of landscape nice pict.. +Johan Peijnenburg greatings from kenny ,))

  52. Author

    @Dominique: many thanks! 🙂 Alles goed (beter) daar?
    @Javier: thanks Javier 🙂
    @kenny: dank je wel 🙂 

  53. Kamyl Dolny 6 years ago

    Perfect composition and light !!! 

  54. Britta Rogge 6 years ago

    Brilliant ! I Love everything here !! :)

  55. Fabrizio Vignali 6 years ago

    Nice mood Johan, i like it :)

  56. George Marquardt 6 years ago

    Terrific composition and mood on this one Johan! I like your thinking on letting a photo age a bit for all those older photos I forget about :-)

  57. Marla Mathis 6 years ago

    Beautiful, love this!

  58. Dermot Russell 6 years ago

    This is a remarkable composition, and it can’t have been easy to be patient enough to give this so much maturing time. Still, it’s worth it. There’s a very dynamic feel to the way the land seems to slope in various directions in the foreground. While this is great in it’s own right, the way the mountains in the background extends this feel (on a scale of mountains) adds a fantastic extra dimension to the shot. I could look at this for ages. Wonderful work.

  59. Michael Russell 6 years ago

    Wow what a great image and composition Johan!

  60. Pam Boling 6 years ago

    Oh wow, simply stunning!! Beautiful lines!

  61. Ingo Meckman 6 years ago

    Wow, this came out extraordinary beautiful – it really pulls you into the photograph! Definitely one of my favorites of yours, Johan!

  62. Enrique Palaez 6 years ago

    Woow this is fantastic Johan ! nice job my friend !

  63. Anna Ryndak 6 years ago

    WOW! Stunning view! Love it!

  64. E. Cindy 6 years ago

    I love how the stream leads to the mountains, added a lot of depth. beautiful composition and light on the mountains.

  65. Marc Briggs 6 years ago

    The stream is a nice leading line…and classic “S” curve. 

  66. RAMKUMAR RINWA 6 years ago

    Wonderful landscape with stunning composition.

  67. Beautiful image!

  68. Great view and nice work!

  69. Johan – a great landscape greatly captured. The patch of sun on the mountain flank adds the extra. :-)

  70. David Orr 6 years ago

    A beauty my friend !! Knew you waited but not that long, I’ve taken your advice as of late and have waited a few months and it does seem too work instead of the gotta process now mode. Have a great week my friend !! 

  71. Author

    @Britta: many thanks for the great compliment ! 😀
    @Fabrizio: hey thanks Fabrizio! 🙂 How are the dogs doing? Don’t give them too many cookies! Bad for their knees! 😉
    @George: many thanks George! I actually can’t do it any other way. Just doesn’t work 🙂
    @Marla: thank you!
    @Dermot: loved your comment Dermot! Thanks for the great feedback 🙂

  72. Author

    @Michael: many thanks for the wow Michael ! 🙂
    @Pam: thank you Pam! And you are very welcome 🙂
    @Ingo: glad you like it Ingo! Still on hols?

  73. Author

    @Enrique: thank you Enrique 🙂
    @Anna: many thanks Anna 🙂 Hope all is well !?
    @E Cindy: thanks so much 😀
    @Marc: thanks for the compliment and visit Marc! 🙂
    @Ramkumar: thank you!
    @Krzysztof: thank you very much and you are very welcome 😀

  74. Author

    @Constantin: many thanks and nice to meet you 🙂
    @Andreas: many thanks Andreas. Have a great week as well 🙂
    @Henrik: my winter was so so as well. Time indeed for some spring goodness 🙂
    @Wilfried: many thanks Wilfried 😀
    @David: works very well for me … it’s actually the only way for me 🙂 Thanks for the kind words and have a great week as well!

  75. Suzie Javed 6 years ago

    It is like a breath of fresh air to see this image, relaxing and beautiful place, beautiful composition from the master of this field, processing is just so perfect, from fore ground to the back ground same sharpness, lots to learn from this image, thanks, have a nice day!

  76. Dylan van Graan 6 years ago

    Nice one Johan, your explanation for leaving an image to simmer seems like rather an excuse for not getting your work done and so the rest of us can see them 😉

    That reminds me I have some work from January to work on :)))

  77. Mamo Delpero 6 years ago

    Masterful composition! What a shot Johan!

  78. Peter Bernard 6 years ago

    Beautifully saturated colours and incredible depth! We’ll be in Switzerland soon and see if we can find this gorgeous spot! Hartelijke groet, Peter

  79. John Dunne 6 years ago

    Beautiful painterly quality to this Johan. The winding stream leading you up to those majestic mountains, and then to find the kiss of light. Gorgeous!

  80. Great composition :)

  81. Rita Gijbels 6 years ago

    Wonderful shot and landscape view Johan 

  82. David White 6 years ago

    What a great scene. The vertical crop fits this photograph perfectly.
    The composition is fantastic with the stream leading the viewers eye into the scene.
    I could go on an on about what I like about this scene!
    Thank you so much for sharing this great shot

  83. Gaurav Mittal 6 years ago

    A gorgeous image Johan !

  84. Omgosh this is soooo beautiful Johan. It looks like something from a fairytale…absolutely stunning

  85. Thierry Bouriat 6 years ago

    Wonderful play of lights and composition Johan :-))
    It is well worth the wait !!

  86. Ian Good 6 years ago

    Beautiful image Johan. I like the depth a lot so the climb was worth the effort IMO. :)

  87. İlhan Canan 6 years ago

    Great scene..

  88. Tom Tran 6 years ago

    Definitely well worth the wait, Johan! I’m picturing you and the tripod straddling the stream for this shot. :D

    • Author

      Thanks Tom! I straddle quite often for my shots, but not in this case. The stream was quite a bit lower and although I have long legs, they don’t extend that much :o)

  89. Matt Adcock 6 years ago

    Johan, such a beautiful scene…

  90. E. E. Giorgi 6 years ago

    Awesome light, Johan!

  91. Ada M 6 years ago

    ♥ superb!

  92. Author

    @Ada M: many thanks Ada! 🙂
    @Michael: thanks for the compliment Michael 🙂 So true. Good creative stuff needs time. I do force myself once in a while though 🙂 

    • Michael A Koontz 6 years ago

      Ah yes, Johan me too 😛
      But usually i find that the truly inspired is by far the best one´s :P

      • Author

        ow yes. And you know, those are the one’s that sit on my disc the longest. They make me a bit nervous 🙂 Want to get them out just right, which is not always handy for a perfectionist ;)

        • Michael A Koontz 6 years ago

          Haha, so very true Johan 😛
          which is why i have allowed myself the freedom to redo or delete stuff i am not feeling ok with down the road :P. I figure, art is like life, it´s never done – not permanently at least, it always evolve and change – well, some things are of course just perfect as they are, but most things change with time :).

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 6 years ago

            I agree, revisiting is always a possibility and even a good thing to do as pp software is evolving. I plan to revisit a few as well in the coming months. And probably delete a lot of old things as well. The silly thing that happens to me now is that there is quite some stuff sitting on my disk that I like better than some of my published stuff. So for some reason I am more critical about new stuff :)

          • Michael A Koontz 6 years ago

            I am the same Johan, but i think that´s a healthy part of life :P. Whatever we do and enjoy doing, we should over time get a bit better at doing it. And as we do, we of course also raise our own bar for what is good enough.

            So, that´s a good trait man

            In my opinion :)

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 6 years ago

            The learning part is the most fun Michael. Glad I still have a long way to go 😀 

          • Michael A Koontz 6 years ago

            Oh yeah – a life time of learning and exploring :P

  93. Author

    @Matt: many thanks Matt 🙂
    @E.E. Giorgi: thank you Elena 🙂 Nice to see you drop by again !

  94. Richard Bates 6 years ago

    Gorgeous Shot!

  95. Christoph Protz 6 years ago

    Cool, looks almost like a painting…

  96. Markus Landsmann 6 years ago

    Very good Johan

  97. Matt Adcock 6 years ago

    I am planning my hike into this photo as we speak 🙂

    • Author

      Is that so Matt? Are you coming over?

      • Matt Adcock 6 years ago

        well, we speaking means my dreaming self and my rational self which is stuck in Mexico working at the moment… hopefully one day, I can make a visit to the Swiss Alps. #drool

  98. Beautiful Johan, and it does kinda feel like you’re flying into the valley 😀

  99. Hope O'Hara 6 years ago

    what dreams are made of

  100. Yasmin Simpson 6 years ago

    Sweet Johan, as always beautifulllllllll high quality images 🙂

  101. Don Spenner 6 years ago

    Great color, composition and beauty, Johan!

  102. Stunning image Johan :)) love the composition !

  103. Good News!!

  104. Jany Viala 6 years ago

    Wonderful photo! Johan

    • Author

      Merci beaucoup jany ! Ç’est très gentille :D

      • Jany Viala 6 years ago

        Vous êtes le bienvenu Johan
        Non! J’aime faire la sélection grand talent! et de temps en temps surprise et je me dit wow!

  105. Wayne Moran 6 years ago

    Super gorgeous image.. Great work!!

  106. Meg Rousher 6 years ago

    It’s wonderful. Now I know why I have pictures to sort from a year ago. They are maturing :)

  107. Gorgeous scene – well done! 

  108. Great one, congrats, Johan .

  109. Nora Carol 6 years ago

    beautiful view Johan!

  110. Michael Salmela 6 years ago

    The stream creates a wonderful leading line up to the most beautiful backdrop, excellent work, Johan. 

  111. You forgot the notification for me 😀 Very nice image Johan 😀

  112. Author

    @Michael: thank you very much Michael! 🙂
    @Anette: lol, well I will spam you next time. And you already saw this one no?

  113. Frank van Es 6 years ago

    Compliment Johan. Really an eye cathing piece of art

  114. Enzo Ros 6 years ago

    Beautiful landscape Johan

  115. Stephen Cairns 6 years ago

    Fine landscape work Johan. The zig zag of the river and the triangular shapes there find a nice echo in the two background mountains. I like how the shapes work together in this image. Again, fine work Johan.

  116. Betty Manousos 6 years ago

    Wow! that’s gorgeous, johan!!:) Gorgeous light on the top of the mountains, too!

  117. Ralph Mendoza 6 years ago

    Wonderful landscape. Like how the lines from the water lead to the mountains

  118. Joaquín Alcaide 6 years ago


  119. Carlos Tutti 6 years ago

    wauw …

  120. aslam saikh 6 years ago


  121. Author

    @Wayne: many thanks Wayne!
    @Meg: 😀 Thanks Meg!
    @Patricia: glad you like it Patricia! 🙂

  122. Author

    @Enzo: thank you very much Enzo! 🙂
    @Stephen: many thanks for the kind words Stephen! 🙂
    @Betty: thanks Betty 😀 Glad you like it!

  123. Author

    @Ralph: many thanks Ralph! 🙂
    @Joaquín: thank you!

  124. Sumit Sen 6 years ago

    Great shot!

  125. Cho Tang 6 years ago

    Ziet er weer geweldig uit Johan!

    • Author

      Hey tnx Cho Tang! Alles goed in NL?

      • Author

        Hey tnx Cho Tang! Alles goed in NL?

        • Cho Tang 6 years ago

          Of course! Jij dan in het Paradijs?

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 6 years ago

            Mooi Cho! Alles prachtig hier in het paradijs

          • Cho Tang 6 years ago

            Goed om te horen. Kom je binnenkort weer n keer naar Nederland?

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 6 years ago

            Weet ik nog niet Cho. Vorig jaar heel vaak geweest dus vind het wel even lekker zo. Laat het wel weten als het zo ver is. Kunnen we weer wat organiseren

          • Cho Tang 6 years ago

            Lijkt me leuk 🙂

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 6 years ago

            yep, mij ook!

  126. Mooi Johan

  127. Bertand Chombart 6 years ago

    great shoot Johan !!!

  128. Doug Hagadorn 6 years ago

    Outstanding image! Just like wine, aging helps 🙂

  129. Kurt Harvey 6 years ago

    Wow! Wonderful mountain scene Johan! Gorgeous capture and treatment! 

  130. Tisha Craw 6 years ago

    Beautiful photo! 

  131. Chris Miller 6 years ago

    Fantastic stuff Johan, looks very idyllic.

  132. Author

    @Joan: thanks for the great comment and compliment Joan! 🙂 Hope all is well over there!?
    @Kurt: many thanks Kurt! 🙂 Less busy now?
    @Tisha: glad you like it Tisha! 🙂

    • Kurt Harvey 6 years ago

      You’re very welcome! No, actually. Long story but I’m worried that my Summer is jeopardy. ;)

  133. Jim Lundgren 6 years ago

    Love the comp Johan….As you mentioned, how the river meanders from side to side down the straight chute.

  134. Kamal Deep Singh 6 years ago

    Great view dear Johan…..

  135. Zahra Mousavi 6 years ago

    Here is so beautiful
    thank u

  136. Magical Johan , miss seeing places like that, beautifully done! 

  137. Wonderful Johan !

  138. Yasmin Simpson 6 years ago

    As always very delightful to be back and find a beautiful images of yours, dear buddy Johan.

    If I were there, I wouldn’t be so happy to see you climbing up a cliff to get this image, you are unique!.

    Love your expression, “I usually don’t process new images very quickly … I like to sit on them for at least half a year to let them “mature” a bit”.
    Sure sounds familiar to me, I just realized that mine are sitting for years, lol.

    Have a great week!

  139. Author

    @Jim: many thanks Jim 🙂
    @kamal: thank you Kamal!
    @Zahra: thank you Zahra 🙂
    @Kurt: summer flew by here Kurt. Sorry for the late reply !
    @Louisa: thanks for the nice compliment! 🙂
    @Girolamo: thank you!
    @Yasmin: lol Yasmin 🙂 Thanks for the kind words!

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