Just before the sun sets

Sunset at Laghetto Moesola (San Bernardino Pass)

Just before the sun sets
October 16, 2012 Johan Peijnenburg
In Photography
Sunset at Laghetto Moesola, a small mountain lake at the summit of the San Bernardino Pass. In the background Piz Uccello and Piz de la Lumbreida. (Johan Peijnenburg)
20mm – f/11 – 1/30sec – ISO100 – D800E with 14-24 f/2.8

When I am out in the Alps, I always start to get nervous about half an hour before the sun starts to set. Am I in the right place? Do I have a foreground subject? Is the sky interesting enough? How will the light hit the clouds? Do I have the right lens for the composition I have in mind? Should I maybe quickly relocate to that other spot just 10 minutes away? Usually I just stick to where I am, work with what I have and take the time to watch the scene evolve. The nerves always make place for adrenaline rather quickly when I start to work the scene. The adrenaline is subsequently almost always replaced by amazement about how beautiful nature can be at the right time of day.

I captured this mountain lake image last week at the summit of the San Bernadino Pass in the Swiss canton of Graubünden (Grisons). This mountain lake is called Laghetto Moesola. In the background you see two mountains: Piz Uccello (left) and Piz de la Lumbreida (right). The fog came into the scene only a few minutes before I captured this image. A few minutes later the fog covered both mountains and the sun was no longer colouring the clouds orange/yellow. That other spot just 10 minutes away was already covered in fog when I captured this scene 🙂

I shot this mountain lake image at 20mm using my 14-24 f/2.8 wide angle lens. I used my D800E, which I am starting to appreciate more and more. No filters were used. The image was processed in Adobe Lightroom 4.2.

Comments (211)

  1. Françoise 7 years ago

    Beautiful! I truly belive you were in the right place! You have everything: the water, the mountains and a rich sky! le light is already perfect.
    It is worth hiking to those places to get these kind of images!

    • Author

      Thank you very much for the great feedback Françoise! I agree it is totally worth it 🙂

  2. Syuzan 7 years ago

    Stunning shot !!! woooow !

  3. Victoria Blossom 7 years ago

    beautiful !

  4. Theresia Swiebel 7 years ago

    Very nice nature photo!

  5. Dizzy Blond 7 years ago

    you’re right, large is the way to view this one. Absolutely gorgeous!

  6. Vishal Kumar 7 years ago

    Awesome Shot 🙂
    Wonderful Composition and Dark Colors :)

  7. David Orr 7 years ago

    Like it ? Nope. Love it. Terrific photo and write up. Have a fantastic week my friend.

  8. Athena Carey 7 years ago

    Very dramatic! The foreground water almost looks like parched earth. :)

    • Author

      Thank you! Had to look up “parched” 😉 

      • Athena Carey 7 years ago

        See Johan, there are so many benefits to being my friend. :)

        • Author

          yes plenty Athena and it is good to have someone to correct my Dutch English once in a while ;)

  9. Author

    @Victoria and @Theresia: thank you!
    @Dizzy: glad you agree. Thanks 🙂 

  10. Author

    @Vishal: thanks for checking it out 🙂 Glad you like it!
    @David: many thanks David! Have a great week as well! 

  11. Debby Vos 7 years ago

    You forgot to mention that is was freaking cold up there coming from the warm and cosy Ticino 😉

  12. Victor A. Gor 7 years ago


  13. Author

    @Deborah: you are absolutely right 🙂
    @Victor: I guess that means you like it 🙂

  14. Sumit Sen 7 years ago


  15. Rodolfo Seide 7 years ago

    Beautiful shot!

  16. Subra Govinda 7 years ago

    Beautiful capture!

  17. Author

    Many thanks Rodolfo and Subra !

  18. jany viala 7 years ago

    very beautiful

  19. Allen Lau 7 years ago

    It’s so beautiful! 

  20. Author

    Glad you like it Jany !!
    @Allen: many thanks! 

  21. Mikko Tyllinen 7 years ago

    wow! this is absolutely fantastic picture! such a mysterious and very beautiful view! Fabulous Johan!

  22. Andreas Levi 7 years ago

    Beautiful capture, Johan! :)

  23. Fabrizio Vignali 7 years ago

    Nice sky… ehm fog ;)

  24. Kurt Harvey 7 years ago

    Wonderful, gentle light and layers Johan! An awesome time of day. I fully empathize with your write-up. 😀 I’m glad when the photo capture anxiety fades away and I can simply bask in the beauty of the moment.

  25. Kerry Murphy 7 years ago

    Really beautiful, Johan. Glad you stayed put! :)

  26. Author

    @Andreas: thank you Andreas!! 🙂
    @Fabrizio: fog and sky 🙂 Thanks Fabrizio! Still happy with the new cam? 

  27. Author

    @Kurt: it should be very recognizable for all that shoot at the right time Kurt 😀 Glad you like it!!
    @Kerry: many thanks Kerry! Me too 😀

  28. Michael Bissig 7 years ago

    Wonderful photo!

  29. Shelly Gunderson 7 years ago

    Very gorgeous image! Love those clouds.

  30. Daniel Ewert 7 years ago

    Very compelling scene, Johan ! I love the drama in the sky and the play of shadow and light in the mountains. Really nice work.

    • Author

      It’s that play I like best Daniel 🙂 Thanks for the compliment!

  31. Great, Johan !

  32. Markus Landsmann 7 years ago

    Johan, a wonderful light mood.

  33. So Beautiful! I love the fog rolling in!!

  34. E.E. Giorgi 7 years ago

    wow, magic!!

  35. Author

    @Markus: thank you Markus!
    @Margaret: many thanks for the compliment Margaret and thanks for sharing 😀 Hope you are having a great week!
    @E.E. Giorgi: thanks for the wow Elena 😀 

  36. This is a sensational shot Johan! Love the atmosphere and the strong composition. Even if it’s in color and the color is great, it gives me such a monochrome feel. Beautiful! :)

    • Author

      very nice to hear Julia! I am pretty sure there will be a monochrome version of this as well soon 😀 

  37. Milena Llieva 7 years ago

    Ooh…what a wonderful shot…beautiful sky and feel….

  38. Francesco Gola 7 years ago

    Mate, what a wonderful shot! Perfect light in a perfect spot!

  39. Author

    @Milena: thanks you so much Milena!
    @Francesco: glad you like it Francesco! How was the shoot with Luca? 😉 

  40. Tom Tran 7 years ago

    Beautiful shot, Johan Peijnenburg. The insightful thought and detail you share with the image are always a pleasure to read

    • Author

      Thank you Tom! Glad you like the story that comes with it. I always wonder how many people actually take the time to read it 🙂 

  41. Dominique Dubied 7 years ago

    Lovely capture Johan! 

  42. Jerry Johnson 7 years ago

    This photo is a visual delight and the movement and depth it portrays are absolutely phenomenal Johan! :-)

  43. Getting nervous pays out as we can see! Very nice composition, perfect colors. Thanks, dude! :-)

  44. Oh, I know that feeling so well, Johan!
    Beautiful to see this!

  45. R. Brooke Fox 7 years ago

    Wonderful, unusual catch.

  46. Wunderbare Stimmung

  47. Nikola Nikolski 7 years ago

    Wonderful shot Johan. color fits good here ;-)

  48. David Shield 7 years ago

    I like the dramatic light set above the landscape silhouettes. Excellent work Johan!

  49. Awesome

  50. Javier Esvall 7 years ago

    Beautiful landscape

  51. Author

    many thanks Curtis!
    Muchas gracias Javier :)

  52. Georg Carlson 7 years ago

    this is a gorgeous image

  53. Johan, this pic is Phenomenal again… your pictures are always awesome. 

  54. Author

    @Georg: thanks for the compliment Georg!
    @Leyla: glad you think so and very happy that you come back to see them every time Leyla! 

  55. Domique Hilbert 7 years ago

    Hope you like it! Dare he ask! 

    • Author

      I always do ask Dominique 🙂 

      • Domique Hilbert 7 years ago

        I know Johan, but the answer is obvious every time again ;-)

        • Author

          Not to me Dominique! I am always a bit nervous when i post something :D

          • Domique Hilbert 7 years ago

            I understand, a lot of eyes on you, I don’t have that problem, I’m an amateur, I can post anything disastrous and blame it to my inability 😉
            Looking forward to your next post!

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 7 years ago

            yes. It’s always the question if I have seen it correctly 🙂

  56. Mikael Sh 7 years ago

    looking all good Johan =)

  57. Roland Voegtli 7 years ago

    You should cut back the thinking, Johan. You’ve got it in your heart and guts already! Wonderful light and color!

  58. Tim Donnelly 7 years ago

    The low clouds look brilliant and that light is fantastic! Nice one Johan! 

  59. Michael Russell 7 years ago

    It is a beautiful photo Johan – even if it is posted on a Tuesday. 😉

  60. Andy Korolis 7 years ago

    Nice weather mood as the clouds roll in but still some brilliant sky … a passing moment and nicely captured Johan :)

  61. Meg Rousher 7 years ago

    Beautiful shot Johan, what a great view :)

  62. Beautiful! Love the mood!

  63. Alex Filatov 7 years ago

    Wonderfully atmospheric, beautifully captured Johan!

  64. Toshiro Ikeda 7 years ago

    Very nice shot and composition, Johan. How nice if I could capture mountain photo often like you.
    I read through your post and enjoyed it with your pic. Thank you for sharing.

  65. Dalibor Pačić 7 years ago

    Fantastic shot Johan!

  66. Aileen Sorenson 7 years ago

    What a beautiful work, Johan! Composition is great, very nice clouds structures and the flow movement surface of the water is what it makes more interesting. I enjoyed reading your post too!

  67. Susan Graveline 7 years ago

    Heavenly wonderful with lighting effect again an almost ethereal religious feel to it angelic like angels will come down and the lighting is the prelude to this almost

  68. Radek Vik 7 years ago

    hey Johan, haven’t been in your stream in a while due my travels but look at that great stuff here!!! Beautiful!

  69. Paul van de Loo 7 years ago

    It’s beautiful Johan. Erg mooi ook :)

  70. Author

    @Mike glad it does Mike. Thanks!
    @Roland: thanks for stopping by and leaving the compliment. Highly appreciated! Now worries, the nerves and the thinking is only very temporary. 

  71. Author

    @Tim: many thanks for the kind words Tim!!
    @Michael: Thank you!
    @Andy: many thanks Andy! The weather went from this to totally crap in just a few minutes. 

  72. Author

    @Meg: thanks meg!
    @Patricia: glad you do Patricia! Thanks for the visit 🙂
    @Alex: many thanks for the kind words Alex! 

  73. Author

    @Toshiro: glad you like it Toshiro. You should vist the Alps one day!
    @Dalibor: thank you Dalibor!
    @Aileen: thanks for reading and for the great compliment Aileen!! 🙂 

  74. Author

    @Susan: glad that the image told you that very nice story Susan!
    @Radek: shame on you! 😉 Glad you liked what you found!
    @Paul: thanks Paul and dank je wel ook 😉 

  75. Charles Lupica 7 years ago

    another stunning image Johan. 

  76. Jim Lundgren 7 years ago

    Pure drama!

  77. aditya Sharma 7 years ago


  78. Author

    I love drama Jim !
    @Aditya: thanks! 

  79. Joseph Eckert 7 years ago

    Love this photo, gorgeous clouds

  80. Armand Dijcks 7 years ago

    Great composition and light, and that fog rolling in really gives it some extra depth. It’s quite interesting, like you already mentioned, to sit and watch a scene like that unfold. I sometime create time lapse sequences and am always amazed at how much everything (clouds, light, etc.) within a short amount of time. There’s always some shots in there that I simply would have missed if I would have just set up the tripod, taken the shot and left.

  81. Joanna Pechmann 7 years ago

    Great scene Johan. Love this dramatic lighting.

  82. Ed Bannister 7 years ago

    Spectacular! wonderful photograph

  83. Aline van Weert 7 years ago

    Heel herkenbaar! :-)

  84. Author

    @Joseph: many thanks Joseph!
    @Armand: thanks Armand! yes this was definitely a great time lapse opportunity. I am pretty sure we will be seeing you at high altitude in the Alps soon 🙂 ope to see you sunday by the way :)

  85. Author

    @Joanna: nice to see you around again joanna! Thanks for the compliment. Is all well?
    @Ed: many thanks Ed. Glad you like it!
    @Aline : 🙂 Dacht ik al! 

    • Joanna Pechmann 7 years ago

      Everything seems to be on the right way. Thank you for asking Johan 🙂

  86. Joel Tjintjelaar 7 years ago

    Great photo Johan ! See you Sunday!

  87. Author

    @Armand: check! 🙂
    @Joel: tnx! See you Sunday!

  88. Amazing Johan –> http://mycrazyblog.ucoz.com/load/before_the_sun_sets/1-1-0-13

    picture was added as famous but have not any way for being downloaded ! can be wieved and also all the links to website !

  89. Rikard Lindby 7 years ago

    I recognize the feeling of pre sunset stress 🙂 I like this image a lot. The light is at the right place for sure. Do you have the lee filters and holder for the 14-24?

    • Author

      it’s a nice type of stress 🙂 Nice to hear you like it a lot! No, I don’t have the filter system for the 14-24. Too expensive, yet more stuff t carry around and no big stopper for it. For the amount of money involved I would rather buy the 16-35 as an extra lens for filter related work. It is not as brilliant but good enough for most work. 

      • Rikard Lindby 7 years ago

        Yes I agree. It’s expensive as well as cumbersome. The solution with the screw on rings on which you mount the actual holder makes it hard to fit in a bag. Also the lens cap wont fit with the rings mounted. And you have to remove the lens in order to unscrew the rings. I have one of the SW150 filters though, ND grad 2, which I handhold. It works ok. 

        • Author

          you know what … in my experience the 14-24 doesn’t really need a grad filter. Especially not on a camera like the D3x or D800E. It is not a lens which i use for shots with a lot of sky in it either.

          • Rikard Lindby 7 years ago

            Well I suppose it all depends on your personal style. I tend to either have a lot of sky or almost none for my wide angle stuff. The dynamic range of my D700 is usually enough as well, but at the same time I feel that using a grad is seldom a bad thing.
            However, recently I picked up the 24mm PC-E lens which I now use for pretty much anything and everything. And in the mean time my 14-24 has been on the shelf collecting dust 🙂 

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 7 years ago

            you would be amazed about the difference in dynamic range between the D700 and D800. Really different worlds for landscape stuff!

            Now you make me jealous with that talk about the PC-E lens. It has been on my list for ages. Did you have it converted to allow simultaneous tilt and shift? 

          • Rikard Lindby 7 years ago

            Cool Johan. I will probably end up with a D800 when my D700 dies :). I have also a D7000 which supposedly has a lot more dynamic range than my D700, but I haven’t really noticed any difference, at least when pushing shadows. When recovering highlights the D7000 holds a slight edge I think.

            Yes, it’s a great leans the PC-E. Haven’t had it converted though. I use the tilting functionality the most. Its nice to be able to tilt the focus plane along the ground/water and get everything sharp on F5.6-F8. It’s also nice to experiment with selective focus. I use it a lot for mountain bike photography as well. Putting the trail in focus and let everyting else blur out etc. It’s a great creative tool. It’s also nice that it takes 77mm filters, same as the 70-200. And 24mm is a good focal length. It’s wide enough for most stuff and you can use a polarizer without being too worried about that the polarization effecting the image differently. I highly recommend it. 

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 7 years ago

            It’s time that we meet on a photo walk Rikard, so that I can borrow it for a shot or two. I have several options at 24mm, but wouldn’t mind adding that one 🙂 Did you already find the Swiss Photography Club G+ ? 

          • Rikard Lindby 7 years ago

            Yes Johan, indeed it’s time. And I would be happy to lend it to you. I have been traveling a lot this past year and therefore missed all the walks so far. I’m off to south america end of this month, but If I’m still around on the 28th I’ll join the photo walk in Luzern. Do you have any tips for where to find great fall colors this weekend by the way?

  90. Author

    well I think engadin is the place to be at the moment I think Rikard. I was there last week and was just a touch early. Think the colors will be at their peak now and there is first snow. Otherwise, I guess any forest works at the moment 😀 

    • Rikard Lindby 7 years ago

      Thanks for the heads up about Engadin Johan. I’m looking for a forest which primarily consists of tall trees which carry fairly big leaves. Like chestnut trees, oaks etc. Although, finding a forrest of birch trees (aspens) would be a dream. Haven’t seen one in Switzerland though.

      • Rikard Lindby 7 years ago

        Btw, this discussion took a nice detour from being about your image, on to lenses and now we are talking about leaves and trees. :D

        • Author

          I was hiking in one today in The Netherlands 😉 I actually don’t really know forests like that in CH, so if you find on please let me know. Something that comes close is the area between Gruyere Castle and the Moleson, but I have’t checked it in autumn yet …
          yes interesting twists on our conversation. What shall we discuss next?
          Hope you can make it on the 28th by the way! 

  91. Great composition and gorgeous colours. Excellent job Johan. Have a good photo walk in Rotterdam !

  92. Robert Skreiner 7 years ago

    Great photo and work!

  93. Author

    @Jean-Michel: thanks for the compliment! And thanks, we had a great time in Rotterdam.
    @Robert: many thanks Robert. Highly appreciated! Hope al is well in Austria! 

  94. Stunning beauty!

  95. Bill Wood 7 years ago

    Wonderful image, Johan. It is so beautifully balanced.

  96. A fantastic view!

  97. Author

    @Оксана: thank you 😀
    @Bill: you are very welcome Bill. Glad you like it 🙂
    @Marianne: many thanks Marianne! 

  98. shane holsclaw 7 years ago

    incredible mood! the mountains feel like passing ships in the morning mist. love the light bursting through the clouds. a beautiful image Johan. : )

  99. Lilia Lin 7 years ago

    Woh!… Drama in Blue! Beautiful capture, love the scene, the colours, the soft and hard contrast Johan. Dank je wel :)

  100. jens Ceder 7 years ago

    Strong image Johan! 

  101. Author

    @Lilia: dank je wel Lilia!
    @Jens: thanks Jens!

  102. Paul Kamphuis 7 years ago

    great photo Johan!

  103. Kathleen Gick 7 years ago


  104. Hey Johan, another excellent crazy shot here… love it. 

  105. Rosemary McBride 7 years ago

    Awesome take wow :)

  106. Author

    Kathleen, Rosemary: thank you for the kind words!
    @Leyla: thanks Leyla! Glad you still like it 🙂 

  107. Ana Agra 7 years ago


  108. Bert Sendobry 7 years ago


  109. Author

    Ana and Bert: thank you :D

  110. Great image, Johan! If I remember correctly, one day I saw this lake among your images and these mountains, but by day.There was a tiny boat on the waters. It was in B&W. Or maybe I’m wrong :(

  111. Chris Miller 7 years ago

    Spectacular scene Johan! I love all the detail on the water.

  112. waiting for news Johan Peijnenburg :)

  113. aditya Sharma 7 years ago

    Thank you Mr Johan peijnenburg very very thank you

  114. Author

    @Chris: thank you Chris!
    @Syuzanna: you mean new images? 🙂
    @aditya: you are very welcome Aditya! 

  115. Johan Swanepoel 7 years ago

    Magic indeed !!!

  116. kamal deep singh 7 years ago


  117. Thierry Bouriat 7 years ago

    C’est une merveille !!! :))

  118. Michel paulin 7 years ago


    • Author

      merci beaucoup! Nice to meet you 🙂 

      • Michel paulin 7 years ago

        C’est un plaisir, vos photos sont vraiment superbes

        • Author

          Merci pour le compliment Michel! C’est apprécié! Mon français est limité, donc désolé pour mes erreurs :)

  119. Author

    @Johan: thanks for the compliment and for stopping by Johan! Hoep you are well!
    @kamal: thank you!!
    @Thierry: merci beaucoup Thierry! C’est très gentile 🙂 

  120. What a great capture, and I really like the very reduced color palette, the light is excellent Johan 

  121. CJ Cox 7 years ago

    what a great shot, the play of light and shadow, such a mysterious air about it :)

  122. Author

    Thanks Sassi and CJ!

  123. Fantastic naturalism, Johan !

  124. Yasmin Simpson 7 years ago

    Johan, I think you don’t need to change anything, each shot that you create is wonderful, it doesn’t matter if is the correct time of the day or something else, always you create “killers” :)…
    and I cannot imagine Joel Tjintjelaar and you together what a hit is going to be.
    You both guys and many others have been changing my artistic life in so many beautiful ways, thank you.

    • Author

      I can assure you that not every shot is wonderful. I throw a lot away, as I am quite picky 🙂
      Very happy that you like what I do. You and many others push me to keep improving and comments like yours very encouraging 😀 Thank YOU for that! 

  125. Pascal Laborelli 7 years ago

    belle atmosphère bravo !

  126. Laurie Wade 7 years ago

    This is gorgeous.

    • Author

      Thanks again for yet another nice comment Laurie! Highly appreciated!

  127. Phillip Cocks 7 years ago

    Great mood :))

  128. Barbara Mi 7 years ago


  129. Mady Sach 7 years ago

    great shot, the mountains,the clouds,wonderful

  130. Richard Murphy 7 years ago

    Very nice!

  131. Author

    Thank you Barbara, Mady and Richard !

  132. Christa Niederer 7 years ago

    Very appealing!

  133. Nice..very Johan

  134. Hola Johan ,maravilloso atardecer , es una gozada y un lujo poder contemplarlo . Gracias por compartirlo. Un saludo. 

  135. Mona Youssef 7 years ago

    The powerful hand of nature/God, you Johan picked not with your camera but with your heart

  136. Michael Bissig 7 years ago


  137. Mutita EdiblArt 6 years ago

    Amazing …

Leave a reply

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