Piz de la Margna & Lake Sils at sunrise: First Light

This photograph titled First Light features Lake Sils (Silsersee) and Piz de la Margna mountain at sunrise. The location of this viewpoint is near Sils in the Swiss Engadin region. Mother Nature tends to be very generous over there with key photography elements like colour (in trees, sunsets and sunrises), fog and changing weather. Especially in Autumn. As a result, Engadin is one of my favourite Alpine regions.

First Light, alpenglow on the Swiss Alps at the Silsersee

A lake landscape in B&W, featuring the Swiss Alps around Piz de la Margna mountain at sunrise with alpenglow on the peaks and the mountain range reflected in Lake Sils (Silsersee).

This photograph of Lake Sils at sunrise is a 4-minute exposure. The sunrise gave the peaks to the left a vibrant orange glow, and I liked the yellow in the sky at the end of the lake. I, however, prefer the tones in this black & white rendition.

The sky was dotted with clouds, which made it and its reflection in the lake too overwhelming. Therefore, I opted for a long exposure to make the end result less busy. I often convert my long exposures to B&W. Partly because I usually like them better that way and partly because long exposures in colour are rather tricky to get right. The current neutral density filters mess up the white balance. They also add a colour cast. These things are fixable in post-processing. That’s not an easy task, however. These things are fixable in post-processing. That’s not an easy task, however.

A stack of two neutral density filters pushed the exposure time to four minutes. I used a Nikon D800E with a 24mm f/1.4 Nikkor lens. The settings were: 24mm, ƒ/10, 242s and ISO200. Hope you like how it came out ?!

Click on the photograph to learn more about it or to buy a print or licence of this photograph of Lake Sils at sunrise. For more photographs of lakes visit our Lakes landscape photography theme. You will also find some more photos of Lake Sils taken at sunrise.

Cheers, Johan 🙂

295 thoughts on “Piz de la Margna & Lake Sils at sunrise: First Light

  1. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @David: thanks David! It’s yours if you want it! 🙂
    @Mamo: thank you very much Mamo. Thanks for catching up here ! Hope you enjoyed it 🙂

  2. Sinead Sam McKeown says:

    Wow!! The kiss of sunlight makes this image so exciting! And I adore the sky. Really beautiful work, as always :)

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      Thank you Maggy! I am a very lucky man to be able to travel to these gorgeous places a lot :)

  3. Yasmin Simpson says:

    Such a beautiful-dreamy image!. Color or b&w are always welcome to my eyes and soul… BUDDY no body, being so careful that this technology doesn’t change my words, haaa.
    Have a great week, bud!!! :)

  4. Aline van Weert says:

    Ow… Johan what a beauty! I love the colours and reflection so much. The light just on top of the mountain…… “genieten”!

  5. Philippe Brantschen says:

    Well done. Next photowalk somebody will take a note what and how you do every photo-spot 😉 Congratulation for this awesome work, mate.

  6. Wilfried Haferland says:

    Mother nature was generous indeed, and you made the most out of it. It’s a very subtle blueish appearance, combined with this orange glow up there. Very nice! :-)

  7. Ed Bannister says:

    Your usual high bar of excellence! Glad you finally got recognized for your superior eye for wilderness beauty, and your craft, hats off Johann!

  8. Andreas Levi says:

    Congratulation to the #plusphotoextract Johan! 😀
    … it is also a brilliant picture – absolutely deserved!!

  9. Grzegorz Piechowicz says:

    Hi Johan! Beautiful job, as always btw :))) What I like here… fantastic landscape, great colours, intriguing lights and the movements on the clouds. Everything play here perfectly! How did you back from this place? Did you sleep in the tent? I going to do some couple trips like that… Amazing work my friend! Best Regards!

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      Thank your very much for the kind words and compliment! I stayed in a hotel nearby, so no tent this time. I shot this in October so didn’t even have to get up that early. Think I got up at 5 and shot this close to 7 🙂 Hope all is fine in real life with you as well! 

      • Grzegorz Piechowicz says:

        Lol :))) One day I want to take my version of the Milky Way and tent somewhere in the mountain ;))) But still need f/2.8 lens ;))) So this photo was taken in October??? You should have extended library of the most current photos! I hope to see them soon ;)

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          can I join? 🙂 Ow, I still have many images from the past few years that I haven’t shared here. I jump back and forth in my library and pick one dependent on the time of year and my previous posts. I try to offer a bit of variety 🙂 

          • Grzegorz Piechowicz says:

            😀 No problems Johan! You are welcomed! :))) I know what you mean, I try avoid to repeat the same theme twice in short time too. But we (want to see more often your photos! We love them… we want to comments them… ;))) One photo per 2 weeks is too little ;))) Just joking… Best Regards! 😀

          • Johan Peijnenburg says:

            seriously, I would love to shoot in Scotland. I might combine it with a trip to Ireland 🙂
            Lol, every time I post I say to myself I should post more often, but then reality takes over. I need to shut myself off from social media to actually shoot, be productive and work on images. 

  10. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Tom: hey Mr. Entertainment! You know I do expect an Elvis selfy from you soon now don’t you?! Thanks for the compliment Tom!
    @Christa: hi Christa! Many thanks for the kind words! Hope all is well with you!?

  11. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Joan: dank je wel Joan! Hoe is het in Nederland. Al zomer?
    @Robert: danke vielmals Robert! 🙂
    @cafrin : many thanks Cafrin! 🙂

  12. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Michelle: thank you Michelle 🙂
    @Mady: thanks for the kind words Mady! 🙂
    @Ed: thanks for the “yummy” Ed ! 🙂

  13. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Оксана: glad you like it Oksana 🙂
    @Asa: it is isn’t it 😉 Thanks for the compliment and for stopping by!

  14. Christa Niederer says:

    A dramatic sky, the reflections in the water and the mountains with that streak of sunlight starting to illuminate the peaks all contribute to a veritable eye-catcher!

  15. Tom Tran says:

    This is silky and wonderful Johan. The sunshine peak gives me enough reason to want it in colour. :)

  16. Julia Anna Gospodarou says:

    Oh my, oh my!! This is fantastic Johan! Doesn’t happen often, but I’m speechless! 🙂

  17. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Olga: dank je wel 🙂
    @Sairam: thanks for that Sairam! I like it a lot as well. It still need to grow a bit on me compared to some of my other work 🙂

  18. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Chris: thanks for the compliment Chris! It is not easy indeed. Hopefully one day someone will come up with the perfect ND filter 🙂
    @Alex: many thanks Alex! 🙂 

  19. Chris Miller says:

    This is sublime, love it! I know how hard it can be to correct the colour casts from 10-stop filters but I think that what you’ve ended up with here looks great :)

  20. Shawn McClure says:

    Wow. Gorgeous deep colours in this, Johan… Love the low key and the dark reflections/silhouettes…

  21. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Marilou: many thanks Marilou! 🙂
    @Jamal: glad you think so Jamal. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
    @Subra: many thanks Subra! 🙂 

  22. Jean-Michel Taconné says:

    Beauty and Serenity ! I like the colours of the sky, the reflections over the lake and the delicate light over the summits on the left. A great work ! Thanks for this spectacular view :-))

  23. Betty Manousos says:

    omg, totally impressive! this is one of the most spectacular pictures i’ve ever seen. excellent capture and processing technique. absolutely breathtaking, dear johan:))

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      Thanks again Anette and that is good news! 🙂 Btw did you know that Engadin is also the place where I “shot” that group of steinbocke ? :)

      • Anette Mossbacher says:

        nope, did not know. Want to go in June/July to find some of those. People tell me all kind of places in Swissy where to go :)) 

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          yeah, I think you need some luck. Often they are there, but you not always notice. I ran into them in various locations. Usually the big problem is that the angle you get on them is not very nice. At least I don’t like to shoot them from a lower position 🙂 

  24. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Jim: great comment. Thanks Jim!
    @Zielona: thank you 🙂
    @Ada: lol thank you Ada! 🙂 Me too 😉 

  25. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Markus: danke dir Markus! Have a great week!
    @Mikko: like a painting 😉 Thank you!
    @Anna: waking up early is so worth it in photography Anna! Thank you 🙂 

  26. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Rodolfo: you are very welcome Rodolfo and thank you!
    @Jerry: lol thanks Jerry!
    @Tuan: thanks Tuan! 

  27. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Margaret: well thank you. Guess you can’t be the first every time 😀
    @E.E. Giorgi: thank you Elena !
    @Mike: thanks for the wow Mike and nice to meet you! 

  28. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Michael: thank you Michael. Yes the LE had an interesting effect, especially in the sky. There is quite some stucture in there 🙂
    @Johnny: thank you Johnny! 

  29. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Carolyn: many thanks for the kind words and share Carolyn! 🙂
    @Margaret: many thanks Margaret!

  30. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Michael: thanks Michael and thanks for the re-tweet as well! 🙂
    @George: thanks! Yes, think it worked out well as well 🙂 

  31. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Victoria: you make me smile 😀 Thank you! I will try to not let you wait so long next time 🙂
    @Didier: merci Didier!
    @Barbara: thank you 🙂

  32. Christof Simon says:

    Great long exposure Johan. The fine lines in the clouds is what I like most. And I agree with you, the Engadin is one of the most beautiful parts of mother earth :-)

  33. Michael A. Koontz says:

    something quite painterly to it Johan , cant put my finger on it but it, in a pleasant way :), reminds me more of a realistic cgi render then a photograph.

    But, yep i like it =)
    So job well done once again Johan

  34. Margaret Wong says:

    Really peaceful scene with lovely colours, enhanced by the reflections and gold tips on the peaks :)

  35. Carolyn Lim says:

    Lovely! I like the tonality and the mood of the scene. Thank you for the backgrounder on where and how you shot the image.

  36. Barbara Youngleson says:

    Moody and mysterious Johan. Love the little hint of golden light on the mountain tops. Beautifully and creatively processed!

  37. Victoria Etna says:

    you make of the waiting something worth !
    such a magnificent photo Johan !
    love the mirror reflections as the light and shadows, wonderful colours and that subtle sunlight on the top of the mountain is really beautiful !
    <3 it ! 😀 

  38. Meg Rousher says:

    Wonderful work Johan, I’m happy you chose colour for this instead of black & white. Those deep colours are beautiful :)

  39. Dermot Russell says:

    The colours are remarkable Johan and the gentle light on the mountain peaks are a beautiful detail. Wonderful shot!

  40. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Baki: you are very welcome Baki. Thanks for the kind words 🙂
    @Claudia: many thanks! Lol, du meinst die Niederlande 😉

  41. John Dunne says:

    I do, I do like your choices Johan 🙂 Its a beautiful image. Just that hint of dawn light on the tips of the mountains is exquisite.

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      Thanks John. That’s my favourite part! You should keep this place in mind when you decide to come to CH! 🙂 

  42. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Martin: thank you Martin! Will we meet on a photo walk soon?
    @Kerry: glad you think so Kerry! Thank you! 🙂 

  43. Andi Rivarola says:

    Outstanding image. What’s not to like, beautiful colours, reflections and shapes. Thank you for sharing a wonderful image and great description!

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      thank you! I think I am not done playing with it yet. There is a touch too much green in the yellow to my taste, but that could also be a result of the sRGB conversion …

      • Anette Mossbacher says:

        you can check that green in Photoshop in profiles, there you can switch and see if it turns green when converting to sRGB? Before you hang again hours on this one. I love it the way it is done. As well sign myself already up for the Workshop, but still want the one on one as well :)))

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          I don’t mind hanging with an image for hours Anette 🙂 I can see it in LR as well. sRGB makes it more obvious. It is not a big issues though. I like it as is anyway :)

  44. Thierry Bouriat says:

    That is gorgeous !
    The tones are incredible…
    and thank you Johan for your technical explanation :-))

  45. kurt Harvey says:

    Gorgeous and refreshing image Johan! I hear what you’re saying about colour LE. I haven’t been happy with my own experiments with it but I sure love this.

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      thank you! Yes, it is tough. I think I re-did this one about 20 times and I will probably re-do it again at some point. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be perfect reality. With sunrise and sunset colours there is a lot of artistic freedom :)

      • kurt Harvey says:

        Johan, I totally agree on the colour choices for that time of day (and night shots). Its kind of a relief actually. :)

  46. Andreas Levi says:

    A fantastic work, Johan!! I think it was indeed a great choise not to convert in b/w ; amazing colours here! 🙂
    Happy Monday, and a great week for you :)

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      Thanks Andreas! You have probably found out by now that getting the colours right with long exposures is quite a challenge 🙂 have a great week as well! 

  47. Naghmeh Khadembashi says:

    When the reflections are as real and superb as the reality they are reflecting, there comes the art… Lovely tones and scene, dear Johan 

      • Patrick Metzdorf says:

        Hi Johan! Well, I have postponed a move to the country for the foreseeable future, but I am planning to take a few days in the mountains in summer. No date yet or specific place, though. Any suggestions?

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          ah ok. Hope for good reasons 🙂 Well, there many beautiful places to visit here. Depends a bit on what you already have seen. The region where I took this shot is quite nice 🙂 

          • Patrick Metzdorf says:

            I haven’t seen much, nothing in the Swiss Alps yet. I’ll have to do some homework first and see when I can take some time off etc.

            But once I know more I’ll hit you up. Maybe we can arrange something.

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