Exploring the Swiss Alps and shooting Mystic Mountain

I love mountains, fog, and snow, so I am always happy when I can combine these three elements in a landscape photograph. I captured this mountain landscape, titled Mystic Mountain while exploring the Swiss Alps on snowshoes last January. It was a bit of a dull day with lots of fog and clouds … and it was way too cold. Most of the trail was in the shade, so there weren’t a lot of wide-angle opportunities. The fog around the mountains on the side of the trail was rather lovely and interesting though, so I decided to focus on shooting them to see if I could get something intimate and dramatic. The only thing I badly needed was the 4th element to play along, being the light. And it did!

The mountain in the photograph is called La Tsavre (or Mont Ferret). It is about 3,000 metres high (9,800ft), and it is located in La Fouly in the Swiss Val Ferret valley. This valley is located in the Swiss canton of Valais, on the southern side of the Mont Blanc massif. I visit this region very regularly when I am exploring the Swiss Alps.

This photograph was captured with a NIKON D800E and a Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. The settings were: 56mm, ƒ/9, 1/400s and ISO100 and no filters were used. I already knew that I was going to process this one in black and white when I shot it. I used a combination of Adobe’s Photoshop and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 to get to this result. Hope you like this mountain landscape in black and white!

Click on the photograph if you would like to buy a print or licence of this Swiss mountain landscape.

Cheers, Johan 🙂

Mystic Mountain, a Swiss mountain landscape in B&W

A Swiss mountain landscape in B&W, featuring La Tsavre mountain in winter, surrounded by clouds and fog, near La Fouly in Switzerland.

299 thoughts on “Exploring the Swiss Alps and shooting Mystic Mountain

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          That is nice to hear Mona 🙂 I need to revisit a few images at the end of the year. My taste is evolving and think there are a few I can do a better job on :)

          • Mona Youssef says:

            Tell me about Johan !! 🙂 That is the true artist, never satisfied with what he dose and always wanting to perfect what he dose. There is always room for improvement so go for it and enjoy the process. :-)

          • Johan Peijnenburg says:

            Think that is the way it should be Mona. I will quit as soon as I feel I have nothing to learn or improve anymore 🙂 

  1. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Doug: thanks a lot Doug!
    @Annette: thanks Annette! 🙂
    @Daniel: thanks for the compliment Daniel and nice to see you back!

  2. Chris Newham says:

    Beautiful photo I really like the depth and detail. The fourth element sun really brings it to life.

  3. Don Spenner says:

    Such a captivating image with so much upward movement, excellent my friend. I can only imagine the hike to reach this place Johan.

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      it was a quite long and cold one Don. Actually the image above with the trees is from the same days. Great harvest :)

      • Don Spenner says:

        A great respect and admiration for what you go through to capture this type of image and then I’m sure, hoping once you get their, the light will be just right. Have a great Sunday, Johan!

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          Yeah, had quite a few days this winter that the conditions were too bad to get something decent. Hoping for more luck next year 🙂 Have a great Sunday as well Don !!

  4. Richard Kelley says:

    I was introduced to your work through Photoshelter. It stopped me immediately. Beautiful work, Johan. You have a great eye.

    • Richard Kelley says:

      And the construction and utility of your website is exactly what I was looking for in my site. I’ll have to find the right person to help make the adjustments to GPP. Really great site.

      • Johan Peijnenburg says:

        Thanks for the compliments Richard! Glad you like it Finding the right person shouldn’t be that hard. There are a couple of certified consultants that can help you. I am lucky that I am able to do it all myself …

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          Sounds like great course Beverley! Was it 7 weeks non-stop??? All’s fine here as well. Fed up with winter now. Need spring as well

          • Beverley Aston says:

            Once a week plus ‘homework’ – yes the stress level went up a notch but I learnt such a lot and for me the main thing was to handle my camera with confidence and ‘less is more’ !! 🙂

          • Johan Peijnenburg says:

            Sounds like you picked up a few useful tips Beverley Looking forward to seeing the results!

  5. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    Many thanks again Robert !
    @Thierry: will be back shortly! Been travelling and busy in general 🙂 

  6. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Joel: glad you like it Joel! Many thanks for the company last weekend! It was fun 🙂
    @Walter: thanks Walter!!
    @Keith: thanks and nice to meet you Keith! 🙂 

  7. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Ian: glad to see you back Ian! Hope you are fine!? Thanks for the kind words 🙂
    @Betty: that’s a very nice compliment Betty! 🙂
    @Dylan : many thanks Dylan! How have you been? 

  8. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Kamal: many thanks Kamal!
    @Jean-Michel: merci Jean-Michel. Thanks for the kind words 🙂
    @Thomas: danke Herr Schaller 😉

  9. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Angelika: thank you! Nice and fitting tune Angelika 😀
    @Carsten: many thanks Carsten! Glad you like it 🙂
    @Оксана: hey Oksana! Thanks 🙂 

  10. Ian Gazzard says:

    Hey Johan Hope you are well. Your images are certainly looking well. Great shot 😉 I have been off the radar for a while so will catch up on your images!

  11. Jean-Michel Taconné says:

    You have successfully blended these 4 elements. Real great mood of a winter weather. A great composition ! Have a pleasant weekend Johan :-)

  12. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @David: thanks for the compliment David !
    @Dominique: impossible 🙂 Thanks Dominique and have a great weekend!

  13. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Eill: many thanks Will!
    @Peter Paul: thank you and have a great Easter weekend as well 🙂
    @Emanuele: glad you like it Emanuele! Thanks 🙂 

  14. Emanuele F. Fusco says:

    Beautiful shot and processing! I like the ray of light in the foreground! Yes, snow and fog are a wonderful combination!

  15. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Baki: you are very welcome Baki and thanks for the compliment!
    @Subra: glad you do. Thanks Subra! 

  16. Baki Karacay says:

    Stunning beauty with great light. Thanks for supporting Mountain Photos theme page stream and album with your work and talent.

  17. Yasmin Simpson says:

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful friend Johan.
    Before last weekend, My family and I went skiing to Mount Washington, B.C. and all the time you and Athena Carey were in my thoughts, I said… Ohhh men, this is not easy!, carrying all these equipment for a picture, lol.
    At the end, I couldn’t arrive so far and I got very sick (cold-sinus).
    I really admire you, guys! so I guess, I should keep myself in the sun, at the bottom surrounded with colourful flowers :-).

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      thank you Yasmin 🙂 Funny that you think of us when up there … and now I will think of you when the flowers start to bloom here 🙂 

  18. Julia Anna Gospodarou says:

    What a monochrome beauty Johan! Too bad I only run a page about the sea and none about mountains, I would definitely like to share this right now 🙂 

  19. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Patrice: thanks for the compliments Patrice! Thought the vignette blended in quite nicely with this one 🙂
    +Meg: 🙂 thanks Meg! 

  20. Patrice PVK says:

    Again and again: the framing is fantastic, the postprod is wonderful… I’m not a big fan of strong vignetting though, but it fits your photo very nicely. Great shot Johan :-)

  21. Naghmeh Khadembashi says:

    Lovely how fog and mist is separating the two sides, as if the other side is a new territory! Light and mist, joining to make a picture-perfect! Beautifully processed Johan 🙂

  22. Michael A. Koontz says:

    a beautifu mountain scenery and the mist and light makes it feel alive and moving.

    B/w was a fitting choice Johan :-)

      • Johan Peijnenburg says:

        that is a great compliment Armand! Thank you. I am always hunting for these types of scenes. Sometimes I get lucky 😉 

          • Johan Peijnenburg says:

            Very true! Btw: do you already have plans for the weekend of 6/7 april? I will probably be in NL and would love to go shoot on a beach somewhere 🙂 Tried to approach Joel already as well :)

  23. Armand Dijcks says:

    Milky Way time lapses in this landscape could be amazing Johan and Grzegorz . Also moonlight reflected on the snow covered mountains and stars rotating overhead makes for great time lapse material. Although it’s hard these days to come up with dome truly original shots. I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve though :-)

  24. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Jorunn: thank you Jorunn! 🙂
    @Sandy: long time no speak Sandy. Is all well with you? Thanks for the compliment!
    @Michael: glad you like it Michael! 🙂 

    • Sandy Schepis says:

      All is well. Sold my house so had to take a hiatus for a couple of months to declutter and pack and tear down my computer equipment and move cross country and then get “semi” settled in my new home and get everything back up and running. Whew! Hope things are well with you! :-)

      • Johan Peijnenburg says:

        Understandable Sandy. Hope you will fully settle soon! All’s well here as well. Waiting for the end of summer. Ready to go hiking without too much clothing 😉 

        • Sandy Schepis says:

          I hear ya, Johan! It’s even cold here in Savannah, GA which is unheard of this time of year. But no where near the cold I was used to in Colorado. Hope you get out hiking soon and share some more of your fantastic pics. 

          • Johan Peijnenburg says:

            thanks again! It is a bit extreme here as well. Not good for hiking and photography though as it is quite wet and dull as well … but it’s ok. Time to catch up on other stuff is welcome as well 🙂 

  25. Grzegorz Piechowicz says:

    Hi Johan! Your photograph presents the glory and majesty of the mountains in their best. The sharp edges soften by clouds make them very interesting, just absolutely impressive photo. I really enjoy this view but it had to be much excited to see it in real life. B&W conversion is absolutely brilliant, I love it. And on the end I have to express my respect for your efforts to get there to show us this beautiful landscape. Thanks Johan!

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      It’s what I love to do Grzegorz, so it’s my pleasure 😀 Thank you very much for the kind words!! Glad you like it 🙂 Did you get a D800 already, or are you waiting for a D4x? 😉 

      • Grzegorz Piechowicz says:

        Yes Johan, I have already D800 🙂 But still I don’t have to much chance to use it, the weather in Scotland is really bad recently for photography. You are right, this is just fantastic camera, I love it, but still need to buy 14-24mm 😉 Well, even with my 12-24mm it works perfectly, the sharpness is incredible. Do you play with time-lapses and movies as well?

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          congrats. You will love it! Nope. Haven’t done timelapse or video with it yet. Timelapse I hope to do coming summer 🙂 You? 

          • Grzegorz Piechowicz says:

            Not yet but it is my plans. Enjoyment with my photos is always my first priority but it may be quite good business as well. One friend of mine just sold a 5 mins time-lapse to BBC. Worth to consider. Now I am hungry for astro-photography and catching Milky Way, I did my first approach and I was just amazed what D800 can does. 

          • Johan Peijnenburg says:

            Yes, the same things are on my list for the summer. Haven’t done milky way’s yet 🙂

  26. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Leyla: in the end it was 4 elements Leyla 🙂 Thanks for the kind words!
    @Kerry: glad you do. Thank you Kerry 🙂 

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      @Jim: glad you love my drama Jim! I am a sucker for it as well 🙂
      @Louis: thanks for the compliment Louis! Much appreciated!

  27. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Jutta: vielen Dank Jutta 🙂
    @Wilfried: you actually managed to miss a post and that is very hard in my case Wilfried 😉 Glad you like this Wilfried! 

  28. Wilfried Haferland says:

    I really like the very dramatic clouds and the nicely worked out counterpart, the light spots. Good one! :-)

  29. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Paul: merci beaucoup Paul. Salut bien 🙂
    @Victoria: hey Victoria 😉 Hope all is well with you! Thanks for the very kind words 🙂 

      • Andreas Levi says:

        The guys from GB are really fast, Johan :)) Now I have all things here and hope to can test it (with better weather) at the weekend 🙂 Thanks again for your help :))

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          I know. Used them as well in the past. It is either them or B&H for me. By the way: don’t wait until the weather is to good. You need fast moving clouds 🙂

          • Andreas Levi says:

            Well, this is the problem Johan: we have sun at the moment here and no clouds nothing – boring 😉 :)) 

          • Johan Peijnenburg says:

            lucky you. I could use some sun here as well 🙂 I will send some clouds over to you 😉

          • Andreas Levi says:

            🙂 okay – then it is here not so cold: at the moment -6° and the night will be really frosty :)

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      Very glad it does Carolyn 😀 But be careful. That’s not a state you wan’t to be in for too long 😉 Thank you for the compliment and for stopping by! 

  30. Anette Mossbacher says:

    beautiful done Johan. Love the light and your comp. Something to sit and just look!

    Might find a mountain goat somewhere :))

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          I can imagine. Still snow here as well. Waiting until the snow line is at the right height to catch those half frozen alpine lakes 🙂 

  31. Margaret Tompkins says:

    Oh WOW!! Johan , this is incredibly beautiful!! I love the rich contrast and details. It really draws me in!! Beautiful!

      • Mitchell Prout says:

        I do indeed. and yes, things are well. the next month looks to be pretty hectic for me, (interferes with shooting) but still good. 🙂 Hope it’s good for you as well.

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