A river rapid long exposure in B&W: Smooth as Silk

In the Alps, the smart thing to do is to always think twice before putting something in your backpack. Taking less is best, as the weight seems to always magically quadruple during a day of hiking. Well … uhm … it seems that I am just not that smart … besides that, I guess I am not a great learner either … I keep bringing too much! I simply find it sooooooo hard to leave something at home that I might need for that special thing I might run into! For instance, ND filters for shooting river rapid long exposures like this one from Pontresina in Engadin.

Silky Smooth, a milky river rapid in B&W with rocks

Granite rocks surrounded by the milky water of a glacial mountain river rapid, in a minimalist black and white fine art photograph.

Four pieces of ND glass in a pouch is approximately 500 grams extra on my back! I always take it, though. Why? Well, I sometimes like to be able to capture the movement of clouds around mountain tops. I also like to be able to use a longer exposure to smoothen water in landscapes with mountain rivers. It makes them more dynamic but less busy. I also love to zoom in on details of mountain river rapids. Almost always something zen comes out. This river rapid long exposure titled Smooth as Silk is a great example. An advantage of bringing long exposure glass and using it is that it slows you down and makes you see better. Of course, it also gives you time to eat a sandwich. I am almost sure I had an awesome one with meatloaf when shooting this photograph 🙂

I shot this with a Nikon D3x and 24-70mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens and used a 10-stop Lee ND filter to get to an exposure time of 50 seconds.

Click on the photo if you want to buy a print or a licence of this river rapid long exposure.

Cheers, Johan 🙂

195 thoughts on “A river rapid long exposure in B&W: Smooth as Silk

  1. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Betty: that is nice Betty! Thank you. Have a great week 🙂 (yes I am late)
    Thank you too E. Cindy and Jackie ! 🙂 

  2. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Renay: thanks Renay! 🙂
    @Mona: thanks Mona. This is a difficult one for most. Not in your face enough I guess 😉 

  3. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Chris: hey thanks Chris! I guess I fooled you there 😉
    @Gerard: many thanks Gerard! 🙂
    @Michael: thanks a lot Michael! 🙂

  4. Wilfried Haferland says:

    Very nice image. It’s kinda special ’cause of the light and subtle tones in the dominating area of flowing water here. Almost like fog. I like it :-)

  5. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Yasmin: it is always so nice to read your comments. Thank you! 🙂
    @Sofie: me too 🙂 Thanks Sofie!
    @Margaret: glad you love them Margaret. Working on a few more 🙂

  6. Yasmin Simpson says:

    Well, friend Johan, I just simple admire you for all that you are and as a photographer you are simply spectacular, if is hard to make a stunning image below the mountain with nice weather, now I really don’t know how you can make it when you have to hike and do all the things that you already explained.
    Congratulations, as always a real killer :-)

  7. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Hope: it is nice to see you smiling Hope 🙂
    @Dene’: wow, it has been ages since I’ve seen you around 🙂 Hope all is well with you!? Thanks for the compliment 🙂 

  8. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @David: thanks for the great feedback and compliment David. Hope all is well. We still need to discuss Japan! 🙂
    @Kurt: thanks Kurt! I swapped mine for a f/4. No regrets here 🙂
    @Thierry: merci beaucoup Thierry!

  9. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Didier: merci Didier!
    @Marilou: thank you very much! 🙂
    @Deborah: many thanks Deborah! Had a marvelous day in the Alps 🙂

  10. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Joan: dank je wel Joan! 😀
    @Meg: I did Meg. Thanks 🙂
    @CJ: thanks for the compliment and nice to hear you like my stories 🙂

  11. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Stefan: many thanks Stefan!
    @Claudia T.: thanks for the B-day wishes Claudia! 🙂
    @Dominique: it won’t Dominique …. maybe i’ll get even slower though 😉 Dank je wel!!

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      Thanks! Nope, shot this one in Grisons early 2012. Working hard to catch up with processing here, so running into interesting stuff now and then 😉 

  12. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Markus: thanks Markus. Have a great day as well 🙂
    @George: glad you like it George 🙂 Hope all is well in Canada! 

  13. kurt Harvey says:

    Wonderful detail of a mountain stream Johan! I need to force myself to remove the 70-200 f/2.8 before hiking. So heavy!

  14. David Orr says:

    Johan, what to say that has not already been said so well about this fabulous composed image. Fabulous detail in the rock and terrific contrasts ! Beautiful minimal work my friend !

  15. Marilou Aballe says:

    Fantastic , amazing silky smoothness and so beautiful Johan. Wish you a very happy birthday Johan and many happy returns!

  16. CJ Cox says:

    Love the soft and dreamy fluidity, great work as usual ;) p.s. love the back story too! …and the sandwich haha!

  17. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Steve: thanks and thanks Steve 🙂
    @Barbara: thanks for the compliment and Birthday wishes Barbara!
    @Thomas: hey danke dir Thomas! No song in Swiss German?
    @David: thanks for the feedback and compliment David!

  18. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Durk: thanks for the compliment Durk and nice to meet you 🙂
    @Robin: thank you very much dear Robin 🙂
    @Gemma: thanks for the B-day wishes Gemma 🙂
    @Anna: thank you too Anna 🙂

  19. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @kaatje: hey dank je wel Kaatje 😀
    @Vitor: thanks Vitor! 🙂
    @Andi: thanks and thanks for sharing. Glad you appreciate my stories Andi 🙂
    @Carsten: thanks Carsten and thanks for the Birthday wishes as well! 🙂 

  20. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Stephen: glad you think so. Thanks for the feedback Stephen! 🙂
    @Dalibor: thanks Dalibor and thanks for the Birthday wishes. Enjoyed it with a nice long hike up in the Alps 🙂
    @Athena: glad you like it Athena and miss you too! Will try to catch up with you after the weekend! 🙂
    @jany: merci Jany 🙂

  21. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Mark: I guess that is how we are Mark 🙂 Thanks for the kind words 🙂
    @George: Thanks !!!
    @Jerry: thank you very much Jerry! Hoep all is well with you1 🙂
    @John: cheers 🙂 Thanks John 🙂

  22. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Mitchell Prout: thanks Mitch!
    @E.E. Giorgi: glad you do Elena 🙂 Tnx for the Birthday wishes as well 🙂
    @Betty: thanks for the compliment Betty and for actually reading what I write 😀 

  23. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Leyla: many thanks for the compliment and Birthday wishes Leyla. I especially enjoyed the cake you posted on FB 😀
    @Ian: thanks Ian! 🙂
    @Joan: glad you enjoyed my story 😀 It’s vey likely that I will follow that sound advice. Thank you! 🙂
    @Rodolfo: thanks Rodolfo! 

  24. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @aditya: glad to hear that 🙂
    @Sairam: thanks for the confirmation and the Birthday wishes 🙂
    @Maggy: many thanks Maggy!
    @Dominique: always enjoy your comments. Thanks! 🙂 

    • Dominique Hilbert says:

      Always enjoy your posts Johan. I hope the shock off the years will not prevent you from posting more of your marvelous work. Gelukkige verjaardag!!! 

  25. Andi Riverola says:

    Really appreciate your work experience and the fantastic description. The results is thoroughly fantastic and beauty. Thank you so much for sharing. 

  26. Jerry Johnson says:

    This is gorgeous and I particularly enjoy the water patterns on the rock in the lower right third of your precious photo! Well done as always!! :-)

  27. Mark Esguerra says:

    I tend to carry a bit more than I need too Johan! But I’m glad you brought what you did with you because this is fantastic! Great work as usual!

  28. Betty Manousos says:

    such an amazing long exposure capture, dreamy, almost ethereal. excellently done, dear johan!! and a great read :)

  29. Joan Munford says:

    You are not only a fantastic photographer but a great story teller as well. I enjoyed reading this one very much and I have come to the conclusion that you should always bring your long exposure glass and an extra meatloaf sandwich to enjoy when you have worked up an appetite because of the extra weight : ) 

  30. Dominique Hilbert says:

    I wouldn’t give it to much thought, you take as much with you as you want on your hikes, I don’t mind at all… gives us more chance to enjoy the magic you come home with. Great work as always Johan ;)

  31. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Alycia: thanks for the kind words Alycia 🙂
    @aditya: yeah been a bit too busy Aditya! Thanks for the kind words. All is fine with me. And with you?

  32. Aditya Sharma says:

    Hi Mr Johan Peijnenburg great to see your post again it’s been such long time you did not post anything but glad see you back :-) how are you 

  33. Tom Tran says:

    This is a grand image Johan. There’s an illusion that it’s a rock in a water garden surrounded in mist. 🙂
    What you really need on your future excursions is a sherpa, and plenty of awesome sandwiches. I personally know someone who’d be willing to sherpa for good food. :P

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      Many thanks Tom! I kinda like the illusions LE’s like this create 🙂 Thanks for volunteering. I would be happy to have you along (even without carrying my stuff)!

  34. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Natascha: thanks Natascha! 🙂
    @Eric: thanks! I guess I will bring it again next time then Eric 🙂 

  35. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Thierry: my thoughts as well Thierry! Thank you 🙂
    @John: yup 🙂 Glad you like it John! Probably something not everyone appreciates 🙂

  36. Grzegorz Piechowicz says:

    Hehe, your story is excellent, I hope the sandwich was delicious 😉 I really enjoy your photo where sharp edges of the rocks are smoothed by flowing water. Quite unusual point of interest to your style but I can’t complain, Great work with capital “G” 😉 Superb Johan !!

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      Thanks for the compliment Grzegorz. I actually do this sort of stuff quite a lot. Don’t post it that often though. Plenty of normal landscapes in the pipeline … how have you been recently?

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      Thank you Robin! 🙂 Sorry for not picking up on that other thing yet. Things are a bit crazy here this summer …. 

  37. Anette Mossbacher says:

    Back from an hour walk, need to learn to keep up with you in the mountains. :))
    Love the image. Great conversion 🙂
    I am sure the sandwich was proper made :))

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      Wt’s live without mountains, a proper sandwich and LE glass Anette 😉 Thanks! Looking forward to more of your holiday shots!

  38. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Michael: glad you like it Michael! Yes, certainly worth it. How are things?
    @Karin: many thanks Karin! Glad you liked the story as well. Nice to meet you :)

    • Michael A. Koontz says:

      Always top notch with me Johan , hoping all is well on your part to – i am busy making some food right now so i better close this distraction so i dont end up burning it :)

  39. Elizabeth Lund says:

    Such a lovely long exposure with great composition Johan!
    You could think of all that extra weight you carry in your pack as a more intense cardio workout :D

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      Glad you like it Elizabeth 🙂 I do think of it that way and apparently the body gets used to it over time (at least that’s what I keep telling myself) 🙂 

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