Shadows and light

Black & white long exporuse of a wooden T-pier in Lake Geneva, lit by sunset light

Shadows and light
February 4, 2013 Johan Peijnenburg
In Photography
Black & white fine art featuring a wooden t-shaped pier in Lake Geneva (Lac Léman), lit sideways by sunset light. This is a 4 minute long exposure (by Johan Peijnenburg).
27mm – f/10 – 239 seconds – ISO125 – D800E with 24-70mm f/2.8

Some images take a few seconds to process, some a few hours, some days and some several months. This black & white fine art image falls in the latter category. Why? Well, I really like it a lot and I wanted the processing to be just right … this usually means that I process it from scratch various times, let it be for a while and come back later to see if it needs further tuning. It is not that I PhotoShop it to pieces (I don’t even use PhotoShop). It sometimes just takes time to find the right balance between tones, contrast and structure in various parts of the image. Gradually the differences between subsequent versions become smaller … luckily …

This T-shaped pier can be found in Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) near the small town of Morges. I shot this image at sunset after a heavy rainstorm. Some of you may remember my image called “The End”. This was shot on the same night. What I like the most in this image is that the pier is lit sideways, which creates a nice play of shadows and light.

I used a Lee 10-stop ND filter and a Lee 2-stop ND filter to get to an exposure time of 4 minutes. I processed the image with Adobe’s Lightroom 4.2 and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2.

Comments (272)

  1. Sandra Parlow 7 years ago

    THis is absolutely wonderful, and the water so perfectly milky….. fantastic job Johan!!!

  2. Ricardo Lagos 7 years ago


  3. Author

    Thank you both very much Sandra and Ricardo!

  4. lizett Beltran 7 years ago

    Wow this is absolutely fantastic !!!!! Incredible processing and perspective Bravo !!!!

  5. Jerry Johnson 7 years ago

    Ok… This is… Spectacular Johan ! The …’s were used to visualize my gasps for air due to the excitement I experienced studying this exceptional photo!!!!!! ;-)

  6. Beautiful bw picture!

  7. Dominique Dubied 7 years ago

    Wonderful tones on the water and on the pier Johan! Great composition too.

  8. Bence M 7 years ago

    Amazing! Your galery is just awesome. Congratulations!

  9. Markus Rienzer 7 years ago

    wow.. fantastic image!!

  10. Take to long for the process but the result is: OUTSTANDING

  11. <3 <3 <3 

  12. John Minor 7 years ago

    Gorgeous tones Johan.

  13. Author

    @Leyla: yes a bit too long, but can’t help it 🙂 Thank you!
    @Annette: thank you Annette!!!
    @John: many thanks!

  14. Markus Landsmann 7 years ago

    Johan, a wonderful bw longtime work, the light is very good. Have a great evening.

  15. Davorin Mance 7 years ago

    Absolutely stunning!

  16. Eric Delcour 7 years ago

    Great monochrome capture and composition !

  17. Bjarte Wergedahl 7 years ago

    Excellent capture and processing

  18. Author

    @Eric: Thank you Eric!!
    @Bjarte: thanks for the compliment and nice to meet you :)

  19. Ralf Leuschner 7 years ago

    Great Picture! 

  20. Hope OHara 7 years ago

    icing on the cake.. when all is said and done.. have to admit.. your recipe is deliciously tasteful.. hugs

  21. jany viala 7 years ago

    You took the time to Treaty. She is is magnificent. Nice work.

  22. Author

    @Hope: lol, thanks you Hope!!
    @jany: merci Jany 🙂 

  23. Superb LE Johan ! You really blow my mind with this!!

  24. Fabrizio Vignali 7 years ago

    Look another pier… just kidding Johan 🙂
    Nice LE, well done.

  25. Author

    @Sophie: glad I do Sophie! Thank you. So when will we see you in CH?
    @Fabrizio: sorry really couldn’t resist! Thank you! 

  26. Mark Imhof 7 years ago

    Very nice!

  27. schitterend !!!!

  28. Mikko Tyllinen 7 years ago

    wow! this is such a fantastic picture! love this calm, mystical and yet very beautiful atmosphere! realy stunning work Johan!

  29. Author

    Dank je wel Encarna !
    @Mikko: thanks for the compliment Mikko! 

  30. Thom Zehrfeld 7 years ago

    Excellent perspective and composition, Johan! Beautiful shot!

  31. Luci Young 7 years ago

    Very nice.

  32. Author

    Thank you very much Thom !!
    @Luci: many thanks :)

  33. Gemma Costa 7 years ago

    great shot, wonderful light and sky

  34. F.a. Fiebig 7 years ago


  35. Shawn McClure 7 years ago

    Absolutely crackin’ image, Johan… Love the low key and lines…

  36. Author

    Thanks f.a. fiebig !
    @Shawn: thank you Shawn. Nice to hear!

  37. Armand Dijcks 7 years ago

    Your post processing workflow sounds a lot like mine Johan. Usually it’s a lot of back-and-forth, and seldom do I go in a straight line from raw image to end result. Int his case all the work was well worth it I think. The image has a great balance between texture and smooth areas, great toning, and it “just feels right” in general. Great work!

    • Author

      Thanks for the compliment and feedback Armand! Btw I have that a lot less with color work. B&W is a bit more then hitting that B&W button ain’t it 🙂 

  38. Domique Hilbert 7 years ago

    Wonderful, fantastic, marvelous…. words pop up but can’t define what I feel watching your work here! Maybe I gonna try and find my breath back to begin with 😉 

    • Author

      Haha are you serious Dominique 🙂 Have to say that it is very nice to hear!

      • Domique Hilbert 7 years ago

        I’m always serious :-p 

        • Author

          what did you drink tonight ? 

          • Dominique Hilbert 7 years ago

            What didn’t I drink. It’s Tuesday, a brand new week ahead, only water for me. Serious I was and am serious 🙂 best wishes Johan! 

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 7 years ago

            of course only water! Have a great week Dominique!

  39. E.E. Giorgi 7 years ago

    absolutely fantastic !!!

  40. George Marquardt 7 years ago

    This is fabulous Johan; it was worth the wait!

  41. Dalibor Pačić 7 years ago

    beautiful Johan

  42. Woow so beautiful !!!

  43. Author

    Thank you very much Dalibor! Enjoying winter over there?
    @Azahar: thanks for the wow! 

    • Dalibor Pačić 7 years ago

      my pleasure Johan
      mostly at home with small hiking tours, very bad weather- waiting better times… 🙂

      • Author

        although I am not a climber, I am experiencing the same Dalibor. Weather isn’t really cooperating so far on the days I went out. Will keep trying though :)

  44. Eustace James 7 years ago

    Amazing, amazing work. I can definitely see and appreciate the amount of effort that’s gone into producing this masterful piece!

    • Author

      that’s a great compliment Eustace! Getting from raw to this aren’t that many adjustment. The problem is getting each step right 🙂 

  45. Manuela Azevedo 7 years ago

    Brilliant! Love the symmetry and the perspective!

  46. David Orr 7 years ago

    Stunning work my friend !!

  47. Author

    @Manuela: thank you and many thanks for sharing!!
    @David: many thanks David!! 

  48. its just perfect !!

  49. Gerard Charnley 7 years ago

    That’s a superb shot Johan :)

  50. Author

    Thanks for the compliment Jorunn !!
    @Gerard: glad you think so Gerard!!! 

  51. Michel paulin 7 years ago

    Great one Johan. Bravo.

  52. Just beautiful Johan!

  53. Author

    @Michel Paulin: merci beaucoup Michel!
    @Michael B. Stuart: Thanks! 

  54. stunning calmness and beauty !!! 

  55. Alycia Miller 7 years ago

    Absolutely breathtaking! Excellent work ;-)

  56. Johan, totally in awe, so exceptional! Love it!

  57. Author

    @Syuzanna: thank you 🙂 Done with the exams?
    @Alycia: thanks for the compliment Alycia!
    @Louisa: that’s very nice to hear Louisa!! Thank you! 

  58. Absolutely brilliant Johan!

  59. Tomasz Fularski 7 years ago

    The process is more important than the end result. At least for me – the photographer. Patience paid off.

  60. Author

    @Matthieu: thank you very much Matthieu!!
    @Tomasz: thanks Tomasz and nice to meet you ! 🙂 

  61. I love your description of processing activity 🙂 I have quite a few of those shots which are just not “ready” yet although I’ve already processed them more than once … it’s just like good wine I guess 🙂 and you just published a very good bottle Johan 

  62. Debby Vos 7 years ago

    Where should I go..?! Left or right?! Or… Maybe….straight?? Great picture. We should sit there in summer with a picknick… And just enjoy the view….

  63. Author

    @Matthias: many thanks Matthias! Guess that is something familiar for most of us. I have it less with color work though.
    @Deborah: all three? And yes on the picknick! 

    • it actually impresses me that you use lr4 and silverefex “only” .. I would have taken bets that this one would require layers and masks for processing. Very nice work

      • Author

        those would probably make my life easier Matthias, but I have been too lazy to learn PhotoShop so far. To be honest, if the water had enough time to even out there is no issue. I just need to be very careful with what I do in LR before doing things in Silver Efex and doing things in LR again. I do apply some local adjustments here and there of course 🙂 

  64. Whatever you did here and no matter how much time it was needed, it was the right thing to do. Everything is looking as it should, I love the tones and the overall light balance in the image. Great work!

    • Author

      i love it when you love what I do 🙂 Do only thing I was still debating today was the amount of highlights to apply especially in the sky. Think I like it as is now though … 

      • Actually Johan, the highlights in the sky is one of the things I like best in your image! :)

        • Author

          😀 Thanks for the additional feedback. So, is your process with B&W a bit like mine or do you finish things in one go? 

  65. gorgeous and very peaceful Johan – and composition and treatment is spot on to.

    Fully agreed on every photo needing it´s own timeline to, editing is a natural process that is unique for every photo and not some technical number we dial in (even tho some treat it like that :P).

    Time well spent on this one

  66. Mady Sach 7 years ago

    wonderful capture, great shot

  67. Author

    @Michael: exactly my point Michael! Thanks for the compliment! 🙂
    @Mady: thank you Mady! 

  68. Louis Lavoie 7 years ago

    Months? Very glad you took the time Johan to make it to your taste. Very powerful and strong. Great work.

    • Author

      yes, with at least a few weeks in between attempts of course 🙂 Glad you like the result Louis! 

  69. David Giral 7 years ago

    just perfect!

  70. Rikard Lindby 7 years ago

    Beautiful and strong composition. I like it mucho!

  71. Lots of great comments on your new photo Johan. Personally I am not big fan of perfectly mirrored composition but here you did great job, the mountains on the horizon and the sky had broken it. I really like the details on the timber panels and the light on the posts. I don’t know why, but for me this photo is quite surreal. Superb!

  72. Dana Allen 7 years ago

    Worth the wait Johan , excellent all around!

  73. Author

    @Grzegorz: glad you like it Grzegorz! The light was quite special that day. It was hard to figure out how it would influence the end results as the waves were quite strong. Came out quite ok I think 🙂
    @Dana: many thanks Dana! 

  74. Beautiful Johan 

  75. Jutta Sötje 7 years ago

    beautiful perspective

  76. Author

    Thank you Benoit and Jutta !

  77. Bill Pevlor 7 years ago

    And immediate attention grabber! Great stuff Johan!

  78. Don Spenner 7 years ago

    Award winning work Johan and well worth the wait. Excellent!

    • Author

      An award? Now that would be great Don! Haven’t been chasing those so far. Thanks for the compliment!

      • Don Spenner 7 years ago

        I think they will chase you on this one Johan and once again, superb image.

  79. Purely stunning Johan!!

  80. Alex Filatov 7 years ago

    Absolutely incredible light, wonderfully processed image!

  81. Author

    @Robin: thanks Robin 😀
    @Alex: many thanks. Glad you like it! 

  82. Marilou Aballe 7 years ago

    Absolutely stunning and the light is amazing Johan !

  83. Subra Govinda 7 years ago

    Stunning work!

  84. Robby Bowles 7 years ago

    Beautiful work and well worth the time Johan!

  85. Author

    @Marilou: thanks for the compliment Marilou! 🙂
    @Subra: thanks!
    @Robby: glad you like it Robby!

  86. Shelly Wason 7 years ago

    so fabulous! glad you persisted

  87. Quincy Jefferson 7 years ago

    Beautiful detail and tones. Really like the light coming in from the right.

  88. Sumit Sen 7 years ago

    Great stuff!

  89. Milena Llieva 7 years ago

    WOW, stunning!

  90. Author

    Thank you and nice to meet you Shelly !
    @Quincy: nice to meet you as well! Thanks for the kind words!
    @Sumit: thanks Sumit!
    @Milena: thanks for the WOW. I like that 🙂 

  91. Ada M 7 years ago

    this is just WOW! I mean I love it and I wish i knew some special words to describe it beside awesome, and brilliant and wonderful and amazing!! :)

  92. David Herreman 7 years ago

    Great composition Johan !

  93. I like it, especially how you managed to shovel the snow away. No wonder it takes time… The square format serves the subject well. Thanks!

  94. Andreas Levi 7 years ago

    Fantastic work, Johan! Great perspektive and wonderful tones!

  95. very well like the black here very much……<

  96. John Dunne 7 years ago

    Striking Johan. I hear you on the time thing though. I released an image at the beginning of this year that I actually shot in Jan 2010. 3 years before I felt I had it right :-)

  97. Didier Demaret 7 years ago

    Great !

  98. Meg Rousher 7 years ago

    Wonderful capture and I had a great time browsing your website :)

  99. kamal deep singh 7 years ago

    wonderful image johan….thank you….

  100. Johan Swanepoel 7 years ago

    Fabulous – worth the time spent !!

  101. Richard Murphy 7 years ago


  102. Dimuth Perera 7 years ago

    nice black tones 

  103. Simos Xenakis 7 years ago

    Love this, Johan. I like how the long leading lines of the pier meet the horizontal end. The shot has great balance and symmetry.

  104. Author

    @Ada: your comment is more then special enough Ada. Thank you!
    @David: merci David!
    @Wilfried: no snow, just extensive bird droppings that needed to be dealt with Wilfried! Thank you! 

  105. Author

    @Andreas: you are very welcome and thanks for the kind words!
    @christian: thank you!
    @John: thanks! I have a few “old” ones like waiting patiently to be rediscovered 🙂 

  106. Author

    @Didier: thanks Didier!
    @Meg: thanks and glad you enjoyed yourself. Thanks for finding me on Facebook as well!
    @Kamal: thank you Kamal!! 

  107. Author

    @Johan: thanks Mr. Busy 😉
    @Richard: thank you Richard!
    @Dimuth: many thanks Dimuth!
    @Simos: thanks for the compliment and your are welcome 🙂 

  108. Rosie Nixon 7 years ago

    Fabulous Johan and so worth pondering over for so long. 

  109. Michelle Potter 7 years ago

    Beautiful! Johan, for most things I create, I must put them aside for a while, too. It gives me a chance to get perspective. Fantastic shot…all your hard work made this so lovely!

  110. Henry Wong 7 years ago

    This photo make me thinking about life. Where I want to go? Look back of my life journey, feeling time is limited. I will work hard in the future.

  111. Looks swiss made :)) Very long and very beautiful Johan :)) 

  112. Giannis Gogos 7 years ago

    Wonderful tones and composition Johan 

  113. Yasmin Simpson 7 years ago

    Such an exquisiteeeee image!!!. Excellent, excellentttttt Johan :).
    Sure I can feel and see the time that you spent here, no more words than… Perfect!

  114. Patrice PVK 7 years ago

    It worth the wait… Really like this one.. 

  115. Author

    @Michelle: thanks for the compliment. For me it depends a little on whether it is color or B&W. Need to think about that 🙂
    @henry: glad it does that to you Henry!
    @Anette: many thanks Anette!

  116. Author

    @Giannis: thanks for the compliment Giannis!
    @Yasmin: your comments always put a smile on my face. Thanks for that 😀
    @Patrice: merci Patrice! 

  117. Vishal Kumar 7 years ago

    Beautiful Light & Great Composition 🙂
    Perfect Shot

  118. Jim Lundgren 7 years ago

    Great comp…absolutely love it. I can completely understand what you are talking about. I’ve had a couple of images I had to come back to over the course of a year to get them to where I wanted them to be. I would work on them for awhile and then delete everything in frustration :)

  119. I am sometimes PP a photo and don’t like it or I do not get out what I think is in the photo. days later I try again or as you describe weeks / months :-). Super shot and PP Johan 

  120. Author

    @Jim: looks like we all have the same frustrations sometimes 😉 Thanks for the kind words!
    @Walter: many thanks Walter!

  121. Tom Tran 7 years ago

    The tones and details are simply exquisite Johan.

  122. How stunning!! I love the wonderful contrast and details!! Those lines are perfect!!

    • Author

      thanks for the compliment Margaret!! Glad you like it :)

      • I love this one!! It’s gorgeous!! You are going to be my recommended photographer on the Landscape Photography Show on Tuesday. We can only show one photo and I’m showing your beautiful photo of the Alps with the snow blowing!! I promise NOT to mess up your name!!

        • Author

          I would be honored 🙂 Not sure which image you are referring to, but I trust you will choose a nice one ;)

  123. Kelley Richards 7 years ago


  124. Daniella Lewis 7 years ago

    Love it Johan !

  125. Vitor Ferreira 7 years ago

    Like this very much Johan !

  126. Lena Björndahl 7 years ago

    I had to share this beautiful image – wow!

  127. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Johan ! Great work, Love these dark tones!

  128. Author

    @Kelly: thank you Kelly!
    @Danielle: hey Danielle! Glad you love it! 🙂 Hope all is well with you!?
    @Vitor: many thanks Vitor!

    • Daniella Lewis 7 years ago

      I’m doing well Johan – thanks for asking. I hope you and yours are doing well too. Have a wonderful weekend!

      • Author

        All’s well here as well Danielle. Thanks. Have a great weekend too!

  129. Author

    @Lena: many thanks for the kind words and for sharing Lena!!!
    @Emanuele: 😀 Thanks for the kind words Emanuele! 

  130. wonderful work!

  131. Nikola Nikolski 7 years ago

    Very well done Johan recognizable story :-)

  132. Author

    @Оксана: thank you very much Oksana 🙂
    @Nikola: it’s a B&W thing for me … it takes more time before I am satisfied 🙂 Thanks for the compliment Nikola!

  133. Kurt Harvey 7 years ago

    Magnificent work Johan! All the waiting and tweaking really paid off. The light and tonality is amazing.

    • Author

      Hey Kurt! Thank you for the compliment! Hope all is well with you!?

      • Kurt Harvey 7 years ago

        Thnx Johan. hanging in there…working a lot these days. ;)

        • Author

          Hope you like your work Kurt 😉 And hope it is just temporary! Have a great weekend!

          • Kurt Harvey 7 years ago

            A great weekend to you as well Johan!

  134. Stephen Au 7 years ago

    Thanks Johan for the wonderful pic! I’m still looking for that kind of shot myself.

  135. Paul van de Loo 7 years ago

    Your efforts were worth it Johan !! Love the tonality here ;)

  136. Rohan Reilly 7 years ago

    Love the dark mood here Johan 

  137. David Shield 7 years ago

    Thats a a very top quality perspective and processing job Johan 

  138. I really can’t imagine anything that could be more perfect with this image.

  139. Michael menefee 7 years ago

    Serene and precise Johan, excellent work!

  140. Thanks Michael and Krystyna !

  141. Valesa Diamontes 7 years ago

    Can’t force my eyes to look away. What a hypnotizing scene! :)

  142. CJ Cox 7 years ago

    inspiring shot, love it!

  143. Enrique Palaez 7 years ago


  144. Nicholas Ong 7 years ago

    Serious fine art quality!

  145. Author

    Many thanks Enrique and Nicholas !

  146. Sandra Canning 7 years ago

    great one!

  147. Baldur McQueen 7 years ago

    Perfectly shot and processed, Johan!! The soft, tones in the water are gorgeous (seeing actual shadows in the water on the left ….and on the end pier, is quite fascinating) and the woodwork looks brilliant!

    – lovely to read about the patience you apply in your workflow as well ;-))

    • Author

      always a great pleasure to read your comments 🙂 Thanks for the feedback! Regarding may workflow: promised my self to leave the image alone for a few months now. There are a few bits and pieces I might want to adapt a bit at some point. Happy it is out now though 🙂 

  148. Joel Tjintjelaar 7 years ago

    It’s well worth the effort and time you took for it Johan – you are right: it’s not so much a technical issue why editing images can take so long but finding the right balance between tones, light, lines and all other things that make a good photograph. I haven’t posted anything new for 3 months already, still working on the same 2 images for months, still finding the right balance. This is a great photo!

  149. Marc Dechow 7 years ago

    Great work!

  150. Perfect exposure and PP here Johan 

  151. Neil Camara 7 years ago


  152. Author

    Henrik and Neil: thanks again both!

  153. Kerry Murphy 7 years ago

    Beautifully done Johan.

  154. Betty Manousos 7 years ago

    what a remarkable shot, johan! absolutely loved seeing this!:)

    • Author

      thank you very much Betty! It was challenge to process, but I like how it came out 🙂 

  155. Nicolai Neijhoft 7 years ago

    wow, this is so amazing! something like that i am dreaming about to do on my own 🙂

    need to buy a darker nd-filter before going to sardinia in april!

    • Author

      Thanks Nicolai! Glad you like it 🙂 Go for it … you will get addicted though!

  156. Mitchell Prout 7 years ago

    oh yea…. I love Silver Efex Pro 2. I downloaded the program to try it for 15 days and never intended to buy…. but now that i know what i’m missing out on without it… it’s going to become a necessity in my workflow. :-\

  157. Valesa Diamontes 7 years ago

    I should give it a try. I am looking at Color Efex and Silver Efex it seems everywhere I go I hear good things about both. ;)

    • Author

      Haven’t used Color Efex that much yet. Silver Efex is one of my favorites Valesa :)

      • Valesa Diamontes 7 years ago

        Hi Johan I recently acquired both programs but haven’t given them a test run yet. Can’t wait! :)

        • Author

          You won’t regret it Valesa! Make sure to watch a few video’s on the two programs to get you going. Quite a few things you can do (and overdo)! 

  158. Jukka Pinonummi 7 years ago

    Really nice shot .

  159. Marc Dechow 7 years ago

    Great work!!

  160. Author

    Thanks Jukka and Marc !

  161. Rohan Reilly 7 years ago

    Love the light here Johan 

  162. Shannon S. Myers 7 years ago

    absolutely beautiful….

  163. Manuela Azevedo 7 years ago

    Superb composition!

  164. Author

    Thank you both Shannon and Manuela :)

  165. That’s fantastic!!

  166. Valesa Diamontes 7 years ago

    Hi Johan, I recently acquired both programs but haven’t given them a test run yet. Can’t wait! :)

    • Author

      You won’t regret it Valesa! Make sure to watch a few video’s on the two programs to get you going. Quite a few things you can do (and overdo)! 

  167. Miguel Almeida 7 years ago

    Beautiful long exposure. Love the tone and the mood you managed to get into the image.

  168. Ian Gazzard 7 years ago

    Mighty fine image Johan. Patience has came good here! 

  169. Robert Skreiner 7 years ago

    Great photo and work Johan!

  170. Author

    @Ian: Yep! Thanks Ian 🙂
    @Robert: thanks again Robert!

  171. beautiful Lexp work – you have some wonderful images in your gallery

  172. Joan Munford 7 years ago

    Piers always are special to me but this capture beats them all!

    • Author

      Same here Joan. I keep getting back to some of them to get different perspectives and moods. It’s worth it :)

  173. Dominic Desbiens 7 years ago

    So inspiring! 

  174. Anna Rimovska 7 years ago

    Amazing shot …….beautiful!

  175. Fantastic image

  176. Mutita EdiblArt 7 years ago

    very nice :)

  177. Really like your images, well done Johan. 

  178. Encarna Gallart 7 years ago

    Is erg goed genomen…..apart

  179. Awesome! 🙂 

  180. Author

    Dank je wel Encarna! 🙂
    @David: thanks a bunch David! 🙂 

  181. Mutita EdiblArt 6 years ago

    Your work is so amazing, thanks for sharing :)

  182. Greg Mills 6 years ago

    Really nice, Johan – love the tones in this image. 

  183. Author

    @Mutita: thanks! 🙂
    @Greg: glad you like it Greg 🙂

  184. Michael Hopkins 6 years ago

    Nice photos all….

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