Introducing Stepping Stones, a new photograph in B&W

Immediately when I first saw the landscape captured in this photograph in B&W, the two big rocks in the foreground seemed like stepping stones. Stepping Stones for reaching the beautiful mountains on the other side of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman). Like phases in life that need to be lived, to hopefully get you where you want to be at some point. I spent the first 40 years of my life working towards fulfilling a dream. A dream of living in the Alps during the remaining 80 years of my life, and to work there as a photographer. Yes, I plan to be at least 120 years old one day! It was a challenging journey. However, I did enjoy it and got there in the end!

Besides that, the rocks in this scene reminded me of something a Canadian ski teacher told me a long time ago when he sent me down a very steep triple diamond black trail with waaaaaay to many trees: “Forget about the trees. Just focus on the space in between them”! It worked (more or less)! So, try to forget about the stuff that might get you wet once in a while, and you might be going places 🙂

I captured this photograph in B&W near Préverenges in Switzerland using a Nikon D3x and a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. The combination of a 10-stop and 2-stop ND filter pushed the exposure time to 60 seconds. As a result, motion blur smoothened the lake surface. The sky was rather bright. Therefore, I needed to use a 2-stop graduated ND filter to balance the exposure.

Click on the photograph to learn more about Stepping Stones or to buy a print or license it.

Cheers, Johan 🙂

Stepping Stones, Lake Geneva and the Alps

Rocks lined up as stepping stones in Lake Geneva (lac Léman) with the French Alps rising above a band of clouds, in B&W.

256 thoughts on “Introducing Stepping Stones, a new photograph in B&W

  1. Jan Vermeulen says:

    I’m focusing on the stepping stones, hope I don’t ski into them! The Alps seem a magical world floating in the sky, to get there using the stepping stones I would have to put on my “Zevenmijlslaarzen” I’m afraid (Now where did I put those?)

  2. Greg Mills says:

    Outstanding work Johan. The mountains coming through the clouds are a completely unexpected treat. Very nice toning throughout. 

  3. Stephen Cairns says:

    This is a fantastic image Johan. I saw this a day or two ago and it has been sticking in head. The attention to craft is readily apparent. The tones look great. It’s the composition that really speaks to me. I’m fascinated by images that suggest transitions, both visually and metaphorically. This works on many levels for me. Brilliant.

  4. Ben Locke says:

    absolutely superb. I love it. I wish I could go back to Lake Geneva. When I last went I was a child with no interest in photography.

  5. Tom Tran says:

    Beautiful. It would take a seriously long running jump and air time to reach that rock in the distance, I bet! ;)

  6. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Sinead: that is very nice to hear Sinead! Thanks 🙂
    @Marc: thanks Marc! That was actually quite tricky as I was standing on a row of stones in the middle of the lake with not a lot of room to manouvre 🙂
    @Tania: many thanks Tania 😀 

      • Louisa Catharine Forsyth says:

        Hi dear Johan, yes, it is, just so hectic as have had just a few days to find a new home and work is full on too 🙂 Happy though 😉 Hope all is good your side too:)

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          Busy is not always bad. Glad you are happy!! Here all is well as well. Enjoying the nice weather and looking forward to a nice couple of days out shooting end as of tomorrow :)

  7. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Rohan: many thanks Rohan. Appreciated!
    @Cameron: lol, glad you like it Cameron! You can speak up again now 😉
    @Seung: thank you very much Seung and thanks for stopping by!! 

  8. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Manuel: thank you Manuel! Really enjoyed your recent images!
    @Horia: many thanks for the kind words Horia and nice to meet you!!
    @Elena: thanks Elena 😀 

  9. Horia Bogdan says:

    Love the layers in this scene…and especially what goes around above the horizon – i think that’s quite unexpected and keeps the viewer captivated :)

  10. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Michael: thank you Michael!
    @Barbara: many thanks Barbara! For more you’ll have to scroll down or re-visit once in a while ;)

  11. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Radek: thanks for the wow Radek! Always appreciate those 😉
    @Rikard: thank you! I wasn’t either until a year ago, but liking it more and more. It’s a nice addition to what I was already doing and doing B&W does improve “seeing” 🙂
    @Margaret: many thanks again Margaret! 

  12. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Kerry: hey Kerry! Thanks a bunch 🙂
    @Lili: thank you Lili. Hope all is wel in Barcelona!
    @Christa: thank you!!! Nope bought the software from B&H in the US. I wanted the complete collection for LR/Aperture/Photoshop which is not available at a reasonable price here.

  13. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Alex: thank you Alex and thanks for stopping by!
    @Neal: many thanks for the kind words Neal. Glad ou like it!
    @Nora: thanks for the wow Nora 😀 

  14. Randall Sanger says:

    Stunning image, Johan! Such an amazing scene and the long exposure work is sheer perfection! Enjoyed the narrative as well . . . great advice!

  15. Neal Pritchard says:

    this is stunning … love the line of clouds and the mountain top and then this wonderful rock in the silvery water … pretty much a perfect composition …

  16. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Thanks Gemma and many thanks for sharing!
    @Lisa: quite nice works for me Lisa 😉 Thanks!
    @Neil: thanks buddy. Long time no see. Glad to see you around again :)

  17. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Catherine: thanks for the awesome Catherine!!
    @Manuel: I am not sure how, but my guess is that you were busy. Glad you like it Manuel!
    @Margaret: thank you very much :)

  18. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Ondřej: thank you very much!
    @Sophie: hey thanks Sophie 🙂 Thanks for singing 😀
    @Wes: many thanks for the kind words Wes!

  19. Steve Hambley says:

    Congratulations Johan, on this photograph being chosen by Photoextract as one of the 10 TOP Google+ Photographs for June 11- well deserved it is awesome!

  20. Yasmin Simpson says:

    Woww did you see Johan, missing so many beautiful images of your that feed my soul with peaceful and lovely feelings.
    Simple beautiful! and congrats for PhotoExtract always very well deserve it… :)

  21. Sophie Vandebuerie says:

    Congrats Johan ! This is a magical work with a fresh abstract compo!! Wow wow wow!! 🙂
    Celebration….tralalalalalààà 😀 :-D

  22. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Ratul: Thanks for the compliment and share Ratul! Yes, I just notice that I have been included 🙂 Thanks!
    @Wilfried: if you want we could do a LE shoot at the Vierwaldstättersee one day 🙂 

  23. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Yannick: merci beaucoup Yannick 🙂
    @Fabio: glad you like it Fabio. Hope all is well!
    @Stan: hey Stan. Thanks for the compliment!

  24. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Wilfried: thanks a bunch Wilfried! One day when you are a bit less hyper-active you might enjoy shooting LE’s with me 😀 We both have at least 80 years to go you know!
    @Eric: merci beaucoup Eric!
    @Margaret: hey Margaret. Nice to “see” you again and glad you like it 🙂 Just noticed that you seemed to have dropped from my circles. Dunno why. Sorry for that. Just added you again ! 

  25. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Andrew: thanks Andrew! And we both made it to Olivier’s summary 😉 I am looking forward to at least 80 of photography. Let’s hope disks keep growing !
    @Sharon: thanks very much Sharon. Really appreciate your comments! 

  26. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Ian: thanks for stopping by again Ian! Many thanks for the kind words. Looking forward to see yours!
    @Kurt: thanks a lot Kurt! Yes, those are he kind of sayings that stick to memory 😀
    @Allan: thank you Allan!

  27. Wilfried Haferland says:

    Wonderful exposure. I like those many details in every part of the composition, which makes it a perfect candidate for a big print. There is much more to come within the next 80 years I hope;-)! Thank you!

  28. Andrew Sanigorski says:

    This is fantastic Johan and enjoyed your thoughts behind the image and that great line: “forget about trees, just focus on the space between them”. The tones, gradients are superb and of course the great comp. Look forward to another 80 years of images – better buy another hard drive!

  29. Kurt Harvey says:

    Absolutely gorgeous work Johan and I had a good chuckle about focusing on the space between the trees. Very good advice. :))) 

  30. Ian Gazzard says:

    Such a beautiful mono Johan. Been working on some mono shots.. I would be over the moon with a shot like this man. First class !

  31. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    Thanks Jim !
    @Maggy: glad you like it Maggy!!
    @Charles: thanks Charles. Glad you do! I will keep doing both then 😉
    @Scott: Thank you for the compliment and for stopping by !

  32. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    Thanks for the compliment David 🙂
    @Suzie: thanks and you’re welcome. I might need 3 tripods then to shoot images but will manage 😀 Think it good to be a bit optimistic :)

  33. Suzie Javed says:

    Fantastic image and composition,
    Wishing you all the best for fulfilling your dream of being 120, I know it is possible because we have a lady in our residential home who is going to be 110 in September, I have not seen a more positive thinker than her, still reads, knits and lots more, she dances on her every birthday although she is nearly bionic(joint replacements)!

  34. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    Thank you Sangeeth!
    @Sassi: who knows. That would be cool. Thanks for the kind words Sassi! 
    @Mikko: thanks Mikko. Always appreciate your words :)

  35. Dominique Dubied says:

    Great shot+Johan ! Where is it exactly? I went to Morges some weeks ago, but did not find a very interesting spot.

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          They didn’t have it for Canon so far Dominique, but it sure is a nice gimmick. In LR4 all the location info is derived from it as well, so saves a lot of time doing meta data. I also use it a lot to figure out which mountains I shot when I arrive home 🙂

  36. Sassi Sassmannshausen says:

    Like a Matte Painting for a movie (I love Matte Paintings), very nice work Johan
    (Having said that, I wouldn’t wonder to see it one day as a cover image of a “record/CD”.)

  37. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    Thanks Sandy and thanks again Anette 🙂
    @Russ: thanks for the nice Russ 🙂
    @Stefanie: thanks for the compliment Stefanie!
    @Lisa: hey Lisa! Thank you 🙂 

  38. Stefanie Loges says:

    Wonderful Johan, like the gradient tones from the water and how the mountain peaks kinda dublicate in the foreground. Great work!

  39. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Vitor: thank you Vitor!
    @Baldur: thanks for the feedback Baldur! Much appreciated!
    @Alexandre : thank you as well!

  40. Alexandre Fagundes de Fagundes says:

    Deep thoughts, the dlouds look like a wave coming from the mountains, kind of surreal, great image!

  41. Baldur McQueen says:

    Completely perfect! The composition, the moment, the mountains, the b&w processing and that incredible softness. Excellent work, Johan!

  42. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    Yep and thanks Scott 🙂
    @Constanța: bonjour 🙂
    @Matthias: thanks. Very kind Matthias! Just go out there to the right location with the right filters and you will get there :)

  43. Matthias Haeussler says:

    pictures like that really are a dream to me. One day I want to be able to do that, too 🙂 excellent Johan Peijnenburg

  44. Peter Paul Müller says:

    Fantastic Background ….teach LE Clouds in future…..looks very natural…. ,congrats for you, Johan !

  45. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Jany: merci beaucoup Jany and very nice to meet you 🙂
    @David: thank you David. Hope all is well in Belgium!
    @Markus: good morning to you as well Markus. Thanks for the kind words! 

  46. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Francesco: thank you very much! Would love to know where you find your rocky coastlines in Italy. Very tempted to come that way soon!
    @Christof: I sidetrack once in a while and sometimes a sidetrack becomes a main track. I like doing this type of photography a lot nowadays 🙂 Thanks for the compliment!

  47. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Andy: thank you very much Andy!
    @Athena: really glad you like it that much! I shot this when you were shooting that lovely pier remember?
    @Richard: hey Richard! Thanks for the compliment!
    @Ada: very kind of you Ada and you gotta love those ski teachers. I guess you can visualize the scene that was in front of me back then 🙂 

      • Johan Peijnenburg says:

        this one was shot in Morges. There was this long pier and that funky construction next to it we didn’t know how to shoot properly. At the end of the day we ended up at the part of the beach were the bird watchers were.

  48. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Michael: glad you like it! Thanks for checking it out!
    @Sandra: that’s a great compliment Sandra! Thanks!
    @Sumit: thanks you Sumit! Hope all is well over there!
    @Nikola: dank je wel Nikola! 

  49. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Sonja: thank you very much Sonja. Thanks for stopping by!
    @Robin: thanks Robin and yes very true! Are you planning to be at least a 130 then. Would be nice to have a few people to chat with then 😉
    @Ben: thanks a bunch Ben! 

  50. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Jen: thank you and very nice to meet you!
    @Trey: thanks Trey. You look pretty smart yourself 😉
    @George: glad you like it George. Thanks! 

  51. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Sudip: nice description! Thanks for the kind words 🙂
    @Martin: thank you Martin! Me too 😉
    @Meg: thanks for the compliment! And yes I will be 120 year old one day (at least).

  52. Ada M says:

    This is a superb, what am I saying, a perfect image! and I love the words your ski teacher told you….very inspirational and very true!

  53. Robin Griggs Wood says:

    This is majestic, Johan, and a wonderful post to go with it. Yes, you can live to be 120 years old––the key to living that long is probably that you plan for it; most people forget to do that! ;oD

  54. Sudip Ghate says:

    Stunning shot Johan! Very surreal, the clouds almost seem like waves about to break over the icy calm lake onto the rocks. Lovely long exposure!

  55. Julia Anna Gospodarou says:

    This is gorgeous Johan . The centered composition is wonderful and what a beautiful soft water and sky! Love it! :)

  56. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Carsten: danke vielmals Carsten!
    @Don:Thanks for the very kind words Don! 
    @Anette: Nah not that old. I just have my moments 😉 LE thingy will be in few months, so you have to be patient 🙂 Thanks Anette! 

  57. Anette Mossbacher says:

    man you are old :)) but I like very much your image. It tells me somehow that I need to invest a few more bucks in one more filter unless I start stacking them all on top and more and more and more, geeees when is this LE thingy due ?? :))
    Wonderful image, love it Johan :))

  58. Carsten Kopp says:

    Very beautiful photo. The combination of the minimalistic foreground and the clouds and mountains in the background is fantastic.

  59. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @shane: thanks Shane! Glad you like the titel as well 🙂
    @Emanuele: thank you for the compliment and for stopping by Emanuele 🙂 

  60. shane holsclaw says:

    stepping stones…PERFECT! that’s what I immediately thought of when I first saw this image. like I could run and jump to each one. love how the mountain is peeking through the layer of clouds. beautiful work my friend.

  61. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Pranab: thanks and nice to meet you 🙂
    @Daniel: thanks Daniel. Always love it when part of the clouds are moving and others just sit there quietly :)

    • Pranab Banerjee says:

      Great pleasure “meeting” you as well Johan . Hopefully we will have the opportunity to meet face to face someday in the future somewhere on this planet 🙂 In the mean time, I will look forward to seeing more of your fantastic photography as you capture them!

  62. Pranab Banerjee says:

    This is simply fantastic,+Johan ! Love the linear visual separation between the water and the ground/mountain. And I am also digging the wonderfully diffused shadow of the foreground rock !!! Just amazing overall.

  63. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Mark 😉 Thanks a bunch. Glad you like it!
    @Grant: nice to see you around Grant. Thanks for the compliment.

  64. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Aidan: Thanks Aidan and nice to meet you!
    @Pam: thanks for the compliment and the visit!
    @Davorin: many thanks as as well Davorin. Hope you are doing well !!

  65. Jerry Johnson says:

    An absolutely glorious photo Johan and I really appreciate the words in your post as well! I wouldn’t bet against you hitting 120 either! 🙂

    Your photos are always a visual treat for me. (I did like this one on the black background I confess. 🙂 It helped to pull out and emphasise the tips of the alps for me.)

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      yes, this one definitely works well on black. As usual I do prefer it on white though 😉 Thanks for the compliment!

  66. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Joel: I am blushing now Joel 🙂 Thanks!!! And I wasn’t sure yet if I was done with it …. guess you know the feeling 😉
    @Yann: Many thanks Yann!
    @Mike: Glad you like it !!

  67. Joel Tjintjelaar says:

    That looks fantastic Johan! I think it’s one of your best LE B&W photos. The tonal gradations in the water and the silvery look of it are just fantastic. Great work!

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