Tranquil dawn in black & white

Long exposure photograph in B&W featuring sunrise at Lake Sanetsch

Tranquil dawn in black & white
November 12, 2011 Johan Peijnenburg
In Photography
Black & white mountain image featuring a sunrise at Lac de Sanetsch with the Sanetschhorn mountain (2924m) in the background (by Johan Peijnenburg)
27mm – f/16 – 30sec – ISO100

A few weeks ago I posted a colour version of the sunrise at Lake Sanetsch in Switzerland. This is the same sunrise with a slightly different composition and processed in black & white. This black & white mountain image is a 30 second exposure at f/16. Used a Lee ND1.8 (6-stop) filter and a Singh-Ray ND Grad (3 stop). Processed in LR3 and Silver Efex Pro. I used a long exposure to blur the waves and reflections a bit.

I have a series of images from that day and I am not sure yet if I prefer this long exposure version in B&W or a normal version (with reflection) in B&W. Make sure to check back in to see the latter pop up in a week or so 🙂

Lake Sanetsch can be found near Gsteig, Switzerland, just on the border between the cantons of Bern and Valais. The lake is located at an altitude of 2,034 meter (6,673 feet) and can be reached either by cable car or by car. This photograph was taken at around 8:05 am. In the background you are seeing the sunrise lighting up the Sanetschhorn (2,924m/9,593ft).

Comments (98)

  1. Lynne Goodwin 8 years ago

    Love those reflections, Johan. Beautiful.

  2. Daniel Ewert 8 years ago

    I have yet to master b&w processing, but you did an awesome job with this one. Those tones look great to me.

  3. Peter Vooijs 8 years ago

    beautiful scene you can go to f22 then you have longer exposure try that also

  4. That’s good Johan! I wish I had more water around me, I mean more that just the tap or the bath tub, to try LE 😉

  5. Author

    Thanks Lynne!
    @Daniel: I am only starting to play with it myself. It’s fun!
    @Peter: Thanks! I have several versions at different apertures and exposure times. Trying to figure out what I like best …. short exposure with perfect reflections, longest exposure without any waves but hardly any reflections or something in between like this 🙂

  6. Author

    @Laurent: thanks. No lakes where you are?

  7. Ron Clifford 8 years ago

    Beautiful and serene. Looks cold though! Great work.

  8. Deborah Vos 8 years ago

    Leuke foto maar dit is wel een ander meer 😉

  9. Very nice Johan!

  10. Nathan Wirth 8 years ago

    gorgeous shot Johan …I especially like that shimmery reflection …

    • Author

      Thanks Nathan! Not sure yet if this is the winner of the set I have though 🙂

  11. Grant Murray 8 years ago

    Very good work Johan , strong comp and great reflections!!

  12. Richard McGibbon 8 years ago

    Very nice Johan

  13. Gorgeous

  14. Author

    Thanks Richard and Jao !! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  15. Great photo, thanks for sharing your your work. I have Silver Efex Pro and I am just beginning to explore the opportunities black & white can offer. Again, thanks for sharing.

  16. Royce Howland 8 years ago

    Beautiful, Johan ! Looks like home… 🙂

  17. Author

    @Turner: thanks and you’re welcome. Good luck with exploring 🙂
    @Royce: Thanks! You’re home is like paradise for shooting stuff like this 🙂

  18. Stefanie Loges 8 years ago

    Wonderful shot Johan!

  19. Johan Swanepoel 8 years ago

    Really great work Johan – the scene is so well balanced and the tones are just perfect. It looks like such a tranquil place to be.

  20. Athena Carey 8 years ago

    That is lovely Johan! It is like a darker version of the one I did. (without my cloud dilemma lol) 🙂

    • Author

      thanks! This was my first shot on that morning. Still debating between this one and a short exposure with reflection in B&W 🙂

      • Athena Carey 8 years ago

        I think mine like that was from around where Charles was when I first arrived. I am looking forward to returning to that place next year. 🙂

        • Author

          I might tag along 😉

          • Athena Carey 8 years ago

            I hope so. It was a fun outing. Must bring coffee next time though.

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 8 years ago

            … and hot chocolate Athena 🙂

          • Athena Carey 8 years ago

            Yes, of course Johan of the Ovomaltine variety. 😀

  21. A very nice scene, b&w fits perfectly. You’re amongst the masters of mountain lake photographers Johan!

  22. John Dunne 8 years ago

    Lovely image and well titled. Although I must say I prefer the colour one you shared earlier.

  23. Author

    @Wilfried: Thanks! A bit too much honor I think, but appreciated 🙂
    @Karsten: thanks! A fantastic location indeed and not often photographed 🙂
    @John: thank you! So tell, me why do you prefer the color one. Composition, reflection or just because it is in color?

    • John Dunne 8 years ago

      Ha it might be as simple as “it is in colour” 🙂

      In this instance I don’t believe the B&W conversion helps draw out anything specific – tone, shape, texture or contrast. Do you have a colour version of this image we could compare?

      • Author

        simple is good 🙂 The color version looks a lot like the one I posted earlier, except that the reflection is blurred. Should a B&W version draw out something specific in your view?

  24. Robert Esseboom 8 years ago

    great landscape shot

  25. Bill Pevlor 8 years ago

    Congrats on the Photo Extract selection. I might have missed this one if I didn’t see it there. 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks Bill! I just got the email from Jarek to inform me about that 🙂

  26. Joel Tjintjelaar 8 years ago

    I’m already coming over Johan ! Next year for sure – there are so many mountain lakes waiting for me:)
    That it is a great shot in BW!

    • Author

      you won’t regret it! Where will you be headed? Thanks for the compliment!

      • Joel Tjintjelaar 8 years ago

        I don’t know yet Johan, I think I will give it a good look in the weeks to come. But if you have any suggestions: feel free to share them with me:)

        • Author

          Athena pointed me to an overview of Swiss alpine lakes on wiki, you might want to have a look at to get some sense as to which part of the country you would prefer. I can definitely point you in the direction of a few nice ones Joel. Some of them are quite touristic though so if you have to go up, make sure to be the first one or last one up there 🙂

          • Joel Tjintjelaar 8 years ago

            Thanks Johan. I will definitely contact your or Athena when planning the trip.!

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 8 years ago

            Please do Joel and we’ll keep exploring them 🙂

          • Joel Tjintjelaar 8 years ago

            And if you have any photos of them then by all means share them here, that would be even better:)

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 8 years ago

            I certainly will Joel. There is more in the pipeline already and more to shoot on short term, especially when the snow line starts crawling down towards where the lakes are 🙂 You have to prepare for very slow moving clouds here in the Alps though and not a lot of wind. It’s a bit different then NL 🙂

          • Athena Carey 8 years ago

            shhhh Johan, I wasn’t going to tell him about the clouds until we get him here. 😉

  27. Joel Tjintjelaar 8 years ago

    @Athena: I heard that:) Don’t worry – I actually think clouds are not that important to me when shooting these mountain lakes. I think the sky would be too ‘heavy’ with clouds and the majestic mountains in it.

  28. Sumit Sen 8 years ago

    Terrific shot Johan. Love it!

  29. Author

    I’ve been featured with this image in Jarek Klimek’s “TOP Google+ Photos” again: have a look

  30. Myrna Weinreich 8 years ago

    Congrats Johan beautiful shot! 🙂

  31. Athena Carey 8 years ago

    Congratulations Johan – it’s a beautiful photo of a lovely place. And thanks for that day too. It was fun. 🙂

  32. Gerard Charnley 8 years ago

    Congrats on the Top G+ photo award Johan. It’s well deserved – this is a cracker of a photo.

  33. Author

    Thank you very much! Very kind Myrna!
    @Gerard: I really love the expression “cracker of a photo” 😀 Thanks!
    @Athena: It was and hopefully many more days like that to come! Thanks!

  34. Yasmin Simpson 8 years ago

    Beautiful as always! ✰

  35. Dave Pattinson 8 years ago

    Amazing detail in the photo!!!

  36. Claire Grigaut 8 years ago

    So pure! Very nice

  37. Piet Flour 8 years ago

    clean and very natural looking processing, superb BW and framing, perfect use of light moment

  38. Meg Rousher 8 years ago

    Beautiful capture Johan

  39. Robert Skreiner 8 years ago

    Really a great work! I like it!

  40. Author

    Thanks Robert and Meg! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  41. dene' miles 8 years ago

    amazing and serene scene. Stunning work Johan !!

  42. Todd Sisson 8 years ago

    Very Nice Johan Love the B&W.

  43. Kerry Murphy 8 years ago

    This is stunning, Johan! Beautiful scenery and you captured it amazingly!

  44. Siddharth Pandit 8 years ago


  45. SUPER++++++++++++++++

  46. Nikola Nikolski 8 years ago

    Great work here Johan very well exposed!!

  47. Lance Rudge 8 years ago

    Very tranquil scene and B&W adds the perfect mood.

  48. awesome

  49. Biplab Kumar Pal 8 years ago


  50. Author

    Thanks again Pawel and Biplab !

  51. Jaycee Crawford 8 years ago

    love love love your work!

  52. Johnny Bonnar 8 years ago

    That’s an incredible photo! Really love the swiss alps, the alpine lakes make them really special!

  53. Sandra Canning 8 years ago

    Fantastic water!! Beautifully composed!

  54. Author

    Thanks Sandra for the compliment and checking out my work 🙂 Nice to meet you!

  55. Subra Govinda 7 years ago

    Outstanding !!

    • Author

      Thanks again Subra and thanks for looking at all the other images 😀

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