Two abandoned piers in a tranquil Lac de Neuchâtel - long exposure in black & white

May 7, 2012 Johan Peijnenburg
In Photography
Long exposure photograph with two abandoned piers in a tranquil lake near Neuchâtel (Johan Peijnenburg)
24mm – f/11 – 63 seconds – ISO100 – D3x with 24-70mm f/2.8

A few weeks ago I visited Lac de Neuchâtel near Estavayer-le-Lac in Switzerland with two friends. The plan was to do some long exposure photography together. It was a very windy day with dark clouds. Luckily there were also a few little patches of blue, to let some sunlight slip trough once in a while. We searched for interesting locations along the borders of the lake for quite a while. At some point we got lucky and stumbled into a little hidden beach with 6 or 7 abandoned piers in various states of decay. So we found our subjects, had some heavy waves, an interesting sky with cloud movement and patches of light hitting the lake. Great ingredients for long exposure photography.

Because (and despite) of the wind, I decided to do go for exposures of one to three minutes to smoothen the water as much as possible. I expected the waves and light patches to create a nice milky and soothing effect in the resulting images. The shot above is a one of the images I got away with: a rough looking lake magically turned into a tranquil one. I hope you like this long exposure photograph!?

I used a Lee 10-stop ND filter in combination with a Lee 3-stop ND filter. I processed the image with Adobe’s Lightroom 4 and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2.

Comments (185)

  1. Dave Pattinson 8 years ago

    Very peaceful, love the composition!!!!

  2. Shelly Gunderson 8 years ago


  3. Rznag Rmrod 8 years ago

    superb shot Johan .. i like this a lot

  4. Manual Votta 8 years ago

    Wow Johan, this is a stunning and breathtaking seascape, really incredible!

  5. Athena Carey 8 years ago

    So serene Johan! And I know just where you were standing (or sitting on the overturned boat?) when you took this. 🙂 It was a lovely day with you and Michael. I am already looking forward to the next. :)

  6. Dane Clingan 8 years ago


  7. Author

    @Shelly and @Rznag: thank you !!!
    @Manuel: glad you like it Manuel!
    @Athena: thank you 🙂 I was sitting on an overturned boat yes! Looking forward to the next one as well!

  8. Diego Cattaneo 8 years ago

    Awesome shot! I’m taking notes :)

  9. Author

    @Dane: thanks for the compliment Dane!
    @Diego: thanks! Any lakes near where you are?

    • Diego Cattaneo 8 years ago

      of course! there’s a little one, the Lake of Ceresole Reale, it’s the starting point of many hiking path :)

      • Author

        thanks …. that’s only a 4 hour drive for me 🙂 It’s located in a national parc no? Is it nice over there

        • Diego Cattaneo 8 years ago

          yes Gran Paradiso national park… some Bearded Vultures live there ;)

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 8 years ago

            I am going to check it out Diego. It is a nice route via one of my favorite mountain passes!

          • Diego Cattaneo 8 years ago

            so we can schedure a visit :)

  10. Keith Dixon 8 years ago

    Amazing Johan, Love it :)

  11. Sudip Ghate 8 years ago

    Lovely photo Johan! It just whispers serenity ;)

  12. Author

    Thanks Keith and Sudip for the kind words and the visit :)

  13. So peaceful :)

  14. Meg Rousher 8 years ago

    Wonderful ~ I love this :)

  15. Author

    Thanks a buch Liz and Meg. Appreciate it a lot !

  16. Hans Berendsen 8 years ago

    simply gorgeous .. love it, Johan!

  17. Author

    Yeah why not Diego. I will just call it a alpine photo walk instead of a Swiss photo walk :)

    • Diego Cattaneo 8 years ago

      awesome! I’ve to find the right weekend… free from my “wedding planner” stuff ;)

      • Author

        Just let me know Diego and maybe we can make it work. Maybe there would be others who like to join as well …

  18. Yann Lefeuvre 8 years ago

    Great shot, I am impressed by your LE captures.

  19. Beverley Aston 8 years ago

    Perfection !!

  20. Stefanie Loges 8 years ago

    Wow Johan, what a sublime mood you created here !! Like the beautiful tones and the balance due to the negative space plus the 2:1, my prefered format :))

    • Author

      Thanks Stefanie! Thought the 2:1 fitted the subject better. It was a struggle to decide where to put the horizon … in the middle worked and at the bottom as well.

      • Stefanie Loges 8 years ago

        It´s perfect for me as it is Johan :)) Oh and I forgot to add this hint of a village on the upper left, glad you left that inside :))

        • Author

          thanks and well spotted. I did “mystify” that village and the mountain range behind it a touch to balance the image a bit better.

  21. Mikael Sh 8 years ago

    lovely le shot with a sweet, lonesome composition and tonality too.

    Very nice Johan

  22. I really need those Lee Filters, too. This rocks so much Johan Peijnenburg

  23. Author

    @Mikael: thank you!!
    @Matthias: thanks for the rocking comment! And yes, you should get them. They are hard to get … I did get lucky though … broke a big stopper last week and received a replacement today already …. hihaaa:)

  24. Instant bliss, I get lost in this, so beautifully done and phenomenal seen large!

  25. wonderful temperate light and nice details…, fantastic LE work, Johan.

  26. Milena Llieva 8 years ago


  27. Author

    Hey thanks Milena and Peter! Glad you like it!

  28. Dominique Dubied 8 years ago

    Superb minimalist image Johan ! It is incredible how areas by lakes can be so interesting sometimes! Congrats!

    • Author

      thanks! Yes they can. This was my first attempt for LE’s at Lac de Neuchâtel. It was worth it!

  29. Mark Esguerra 8 years ago

    Amazing shot!

  30. Exquisite, Johan! It’s really hard to believe that the water was rough––it’s just perfect!

  31. Hengki Koentjoro 8 years ago

    Great minimalism

  32. Author

    @Mark: glad you like it Mark!
    @Robin: thanks! Yes, it was. It is getting warmere here now by the way 😀
    @Hengki: thanks for the compliment Hengki!

  33. Jerry Johnson 8 years ago

    Johan for me, the soft but pronounced horizon is my favorite aspect of this gorgeous photo.

    White is the proper background for it, indeed. :-)

  34. Dylan van Graan 8 years ago

    Like it very much Johan

  35. Author

    Jerry: thanks Jerry for the compliment and having a look “on white”! Sorry, forgot to mention you irt the theme … I am losing track 🙂
    Dylan: thank you! Hope all is wel in SA!

    • Dylan van Graan 8 years ago

      All is well, winter is making its way over here. Do you want it back so you can send us more cool photos of mountains? ;-)

      • Author

        thank you … but nah … I have plenty of winter stuff still to proces. I am enjoying the warmer weather now :)

        • Dylan van Graan 8 years ago

          Glad I’m not the only one behind schedule.

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 8 years ago

            I sometimes catch up, but then I always decide that it is better to go shooting then sit behind a computer screen :)

          • Dylan van Graan 8 years ago

            Go shooting I say! Have a great evening Johan, you can be proud of this one.

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 8 years ago

            tomorrow again 🙂 Have a great evening as well!

  36. Michael Diblicek 8 years ago

    Wow, that’s a stunning LE Johan. Love the Pano 2:1 format, it really works so well with this.
    Beautiful processing, love all that central light in the centre of the image. Wonderful smooth water.
    And the hills and town in the top right really give some wonderful balance to the overall image.

    • Author

      pfjew, really glad you like it! You saw a preview of this one on my LCD using the hoodman thingy remember? Now you know why i wasn’t shooting in portrait mode :D

      • Michael Diblicek 8 years ago

        Yeah, i can see why now, the horizontal format is class.

        • Author

          the only doubt I had was about where to put the horizon and subsequently the piers. All three options I had worked quite well, but liked this one best.

          • Michael Diblicek 8 years ago

            personally i think it works well as it is in terms of composition and horizon.
            It was quite difficult to get any height here , giving us the opportunity to pull the piers down from the horizon.
            The fact that you used both piers in the composition, compensates for the additional height.

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 8 years ago

            thanks for the confirmation! The one I took sitting down on my knies on the windy pier, worked out very well as well to my surprise. How were your images from this location?

  37. markus rienzner 8 years ago

    wow..the composing is wonderful and this long exposing image its brilliant!!!

  38. Paul Turkowski 8 years ago

    Awesome work Johan! Really like this composition.

  39. Steve Aldrich 8 years ago

    I like those hints of places beyond.

  40. Tom Tran 8 years ago

    Beautiful work!
    Yes, Johan. I need to learn to make images like this. Not right away of course…but hopefully some day!

    • Author

      thanks for the compliment! If the passion is there, you will get there. And it actually is a nice and different way of photographing:)

      • Tom Tran 8 years ago

        I agree. I’m very passionate with it at the moment. :)

  41. Vitor Ferreira 8 years ago

    Very cool image!

  42. Nikola Nikolski 8 years ago

    Great work Johan as I say before, minimalism, LE and water surface a great combination….

  43. David Herreman 8 years ago

    Perfect LE my friend!! :)

  44. Kurt Harvey 8 years ago

    Gorgeous work Johan! I’m glad it worked out as this is a very beautiful scene.

  45. Great LE work Johan ! This image gives me a suggestion: the two piers say me something about the continuity and the interruption of existence…

  46. Author

    @markus rienzner: glad you like it Markus!
    @Paul Turkowski: thanks for the kind words!
    @Steve Aldrich: thanks Steve. Well spotted. Thanks for stopping by!

  47. Author

    @Vitor: Thanks 🙂
    @Nikola: Very true! Thanks!
    @David: merci David 🙂
    @Kurt: glad you like it Kurt! It was an all or nothing day 🙂
    @Emanuele: glad there is a story for you and that you like it!

  48. Maggy Meyer 8 years ago

    Wowww, what a great work, Johan!!! Outstanding image!!!

  49. Yasmin Simpson 8 years ago

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful……… ;)

  50. Michael menefee 8 years ago

    Love the long crop, very good work on the exposure choice too.

  51. Guy Gale 8 years ago

    Great composition and tones.

  52. Robert Skreiner 8 years ago

    Wonderful work! Johan

  53. Suzanne Goodwin 8 years ago

    Love the almost infinite quality of the horizon line. Truly lovely image.

  54. This is incredibly beautiful! It’s like a dream and I don’t want to wake up! It’s extraordinary!!!!

  55. I’ve had this image sitting on-screen for awhile doing things and just beautiful to look at the screen when walking by. Really love what you’ve done here Johan. it’s an awesome minimal comp too with a great feel. Great work as always.

  56. Author

    @Maggy: thank you. I always love your enthousiasme 😀
    @Yasmin: thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks …… 😉
    @Michael: thanks for the kind words Michael!
    @Guy: thank you and thanks for stopping by!
    Thanks Robert and Suzanne!!
    @Margaret: you’re too kind 🙂 Glad it’s not a nightmare 😉
    @Andrew: your comment made my day! Much appreciated!

  57. Gemma Costa 8 years ago

    wow, what a wonder, so calm and in a perfect light

  58. Ben Coope 8 years ago

    Nice one Johan , love the crop and the horizon in the top 3rd.

  59. Superb shot Johan Peijnenburg

  60. Hi Johan … I viewed large and small. Large is much better, as usual. Wonderful image, love it :)

  61. Don Spenner 8 years ago

    Very nice Johan!

  62. Olivier Du Tré 8 years ago

    I like the tension in this one. The whole left side, although empty, balances this frame out nicely. Well done!

  63. Author

    @Gemma, @Don, @Ben, @Dawid: thanks all for the nice comments!
    @Anette: thanks! Have you gone practicing with the new stuff already?

    • what do you think ? Sitting at home and babysitting our dog or what -:)))) just this morning I went up to our lake in the forest and did a few test runs. I need to check them out later. To busy now. Btw, there was a big stopper on the fotoflohmarkt, but sold already. Did you buy it ? Was 200CHF. Cheaper to get it than sent from the UK! I got now all my stuff….ooohhh all, yeah. Me happy 🙂 Wildlife here, my daughter just told me there is a black panther running loose in Swissy! Shall we go after it, would be like finding a needle on the Matterhorn 🙂 

      • Diego Cattaneo 8 years ago

        Anette, what new stuff did you get?? :)

        • Author

          Was just curious Anette 🙂 I received my stuff from them as well!

          • Anette Mossbacher 8 years ago

            @Diego New stuff is Lee filters. We have found a reseller in the UK which has most of the “stuff” in stock. Well, now maybe not anymore. Johan and me have been shopping last week and the week before 🙂
            Now I just want a Singh Ray filter reverse. That is costy and the shipping is more than 60 US bucks, …. are you still sitting on your chair Diego ? :)) The shipping is insane from the US. I also want a new bag ( old one will fall appart soon, finally found what I was looking for ) Europe, forget to search for it, it is not sold here in Europe. I wish I would still live in Asia. There I could get everything. But to add another 65 US bucks on a quite expensive bag. Will check Ryan air if they fly over. Than at least I can have bacon and eggs :)

  64. Ian Gazzard 8 years ago

    Nice! Really liking the Le Johan. Looks like it was a productive day for you guys!

  65. Christopher Dael 8 years ago

    Stunning–beautiful in its simple composition and timeless mood.

  66. Author

    @Ian: thanks Ian! It was a great day with some nice results 🙂
    @Christopher: thanks for the compliment Christopher and nice to meet you!

  67. Laura Riediker 8 years ago

    I like this one pretty much, where have you taken this?:)

    • Author

      Hey Laura. Thank you. This is Lac de Neuchâtel near Estavayer-le-Lac. I am hoping to go shoot long exposures near you, but that all depends on when I can pick up certain gear :)

  68. Maurizio Pontini 8 years ago

    Great minimalist shot

  69. Randall Sanger 8 years ago

    Such a beautiful image, Johan! Strong composition!

  70. Kerry Murphy 8 years ago

    Soooo smooth! Just stunning, Johan!

  71. Sandy Schepis 8 years ago

    That is so cool, Johan! Great work!

  72. Author

    Maurizio, Randall, Kerry and Sandy: thank you all very much for the kind words :)

  73. beautiful. makes me want to just sit there and look at it – and maybe meditate

  74. Francesco Gola 8 years ago

    Pure beauty Johan! Well done my friend!!!

  75. Lili Ana 8 years ago

    Tranquility indeed. Beautiful :)

  76. Johan, this is of absolute tranquility, it’s almost frozen! Good you preserved the structure of the clouds, and the framing is… perfect. Thank you for posting this one, my friend!

  77. Patrice PVK 8 years ago

    I really need a ND filter… 🙂 Cool shot, peaceful..

  78. Andy Lee 8 years ago

    Great minimal image Johan! Silky smooth, masterful!

  79. Author

    @Thomas: thanks you. Glad you feel zen!
    @Francesco: thanks and hope all is well in Italy!
    @Lili: thanks for the compliment 🙂
    @Wilfried: thanks! Did you ever try LE’s or is that too dangerous .. uhm, slow for you?
    @Andy: thanks a bunch Andy!
    @Patrice: merci!

    • I did LE’s, I like that kind of photography. But I can’t afford to carry a tripod up to mountains and on climbs that are known to push you to your personal performance limits and beyond… Additionally, you’d never have time to use it. But – luckily – I can enjoy yours :-)!

      • Author

        I was expecting an answer like that Wilfried:) Have a great weekend!

  80. Goldie B 8 years ago


  81. So peaceful, and almost eerie… well done!

  82. Jerry Johnson 8 years ago

    Johan: as I had the pleasure of saying earlier in the week, this is a gorgeous photo!! Congrats, but it is no surprise that this beauty was the most popular MCM photo.

  83. Samia Elsaid 8 years ago

    johan peijnenburg,this is not a mere photo,it is serenity whithin a photo.amazing horizon

  84. Author

    Goldie and Gabriele: thank you!
    Jerry: thanks again!
    Samia: thanks for the very kind words!

  85. Martin Deanda 8 years ago

    Looks icy. Nice shot

  86. Allan Jocson 8 years ago

    Johan Peijnenburg congrats on the MCM pic of the week!!!
    Nice pic…

  87. Christian Weltle 8 years ago

    Wellness for my eyes 🙂 I love the calm mood of this shot. Great one!

  88. Sumit Sen 8 years ago

    Very nicely done!

  89. An amazing minimalistic LE image with an interesting pov!
    Great great great Johan !!

  90. Johan Swanepoel 8 years ago

    A great capture Johan – well done !

  91. Martin Weibel 8 years ago

    Hey Johan Peijnenburg. Congratulation for the MCM Most Popular Photo of the Week. Bravo a Masterpiece.. Chapeau

  92. Peter Vasilyev 8 years ago

    Surreal shot. Great!

  93. Author

    Martin: it does, doesn’t it 🙂 Thanks for the feedback!
    Allan: thank you and glad you like it!
    Christian: that’s what I wanted to achieve. Thanks!
    Sumit: thanks Sumit. Glad you are back :)

  94. Author

    Sophie: thanks, thanks, thanks!
    Johan: thanks for the compliment Johan!
    Martin: danke vielmals!
    Peter: thank you as well for the kind words!

  95. No doubt abouts. It’s a superb photo. The finest grays ever I saw.

  96. David Bell 8 years ago

    Boy oh boy I can just stare at this stunning, tranquil image for hours. Absolutely goegeous!

    • Author

      Thank you very much for the compliment David!!! Really glad you like it so much 🙂

  97. Carsten Kopp 8 years ago

    Excellent minimalistic long exposure shot. Great work !

  98. Ada M 8 years ago

    ooo, this is such an incredible picture Johan Peijnenburg

  99. Markus Landsmann 8 years ago

    Johan Peijnenburg good evening and that looks wonderful.

  100. walter gawronski 8 years ago

    Great shot and a well deserved winner Johan , your work is reminiscent of that of one of my favourite Monochrome Photographers, Hengki Koentjoro who does consistently amazing work.

  101. Eric Rousset 8 years ago

    Great LE Johan , I’m sure u had good fun with Athena and Michael

  102. Piper Mackay 8 years ago

    LOVE LOVE LOVE….This inspires me to get out of my box and try something new.

  103. Author

    @Walter: thanks for the compliment! I love +Hengki Koentjoro’s work as well 🙂
    @Eric: thank you! Yes, it was good fun. Pitty you are not closer to CH. You could join one day :)
    @Piper: thanks thanks thanks 😉 Glad you like it! Long exposure photography is different but very relaxing as well! For me it is a nice change from what I usually do.

  104. Author

    @Markus: thank you as well Markus!

  105. Sharon Thomas 8 years ago

    Beautiful….well composed and processed!

  106. Mikko Tyllinen 8 years ago

    Very peaceful and magically beautiful Johan!

  107. Steve Barge 8 years ago

    So amazingly calming – beautiful soft light

  108. I love it! The effect worked perfectly….it is so serene and beautiful.

  109. Author

    Mikko: thanks again Mikko!
    Steve: thanks Steve. Glad you like it 🙂
    Sinead: love it that you love it!

  110. Joel Tjintjelaar 8 years ago

    You’re definitely talented at LE photography Johan! Great exposure and composition. The smooth tonal gradations are a great touch and it’s that what makes a great seascape LE photograph! Or for that matter it’s what makes a great BW photograph in general – Looking forward to more!

  111. Rohan Reilly 8 years ago

    Stunning Johan, really like the composition and fantastic tones

  112. Nathan Wirth 8 years ago

    Gorgeous light and tone

  113. Jan van Erven 8 years ago

    Wonderful in simplicity Johan!…

  114. David Shield 8 years ago

    Excellent LE and processing work, Johan.

  115. Francis Gagnon 8 years ago

    Superb composition and light, Johan !

  116. Laurent Coppée 8 years ago

    Really great comp Johan. This is so serene and I really like the inclusion of the mountains on the horizon, it adds so much more depth to the photo. Great work!

  117. Author

    Thanks Francis and Laurent !! Very kind 🙂

  118. Sabrina Nigi 8 years ago

    Superba …liscia!

  119. This is really gorgeous Johan! Love it, composition and tones, perfect!! :)

  120. Aileen Sorenson 8 years ago

    Another wonderful work!

  121. shane holsclaw 8 years ago

    tranquility indeed! this is pure Zen. : )

  122. Author

    Julia Anna: very kind. Really appreciate your feedback!
    Thanks again Aileen and Shane!

  123. Mimu No 8 years ago


    • Author

      thanks for having a look. Glad you like this :)

      • Mimu No 8 years ago

        yes 🙂 the dive was definitely worth it .. you are most welcome!

  124. Sharon Thomas 8 years ago

    Love the negative space in your LE!

  125. Neil Camara 8 years ago

    Perfect title! Excellent shot! :)

  126. Wow. This is indeed a tranquil and serene photo.

  127. This is so excellent. I love it!!

  128. Ben Locke 8 years ago

    fantastic minimalism.


  1. […] near Estavayer-le-Lac in Switzerland for a bit of long exposure shooting and shot an image called Tranquility. It was quite windy and foggy that day. Pretty nice conditions for this type of photography. Early […]

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