Introducing Unspoiled, a new alpine winter landscape

In the past month, I spent quite a bit of time hunting for attractive alpine winter landscapes to photograph. I haven’t been fortunate with the weather and mountain light so far though. It is however always good to just go out anyway and explore new areas for future shooting trips.

Unspoiled, an alpine forest in winter with fresh snow

A landscape in colour, featuring a meadow and alpine forest in winter with a fresh coat of virgin snow. Mountain peaks rise above the fog.

At this time of year, the sun doesn’t reach deep into many alpine valleys yet. So, luck needs to be helped a bit now and then. For the photograph to the right, titled Unspoiled, I resisted a very tempting cup of hot chocolate with apple pie after a long snowshoe hike. Instead, I hiked up yet another steep hill to reach a place where I expected to see scenery that was reachable for the late afternoon light. I was right and found a fairytale-like alpine winter landscape bathing in sunlight with a meadow and trees dusted with fresh snow. Besides that, the snow on the meadow in front of the trees was still unspoiled. I came away with a very nice series of alpine winter landscapes.

I was quite close to the first line of trees, so I used a wide-angle lens to open up the scene and to include enough of the virgin snow in the foreground as well as some of the drama in the sky. In the background, you see a few of the peaks of the Mont Blanc massif by the way. The viewpoint in this photograph is in Le Chapelet in Valais, Switzerland. I hope you like this alpine winter landscape!?

Click on the photograph to learn more or to buy a print or licence. .

Cheers, Johan

You might also like

This alpine winter landscape is part of the Forest & Trees landscape photography theme, which also includes:

Interested to see more? Please visit our Winter & Snow photography theme. This theme showcases many more landscapes with mountains and alpine forests in winter from all over the world. Alternatively, check out our Swiss Landscape Photograph portfolio for more Swiss landscape photographs.

240 thoughts on “Introducing Unspoiled, a new alpine winter landscape

  1. Mona Youssef says:

    I take hundreds and hundreds of snow photos and painted only few yet, is never enough to look at beautiful snow shots like yours, bravo!!

  2. Sweedon Hedenberg says:

    gorgeous! love the snow filled trees, the long shadows on snow and those mountains in background…wonderfully composed image

  3. Hope OHara says:

    no tracks.. just pure clean snow.. what a gorgeous winter scene.. so peaceful.. and here I want to climb in and make a snow angle.. “grins”.. hey.. someone has to do it.. it to fresh not to..

  4. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Suzie: glad you like it Suzie! Thanks!
    @Johan: thanks and thanks for stopping by even though you are busy Johan! 

  5. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @George: it really is and they are not easy to find in a state like this 🙂
    @Shane: yes, that hot chocolate was quite nice 🙂 Thanks for the kind words!
    @Ada : glad you like it Ada! Yes, I actually bring it with me quite often, but forgot this time 🙂

  6. Ada M says:

    this is absolutely amazing!! it is like a fairytale dream landscape. Superb,as always!
    p.s. next time do not skip the hot chocolate, take it to go :)

  7. shane holsclaw says:

    this is gorgeous Johan! love the lines and texture in the snow. the light…the one twisty tree in the forground and the mountains peeking through.

    I bet the hot chocolate was great after this.

  8. Francis Gagnon says:

    I really like the light, the textures, and the subtile mountain on the background. It’s a superb image, Johan, very serene.

  9. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Rikard: Thank you and good luck with the hunt!
    @Tom: many thanks Tom! 
    @Meg: thanks Meg! 🙂
    @Anette: thank you very much Anette! 

  10. Rikard Lindby says:

    Very very nice winter-scape Johan. I plan on finding a similar location in the next coming days. At least I will try 🙂 Was It shot in Switzerland? 

  11. Julia Anna Gospodarou says:

    Superb Johan! So fresh and clear! Glad you postponed your hot chocolate that day! This shot was totally worth it, can’t wait for the rest! :)

  12. Dana Allen says:

    Beautiful image ! Great clarity and sharpness. I usually find it is the photographer’s use of the equipment rather than the equipment itself that makes for a great photograph!

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      thanks for the compliment! I agree with your statement. It is not the gear. A camera and lens are just tools. It does help if they have a certain quality. Having the dynamic range of the D800E available for instance, makes a big difference in being able to achieve something on a lot of days 🙂

  13. Carolyn Fahm says:

    The pristine clarity of this winter panorama makes me wish that it could be winter forever. Thank-you for seeking it out and the sharing it.

  14. Louis Lavoie says:

    Nice work Johan. Very serene. Great process. Good eye for the shadows in the foreground. Great perspective. Keep it up :-)

  15. Grzegorz Piechowicz says:

    Two months ago I had a chance to work for few hours with Hasselblad H4D-40. It is absolutely killer 🙂 But also very expensive toy. I think D800E for landscape photography is the best option, your photos obviously confirm it. Thank you very much and best regards!

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      the question is whether that is a practical option … think a Hasselblad set-up with the right lenses weighs a bit more than a D800E with similar lenses. It might work if you can drive everywhere, but most times I am hiking, snowshoeing or skiing to where I want to shoot 🙂 

      • Grzegorz Piechowicz says:

        I completely agree with you Scott – Johan is absolutely great photographer, always when I make any comments on his photo I refer to his skills. This time I just wanted to know more about his gear and secrets of postproduction. I still use DX and for me the difference between photos from D300 and D800E is very easy to catch, even at web sizes. Best regards for both of you! :)

        • Scott Horwath says:

          @Grzegorz: you have some very sharp shots yourself! I have never been able to tell the difference between the formats online personally. Just out of interest, I wonder if you’d be able to tell from my last post (rio grande cottonwood) whether I use a d800e or not? And if so, then let me know your secret to telling :)

  16. Matthias Haeussler says:

    damn … now I’ve written such a lovely comment and it got deleted, because I accidently navigated to the next picture. I hope I can rephrase it Johan 😉

      • Matthias Haeussler says:

        it was something about the skill of bringing nature’s details out “as-is”, cameras alone don’t do that and there are only very few people I’ve seen that are able to deliver that. you certainly do Johan .. I guess it sounded more dramatic and impressive in the first version :-)

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          lol! Well it sounded very nice and it is a great compliment! I think I still can improve a lot though, so I’ll keep practicing 🙂 

  17. Fabrizio Vignali says:

    nice scene Johan, well done.
    I like that you included the snow in the foreground. The foreground often goes forgoten but it’s elemental for a good landscape picture.

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      Thanks for the compliment Fabrizio! You are right. In case I am shooting specific mountains, I often skip the foreground though :)

  18. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Markus: good morning Markus! Thanks and have a great day too!
    @Kamal: you are very welcome Kamal and thank you!

  19. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Subra: thanks for the compliment Subra!
    @Sumit: thanks Sumit!
    @Nikola: thank you !
    @Margaret: hah, I would love to do that to 🙂 Thank you Margaret!

  20. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Sandra: a good week to you too Sandra!
    @Dominique: thank you Dominique! Hoe is het met de sneeuw in België?
    @lizett: thank you very much Lizett!
    @Michelle: it sure is 🙂 Thank you Michelle 🙂 

  21. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Pam: thanks for the compliment and nice to meet you 🙂
    @Jordan: lol! How cold is it over there Jordan?
    @Brian: glad you like it Brian! Thanks 🙂
    @Yasmin: ow thank you so much Yasmin 😀 You are always way to nice. And yes, I had a nice cup of hot chocolate afterwards anyway! 🙂

  22. Andreas Levi says:

    A gorgeous untouched snowscape, a good choise to postpone the hot chocolate 😉 🙂
    A wonderful image, Johan! :)

  23. Wilfried Haferland says:

    First things first: A wonderful capture. I like the subtle lines the “snow-waves” create in the foreground, matching with the shadow lines on the unspoiled and fluffy surface. The clouds frame the distant peaks very well, and I can see clearly a symmetry in the trees in this image. As the mountains appear not too near in this 15mm shot and zooming in is limited, it’s hard to name them. I’d go for Aiguille d’Argentiere and Le Portalet for the first guess ;-). Thank you, Johan!

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      thanks for the great feedback Wilfried and yes you are spot on regarding the names of the two peaks in the back. I can assure you that I also have a few nice close-ups of those from this day. We still have to go to this place together! This is also where I shot that other image last year :)

  24. Yasmin Simpson says:

    This is another “killer” dear Johan, you are such a very talented person, plus you work so hard. Thank you for showing us the best of your awesome world.
    Hope a big mug of hot chocolate was your reward after these shots 🙂
    Have an excellent week!

  25. Jean-Michel Taconné says:

    Wonderful winter landscape ! I love the shadows on the snow, the majestic trees and the fascinating Mont Blanc massif in the background. Great work :-)

  26. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Marianne: thanks! I can imagine. If I could mail over some snow I would!
    @Jordan: many thanks Jordan! Hope you are enjoying a nice drink to go with the view! 

  27. Jordan Oram says:

    I like it! I like being warm and viewing it right now too! lol 😀 Thanks for getting out and sharing your visions 😉 :D

      • Margaret Tompkins says:

        Johan, thanks for asking. I’m doing well except my knee went crazy today and I’m in a lot of pain. I’m hoping all is well with you!! This photograph is most awesome my friend!!!

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          Hope that knee gets better quickly Margaret!! All is well here. I am not on-line a lot, but that is because I am trying to create a series of winter landscapes like this. Having fun at it 🙂 Thanks again for the compliment!

  28. Grzegorz Piechowicz says:

    I am very impressed with all the details form D800E. It is just amazing, definitely I need to upgrade my gear. Would you tell me if you took this picture on the tripod or from your hand? However, the photo is amazing, the virgin snow is such beautiful… incredible landscape! 

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      it is an amazing camera Grzegorz. I was used to a D3x, but this one is even better. Even more dynamic range and detail. You have to shoot with care though and have the better lenses. This is a handheld shot. By rule I use my tripod as much as possible, but when I am hiking in the snow I will try to get away with shooting handheld with wider lenses. Thanks for the compliment! 

      • Grzegorz Piechowicz says:

        Thank you very much Johan for your explanation! The lens 14-24mm is great, one of the Nikkor’s best but I was thinking about 17-35mm due to problems with filters attachments to 14-24mm. How do you deal with this?

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          The 14-24 indeed doesn’t take regular filters. So far I have just lived with that fact. At the moment I am debating to either get the Lee SW150 filter holder for the 14-24 or to get the 16-35 as an extra lens. The latter option we allow me to do LE’s wider than 24mm, but I doubt I would take it along very often instead of the 14-24. So I think I will get the SW150 system.

          I don’t think the 17-35 is a good option on FX. If you read the reviews, you will learn why :)

          • Grzegorz Piechowicz says:

            Thank you Johan for your lesson again. You are absolutely right, 16-35mm is much better than 17-35mm. The last question, as I am still impressed by quality of your photo, did you use at all a sharpening in Lightroom or did you adjusted only colours leaving original sharpness from D800E?

          • Johan Peijnenburg says:

            I do sharpen in Lightroom. Usually at 45/0.7/70 and than mask at 20. I also use a bit of clarity, but not too much. You really want a D800E now ejh?

  29. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Paul: more luck with snow indeed, but not always with the skies and light Paul. Glad you like it!
    @Gerard: it is hard to find here as well Gerard. It usually means getting up a mountain reeeeally early. Otherwise it will be “spoiled” by skiers. Thanks! 

  30. Paul Turkowski says:

    yes Johan i like it! very lovely scene. seems that we’re both getting more lucky with snow the last days 🙂 

  31. Paul van de Loo says:

    Awesome shot Johan! I’m looking at it on my phone right now but can’t wait to look at it on a proper screen ;)

  32. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    @Оксана: thank you Oksana 🙂 
    @Shelly: thank you! My favourite season 🙂
    @Leyla: couldn’t live without winter Leyla! Glad you like it! 

    • Louisa Catharine Forsyth says:

      Yes, cannot believe it has been this long. Mom still touch and go, but we are all being positive and she retains her humor which means more smiles than sadness. She is stubborn and does not want to return to Europe. I respect her decision, but I will miss her once I come home. My photography is keeping me sane most days at the moment 😉 

          • Louisa Catharine Forsyth says:

            I am not sure Johan, but I am opening another branch of my business here too which is amazing, so super happy. I have all my things in Milano though thus I cannot stay here much longer though 🙂 I will fly out and see my Mom ever few months though once back home.

          • Louisa Catharine Forsyth says:

            I have been doing it since straight out of school, my brothers were the same. Glad I am not the only one who knows the feeling :)

          • Johan Peijnenburg says:

            been doing it for 5 years only now. Not always easy. I am very glad that the family can and is a still visiting CH as well. Hoping everybody will stay healthy and mobile for a long time to come! 

  33. Louisa Catharine Forsyth says:

    Loving you pp Johan, so beautiful. I am missing Winter so much back home thanks to all of you 🙂 Still sweltering here :)

  34. Athena Carey says:

    What a pristine scene Johan. I Love that one tree stands out a bit, the shadows in the snow and the peek at that mountain in the background. :)

    • Johan Peijnenburg says:

      Thank you! For some reason it looks a touch dark here. Need to fix that. It is a gorgeous place. It was one of the rare days so far this winter that I came away with a lot of nice shots …

      • Athena Carey says:

        I have not been hitting gold this year. I am still waiting for my “come away with a lot of nice shoots” winter shoot Johan. We need to get out in it soon. Been too long. :)

        • Johan Peijnenburg says:

          I have been out in the snow about 10 times already now. The weather and light has rarely been good however. The good part of winter should start now with the sun hitting the vallies a bit more 🙂 Yes, I agree!

  35. Debby Vos says:

    Great pic 🙂 Glad our trips were worthwhile ….besides getting rid of our “lazy sweat” as the Dutch expression tells you …. ;-)

  36. Johan Peijnenburg says:

    Thanks Markus and Milena !
    @Diego: thanks Diego! Enjoying winter as well?
    @Michel: merci? How is winter now over there? 

    • Diego Cattaneo says:

      Photographically speaking not so much! It’s more a lack of time than a lack of inspiration… I’ve spent a lot of time with family and friends… not bad 🙂 We didn’t have a lot of snow… till this week end: 70 cm of deep powder in the southern part of piedmont 🙂 that was fun :))

      • Johan Peijnenburg says:

        family is a good alternative! I have been taking them along a lot on shooting trips 🙂 Hope the inspiration will be back soon. You know, just going out is already half the inspiration! 

        • Diego Cattaneo says:

          I really hope this spring we could have our hiking in the Gran Paradiso… I’m really sorry for not doing it last year!

          • Johan Peijnenburg says:

            let’s make sure we do that Diego! I have been close again many times. Been doing a lot of shooting in the Grand St. Bernard region (the image above comes from there)! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *