Landscape photograph with late afternoon light on an alpine winter scene with virgin snow

January 21, 2013 Johan Peijnenburg
In Photography
Alpine winter landscape with an alpine meadow and line of trees with fresh snow bathing in late afternoon light, with the Mont Blanc massif in the back.
15mm – f/9 – 1/500 sec – ISO160 – D800E with 14-24mm f/2.8

The past month, I have already spent quite some time hunting for nice alpine winter landscape scenes. I haven’t been very lucky with the weather and light conditions so far, but it is worth getting out anyway to get to know new areas for future shooting trips.

At this time of year the sun doesn’t reach a lot of places yet. So luck needs to be helped a bit now and then. For the shot above, I decided to postpone the hot chocolate and to snowshoe up a steep hill to reach a place where I suspected the light to be hitting things nicely sideways. It did and as a bonus the snow up there was still unspoiled. Came away with a nice series of winter shots.

I was quite close to the line of trees, so used my 14-24 f/2.8 lens at 15mm to open up the scene a bit and to include enough of the virgin snow in the foreground and to also include 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. I processed the image in Lightroom 4.2. Hope you like this alpine winter landscape!

Comments (240)

  1. Markus Rienzer 7 years ago

    beautiful winter winterlandscape!

  2. Milena Llieva 7 years ago


  3. Diego Cattaneo 7 years ago

    So peaceful! Wonderful image!!

  4. Michel paulin 7 years ago

    Very beautiful Johan.

  5. Gemma Costa 7 years ago

    perfect tones, wonderful atmosphere, so beautiful shot!

  6. Rodolfo Seide 7 years ago

    Beautiful shot!

  7. Author

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

    • Michel paulin 7 years ago

      On a un peu de neige ici à Genève…

    • Diego Cattaneo 7 years ago

      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 :))

      • Author

        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 7 years ago

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

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 7 years ago

            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)! 

  8. Author

    @Gemma: thank you Gemma!!
    thanks Rodolfo ! 

  9. Rich Helmer 7 years ago


    • Author

      many thanks Rich! Nice to see you here again! 

      • Rich Helmer 7 years ago

        Just took a look at your website! AWESOME WORK Johan !

        • Author

          Thanks for checking out my site and the compliment. Still need to upload loads of stuff but it is getting there 🙂 

  10. Eric Delcour 7 years ago

    Superb capture !!!

  11. Dalibor Pačić 7 years ago

    wonderful Johan 

  12. Alex Filatov 7 years ago

    Absolutely pristine, gorgeous winter scene my friend!

  13. Thomas Schaller 7 years ago

    just a nice winter capture, simple and not easy to catch!

    • Author

      thanks Thomas! Very true. It has been difficult this winter so far!

  14. Debby Vos 7 years ago

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

  15. jens Ceder 7 years ago

    Very nice!

  16. Philipp Weimer 7 years ago

    At least you guys get some sun 🙂

    Great shot here, True winter wonder land

    • Author

      We did get some indeed Philipp. Need a lot more though! Thanks :)

  17. Athena Carey 7 years ago

    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. :)

    • Author

      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 7 years ago

        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. :)

        • Author

          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!

  18. aditya Sharma 7 years ago

    I love it I share this

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

  20. Author

    @Aditya: thanks! That would be cool 😀
    @Louisa: thank you! You still in Africa? 

    • 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 😉 

      • Author

        good to hear! How long have you been there now? 

        • Since the end of Sept. 

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 7 years ago

            that’s a long time already. Guess you’ll be staying for another while no?

          • 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.

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 7 years ago

            the side effect of living somewhere else than the rest of the family. I know the feeling :)

          • 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 :)

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 7 years ago

            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! 

          • I hope they will too, have a lovely day Johan :)

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 7 years ago

            You too Louisa !

  21. Peter Maris 7 years ago

    nice, lots of snow in NL at the moment, but all with grey dull clouds. does make for great animal shots though

    • Author

      yes it’s winter in NL I hear. Also hear it is ending again no? Thanks for the kind words Peter!

  22. Mikko Tyllinen 7 years ago


  23. So beautiful!

  24. Shelly Gunderson 7 years ago

    Very lovely winter scene!

  25. Love it, is just amazing winter scene… missing in TX… 

  26. Author

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

  27. Manuela Azevedo 7 years ago

    Outstanding. Love the small glance of the mountain.

  28. =^.^=

  29. Author

    Thanks. Well-spotted Manuela 🙂
    @Gatto: :D

  30. Javier Esvall 7 years ago

    Wonderful landscape

  31. Monte Trumbull 7 years ago

    Excellent Johan!

  32. Paul van de Loo 7 years ago

    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 ;)

  33. Jenn Oliver 7 years ago

    Beautiful Johan !

    • Author

      hank you Jenn! How are things with you and the family? It’s been a while 🙁 

      • Jenn Oliver 7 years ago

        Thanks! Things are going well, baby is keeping us on our toes that is for sure! 

        • Author

          Good to hear all is well Jenn. Hope to see you guys again during one of the walks!

          • Jenn Oliver 7 years ago

            Yes for sure! we did some snowshoeing over christmas with success with the baby so hopefully we can join that one… else def. should be able to make some of rochers de naye :)

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 7 years ago

            sounds like a plan! :)

  34. Paul Turkowski 7 years ago

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

  35. Gerard Charnley 7 years ago

    I love untouched snow. Hard to find here in the UK unless you go out into the wilderness. Lovely scene Johan! 

  36. Author

    @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! 

  37. Fantastic! 

  38. 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! 

    • Author

      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! 

      • 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?

        • Author

          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 7 years ago

            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?

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 7 years ago

            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?

  39. Giuseppe Basile 7 years ago

    Absolutely stunning Johan 

  40. jany viala 7 years ago

    très belle 

  41. Scott Horwath 7 years ago

    Really beautiful simplicity!

  42. Mady Sach 7 years ago

    wonderful landscape

  43. Author

    @Scott: thank you Scott!
    Many thanks Mady ! 

  44. Beautiful Johan !! I love your winter wonderland!! It’s gorgeous!!

    • Author

      Thank you Margaret!! How are things?

      • 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!!!

        • Author

          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!

          • Margaret Tompkins 7 years ago

            You should consider putting that series in an e-book! It would be awesome!!!

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 7 years ago

            I am working on a few ideas Margaret. Will be publishing something towards the end of the year 🙂 

          • Margaret Tompkins 7 years ago

            That’s great news Johan!! Keep me on the updates list!! I know it will be great!!

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 7 years ago

            will do! 

  45. Nathan Wirth 7 years ago

    lovely hue of blue … 

  46. super winter setting here Johan Peijnenburg 

  47. Gorgeous scene! A welcome sight for a desert dweller :-)

  48. Jordan Oram 7 years ago

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

  49. Author

    @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! 

    • Jordan Oram 7 years ago

      Indeed I am drinking some tea to stay warm beneath my two polar fleece blankets that I’ve added to my wardrobe. Bonus feature? They have polar bear illustrations on them! lol :)

      • Author

        I see a very cool selfy coming up Jordan! Hope you pimped that tea a bit! 

        • Jordan Oram 7 years ago

          Bahaha! Alright.. oh man.. You’ve given me ideas! LOL

          • Author
            Johan Peijnenburg 7 years ago

            you already had those ideas, but you were fighting them! 😉 

          • Jordan Oram 7 years ago

            Lets just say it’s a might bit draughty outside when your only outerwear is polar fleece Johan 😉 LOL #LookAtWhatYouveStarted! lol!

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

  51. Vitor Ferreira 7 years ago

    Very good! I like those tip of the mountains in the background, awesome scene.

  52. Michael Russell 7 years ago

    Wow – beautiful photo Johan!

  53. Pam Wolfe 7 years ago

    Absolutely gorgeous; post card perfect!

  54. Brian Spencer 7 years ago

    Love those peaks framed by the trees and clouds Johan! Wonderful shot!

  55. Yasmin Simpson 7 years ago

    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!

  56. good week my friend

  57. Domique Hilbert 7 years ago

    Such a pure and beautiful image. 

  58. lizett Beltran 7 years ago

    wonderful winter scene <3 it !!!!! : )

  59. Michelle Potter 7 years ago

    So lovely…a winter scene to ponder, for sure.

  60. Subra Govinda 7 years ago

    Fantastic shot , the lighting and colors are top notch ! 

  61. Sumit Sen 7 years ago

    Really unspoiled! Lovely!

  62. Nikola Nikolski 7 years ago

    Great photo and work!

  63. Margaret S. 7 years ago

    A scene that makes my heart want to fly to the peak of Mont Blanc. Beautifully capured Johan

  64. Markus Landsmann 7 years ago

    Afternoon Johan and an absolut wonderful winter scene. Have a good day.

  65. kamal deep singh 7 years ago

    picture perfect….thank you so much johan…

  66. 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!

    • Author

      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 :)

  67. Andreas Levi 7 years ago

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

  68. Author

    @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! 🙂

    • Pam Wolfe 7 years ago

      Nice to meet you as well Johan . I am loving looking through your photos!! So great…

  69. Author

    @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 🙂 

  70. Author

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

  71. Author

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

  72. Fabrizio Vignali 7 years ago

    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.

    • Author

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

  73. Mikael Sh 7 years ago

    unspoiled snow can indeed paint such beautiful scenery.

    nice one Johan

  74. 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 😉

    • Author

      lol, you can give it a try Matthias. I am not seeing it yet 🙂

      • 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 :-)

        • Author

          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 🙂 

  75. Christa Niederer 7 years ago

    That really looks like an invitation to go skiing, Johan :)

  76. 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!

    • Author

      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 🙂 

    • Scott Horwath 7 years ago

      Johan is a great photographer no doubt, but is it wise to judge sharpness and resolution at web sizes?

      • 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 7 years ago

          @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 :)

  77. Louis Lavoie 7 years ago

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

  78. Kurt Pfirter 7 years ago

    Great !

  79. Author

    @Louis: thanks for the compliment Louis. Will try 😉
    @Kurt: danke dir Kurt! 

  80. E.E. Giorgi 7 years ago

    beautiful winter scene !!

  81. Carolyn Fahm 7 years ago

    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.

    • Author

      for ever would be too much for me Carolyn, but I do love it as well 🙂 Thanks and you’re welcome!

  82. Dana Allen 7 years ago

    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!

    • Author

      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 🙂

  83. Ed Bannister 7 years ago

    seriously beautiful Johan 

  84. Daniel Ewert 7 years ago

    Very nice winter landscape!

  85. Bill Wood 7 years ago

    Beautifully made Johan

  86. David shield 7 years ago

    Excellent exposure Johan. I like the way the peaks pop out.

  87. 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! :)

  88. Author

    @David: many thanks David!
    @Julia: glad you like it 🙂 

  89. Rikard Lindby 7 years ago

    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? 

  90. Tom Tran 7 years ago

    Lovely image and a good read as usual Johan.

  91. Meg Rousher 7 years ago

    Fantastic view and beautifully captured :)

  92. A beauty as usual :))

  93. Author

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

  94. Francis Gagnon 7 years ago

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

  95. Betty Manousos 7 years ago

    dear johan, this looks heavenly!
    love it:)

  96. George Marquardt 7 years ago

    This is gorgeous Johan; there is nothing like finding your own spot with fresh snow

  97. shane holsclaw 7 years ago

    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.

  98. Ada M 7 years ago

    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 :)

  99. Author

    @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 🙂

  100. Wonderful atmosphere ! Thanks for sharing, Johan !

  101. Charles Lupica 7 years ago

    Johan beautiful, simply beautiful. I like ti a lot. 

  102. Author

    Thank you Елена!
    Many thanks Charles. Glad you do.

  103. Suzie Javed 7 years ago

    Stunning inspirational image, perfect 

  104. Johan Swanepoel 7 years ago


  105. Author

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

  106. Lovely shot Johan ! Beautiful atmosphere!

  107. David Tau 7 years ago

    awesome! love how you brought the white out

  108. Hope OHara 7 years ago

    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..

    • Author

      Many thanks Hope! I don’t mind snow angles … after I am gone 😉 

  109. Enrique Palaez 7 years ago

    Woow amazing! 

  110. Nicolas Lotsos 7 years ago

    Lovely ethereal shot Johan

  111. Darlene Parks 7 years ago

    a beautiful wintery view! tyvmfs Johan :)

  112. Barbara BM 7 years ago

    Cudo!!!! Wonderful.

  113. Maravillosa foto y lindo paisaje.

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

    • Author

      thanks Sweedon. One of the few days this winter with really nice light 🙂

  115. Gorgeous !!! Thanks for this !!!

    • Author

      You are very welcome Martine! Thanks for the kind words 🙂 Nice to meet you :)

  116. Mona Youssef 7 years ago

    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!!

  117. Chen Marylen 7 years ago

    I like it!

  118. ♥ ~❤❤❤~ ♥ 

  119. Chen Marylen 7 years ago

    I like so much 🙂

  120. Author

    Thanks Annette and Chen !

  121. Beautiful & Calm Johan

  122. Anna Rimovska 7 years ago

    Beautiful shot!

  123. Sharmon Hutton 7 years ago

    Beautiful Image Johan!!! ….breathtaking.

  124. Author

    @Anna: thank you 🙂
    @Sharmon: many thanks Sharmon and nice to meet you :)

  125. Mutita EdiblArt 6 years ago

    Amazing +++

  126. Chen Marylen 6 years ago

    Wow!its so nice

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