A different story every hour: the joys of nature photography

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Dark falls - A black & white impression of a waterfall against a textured rocky background. This waterfall is located in the Verzasca river in the Swiss canton of Ticino - © Johan Peijnenburg

Originally from the Netherlands, Johan Peijnenburg of NiO Photography is a fine art landscape photographer living in the Gruyère region of Switzerland. He has a strong business and economics background as well as experience in web and software design, but it's Johan's love for the outdoors that inspired his current business in landscape photography.

Johan’s work can be purchased as a print or licensed. He also provides tailor-made workshops and coaching for individuals and small groups. In addition, Johan is available for landscape and nature photography assignments anywhere in the world.

He is a member of PhotoShelter, the leader in portfolio websites, photo sales, marketing and archiving tools for photographers.


Hi Johan. Thanks for chatting with us. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am Dutch but have been living in the Gruyère region of Switzerland for the last 10 years. I worked as an entrepreneur, project manager, and designer of business software and web applications for many years. In 2007 however, I decided that it was time for a change of scenery and new challenges. A year later, I moved to Switzerland, started NiO Photography and gradually made landscape photography my full-time occupation.

My primary focus is on shooting mountains, alpine lakes and coastal scenery, both in color and black & white. Quite often I use long exposures to capture the essence of a scene.

I do travel a lot to keep things interesting. My portfolio mostly consists of images captured in the Alps, the Canadian Rockies, along with the European Atlantic coast and in the Nordics.

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Fall colours and fog - Larch trees in their yellow fall coat with fog and silhouettes of mountains in the background, as seen in the Swiss National Park - © Johan Peijnenburg

Why photography?

My interest in photography originates from my travels through Europe and Canada over 25 years ago. I found myself with the urge to capture everything I saw. The photography bug really bit me when I borrowed a friend's DSLR at that time and realized how much more could be accomplished. Soon after, I bought my own camera, which became a loyal companion on my trips.

Photography, especially landscape photography, energizes me and makes me happy: preparing, traveling, hiking, location scouting, shooting, processing and ultimately proudly gazing at the final print. All of it!!!

Nature tells a different story every hour of every day. To me, nothing beats being out there to watch that story evolve and to hopefully capture a moment in a way that grabs attention, is emotive and makes you want to look longer. The continuous challenge of learning, trying to get better and to grow as an artist makes photography the best addiction to have.

Frozen silence - A misty afternoon in the Kirkefjorden near Reine in Lofoten Norway, with last light illuminating Pantaliatinden mountain - © Johan Peijnenburg


Misty dawn at Lej da Staz - A soothing start of the day with rising fog at Lej da Staz, an alpine lake near St. Moritz, Switzerland - © Johan Peijnenburg

You’re based in the Swiss Alps. Inspiration must be around every corner?

Most certainly! The Swiss Alps have a lot to offer and are in general less overshot compared to other mountain regions. The Swiss Alps are, however, a challenge since they are quite populated and commercialized. The pristine and untouched parts are not easy to find and usually hard to reach. I head out into the Alps a lot, however, I do like to balance things a bit with shooting more minimalistic landscapes in the foothills and at the big lakes close to the Alps, like Lake Geneva.

Mountain regions in general really inspire me because there's always something unexpected around the corner. The same goes for coastal areas however and that is one of the reasons I travel a lot.

Mystic Mountain - B&W impression of La Tsavre mountain in winter, surrounded by clouds and fog. La Tsarve mountain is located in La Fouly in Switzerland - © Johan Peijnenburg

Where did your last shoot take place?

Besides shooting winter and spring landscapes near where I live, my last big trip was to the Canadian Rocky Mountains in June and I will be back there again in September. I love the Canadian Rockies because in general, they are a bit more rugged and untouched than the Swiss Alps. After that I will be heading out to St. Moritz in the Engadin region in Switzerland and the Dolomites region in Italy. Two mountain regions I keep coming back to, especially in autumn.

On watch - A winter landscape in B&W featuring three snow-covered trees and a bird, with the sun in the back - © Johan Peijnenburg

Do you have a photographic philosophy?

I am not sure I would call it a philosophy, but there are a couple of things that I find important ... First of all, I want a landscape photograph to do more than just documenting a scene. I want it to capture a mood, a certain atmosphere or a special moment. Something needs to be happening. I can wait for hours to see how things evolve around me and will go back to the same location many times to eventually get what I am after. In addition, I like my images to be different. Trying to find an original compelling composition is a big part of what makes photography so interesting to me.

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Reynisfjara - B&W impression of Reynisfjara beach near Vik in Iceland, with the basalt Reynisdrangar sea stacks in the background - © Johan Peijnenburg

What's next?

Although I have been doing landscape photography for quite a while now, I still find it interesting, challenging and rewarding. Crafting a good landscape image is an art. An art, that takes time to master. I am still eager to get better at it and will continue to work on refining my photographic vision. I want to make it more consistent by making stronger artistic choices in how I want my images to look and feel.




All the photos are from the web and the copyright retains with the original author. If there is any problem, please contact us.
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