I find that it’s important to set goals for yourself before you head out shooting. By goals I mean what do you want to capture when you go out. Focus your energy on that and you will notice a difference in your photos.
I did this when I went out to Matlock, MB to shoot the frozen lake and the surrounding areas. My first goal was to showcase the colours in the sunrise. The second was to showcase the vastness of the prairies.
In order to achieve the color in the sunrise without throwing everything in the foreground into a silhouette, you’ll need to take multiple shots at different exposures and then blend them together. In easy way to do this is in Photomatix by using the Exposure Fusion application. Why do it this way? If you expose for the foreground you will overexpose the sky and the sun. if you expose for the sun and sky you will underexpose the foreground.
The second goal was to showcase the vastness of the prairie landscape in winter. This is all about the lens choice. I started out with my 24mm-105mm lens shooting at 24mm(which on a non full frame camera is about 38mm). As you can see in the picture below it doesn’t showcase what I wanted so this is when i decided to take out my 10mm-20mm lens. Shooting at 10mm(which on a non full frame camera is 16mm) I came up with the 2nd shot below. This is the vastness that I wanted to portray. Most of the time with photography it’s playing around with different lens and exposure’s to get the desired look that you want. This is why it is important to set a goal for yourself every time you go out shooting. Think to yourself what do I want to achieve today?