Photographing Sunset from a Snowy Picnic Bench
The road leading to the overlook at Captree State Park was blocked off to vehicle traffic. This was likely due to the heavy snow and thick ice that filled the parking lot. Rather than turning back, my client (John) and I parked in a nearby lot, and just walked over. With partial clouds, a frozen landscape, and the sun close to setting, all of the ingredients for a dramatic landscape were present. Still, even the most promising scenes can suffer from poor compositions. Rather than setting up the tripod right away, I recommend walking around and looking through the camera to explore various perspectives. In this case, a weathered picnic bench turned out to be a perfect raised platform to work from. At this raised height, the animal tracks that lead towards the water are more visible. It also creates separation between the foreground and the bridge in the distance.
Earlier in the evening, we photographed the Fire Island lighthouse from the largely frozen ocean. Here's a shot of John setting up for a vertical composition.
His resulting shot is a dramatic, unique look at an iconic symbol of Long Island. It also tells the story of what has been a record breaking winter. By adjusting the white balance, he picked up the subtle warm tones from the sun. The entire composition is strengthened by the extremely low shooting angle.