One cold winter afternoon last year, I was exploring the trails leading to the river at the Ennis Nature Preserve west of Mount Vernon, and noticed the sky was starting to clear. It had been overcast most of the day, and I was mentally prepared for no sunset with a long walk back to the car. But as the sun was setting, I stood on the bank of the Cedar River and watched geese fly by looking for their nightly resting spots, and noticed some wonderful color developing in the sky.
I decided to try High Dynamic Range (HDR), a technique that blends three differently exposed photos into one, so that the entire visual range is captured. Setting up on a tripod, I composed the photo so that the most intense part of the sky was in view as well as the beautiful reflections of the clouds and sun. Three exposures later, the foundation was laid for this unique and colorful version of the river.
In post-processing, I tried to bring out the intense colors and hues that seemed to be floating around that evening. Even though the HDR process may have tinted the snow a little blue, this photo to me represents a close likeness of what it was like to be there enjoying a quiet winter evening in Iowa! Magic!