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Matthiessen State Park in the Winter. This is a two exposure manual blend. The highlights in the snow were completely blown out in my regular exposure so I pulled them out from another shot which was underexposed by 1.5 stops. I have recently gotten into a habit of exposure bracketing whoever I am on a tripod and here it saved my butt.

Compositionally I like the two logs which are crossed. They provide for a very strong focal point which I set off center to the right. I tried it smack in center and to the left, but didn't like it as much. I think the diagonal lines created by the logs interact in interesting ways with the vertical lines created by the falling water and the icicles. The mix of diagonal and straight lines provides for a more dynamic composition. I really hoped the logs would be more iced up, it would make for a much stronger shot, but you take what you have. It was a very warm winter in the midwest, I should be happy these are frozen at all.

Typically I like simpler compositions, and this one is quite complex in terms of the number of elements in the frame. I tried other framing attempts, but didn't like any, so I decided to simplify the composition in post. I darkened the the rocks a lot to reduce their impact on viewer's attention. The rocks actually have very nice layered texture, but when I brought that up, the image was super BUSY, not good. So, I darken the rocks but still processed them in a way to preserve as much details in the shadows as I could, it provides for another layer of interest for those who explore the image for a bit longer.

The color palette is inspired by the TV series "Game of Thrones." I think the bluish/greenish color hues and the dark shadows are appropriate for the winter shot.

Except for the layers work to recover highlights, the image was processed entirely in Lightroom.

The final image has an element of fantasy to it which wasn't my intention at the start and I must admit I fought it for a while since. I like fantasy scenes, but they're not my style. Once I gave in and went with it, I think I learned to appreciate the final effect.

Hope you enjoy,
Darek.

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