About three miles from my home is a lake with bike paths all around it. I regularly take hikes and bike rides here as it is very beautiful and has many photo opportunities. I have seen this scene for about a year and planned on getting this image when the conditions were just right. It had to have some nice clouds. It had to have the water level up to get good reflections. The trees had to be green. I thought it would look best in Black and White and probably needed several images stitched together for a nice panorama. When I saw that the conditions looked right I got my camera and bike and set out. Once in place I could see that the dynamic range was too great for a normal shoot so I had to shoot it with three exposures per frame. Since it was going to take six images across for proper overlap for stitching, this meant eighteen exposures all together. They were shot with -1.0, 0.0, +1.0 EV. This would cover the exposure range I needed to keep the clouds from burning out and the shadows from going black. I used my Pentax K20D with 31mm lens and camera turned vertical. I used aperature priority mode with exposure locked to keep the exposures consistant across the frames. These were hand held shots.
Once back at home I loaded them into Adobe Bridge and produced eighteen Tiff images. These were then processed with PTGui Pro 7.8 which not only stitched them but also exposure blended them. I then went into Photoshop and cropped and converted to Black and White using a Black and White adjustment layer. I also added a levels adjustment layer to bring back some contrast. The last step was a little sharpening.
This image took "Pre-visualization". I had in my mind what I wanted the image to look like once I saw the opportunity. It took "Planning" as to how I wanted to get the shot. It took "Patience" to wait for the right conditions to develop.
To me there are two things that stand out that one needs to develop to make good images. The first is "Seeing". By this I mean looking around and recognizing a photo opportunity. The second is "Pre-visualizing". The ability to know and see in your mind what the final image should look like. These take practice, practice, practice.