My favorite landscape photos usually incorporate an object in the foreground to give depth to a scene so I was on the lookout for this while I drove from Bozeman to West Yellowstone, a scenic route that curves into Yellowstone National Park. Following the Gallatin River, I saw countless opportunities to take a great picture of the terrain, however, the snowy roadside cutoffs made this very difficult to achieve.
As I drove, I noticed someone struggling in snowshoes uphill through the snow. By the time I found a turnaround and made it back to the area to photograph it, the snowshoer was gone. His tracks made a really nice line so I shot a few photos, but I thought the landscape needed more interesting light. The sun was setting in a few hours so I returned when the very last rays dipped behind the hills, hitting only the snowfield closest to the road.
Photo tip: I jumped up on the snow bank on the side of the road and carefully walked in the snowshoe tracks, trying to get the best view of the scene. My legs punched through the crust into waist-deep snow, giving me a great low angle point of view. Using a 20-35mm zoom lens, I shot a series of pictures at different focal lengths. The best shot was taken at the 20mm setting. A 20mm lens can be difficult to use because it makes everything look far away, but if you can get close to something in the foreground then the resulting picture will have a dramatic feel.