I almost titled this "where photography stops..."  because, for me anyway, my creativity doesn't necessarily come when taking the photograph.   My creative urge comes afterward.    Today I'm posting a prime example.    Here's my story, and I'm sticking to it.  LOL. 

It was late in the day near the end of January.   In the morning the ground was dry and had that familiar "winter dull" look of browns and fading color.  The snow started at 10AM and by 4:30PM several inches had piled up (as you will see).   I knew I only had a few minutes of day light left so I jumped in my car with my camera and went for a drive.   I didn't have to venture far from home for this image.   In fact, I drove along the emergency drive on the rear side of a shopping plaza less than 5 minutes from my apartment.    I've always loved images of snow "caked" on pine trees in winter and the wet snow we had did the trick.   I took this photo below of pine trees with snow from my drivers side window with the window rolled down.    Heck yeah it was cold.   LOL.   The snow was letting up but was still heavy enough to obscure the rooftops beyond the treeline.   I knew I wouldn't get a shot at this again for a long time to come.    I took several exposures to just see what I could come up with.   And that's where photography ends for me.    I had no thought about what I might do with this photo.    I just kept it in my file.   

Several days later I started going through my files again and came across this photo.  I wondered what would happen if I added some textures, and a hazy moon?   Then I went further and asked where can I find some birds to fly across the scene?  
First I pulled out a dozen of my texture image files of rust, peeling paint, scrapes, scratches, crumpled canvas etc.   I started layering the textures usually with only 17% or less opacity adjusting as I went along.   I added some vignetting, did some further light work to brighten the center of the image.   Then I added a yellow blurred circle to represent blurred moonlight.  Then I went to the internet.   On Pinterest I found one site that offered a free download of a silhouette of birds in flight.   Thinking that might complete my image I added the birds and placed them so it would look like they were flying in front of the moon.   And that's how I came up with the final image on the right.

I'd be remiss to not say that I always listen to music while processing my images.   And maybe my music choice at the time had a subliminal effect.   I certainly wasn't thinking about it until after I was done with my image.   And it became the  reason I chose the title for the image FLY BY NIGHT.   I was listening to Rush's album FLY BY NIGHT who's cover (in hindsight) seems to be the same color palette and theme of flight.  Can By-Tor and the Snow Dog be far behind?  LOL.  Thank you Rush!  

I hope you enjoyed this story and the end result.  Also, I have not done holiday greeting cards for several years but I've been so pleased with my snow images this year I decided to make this finished image a candidate for a holiday card - if I decide to go that route later this year.  Feel free to comment.   Until next time - take care and be well. 

***As always - when I post multiple images - you can click on an image to view in full screen mode.***

before and after