The best photos to shoot in the middle of December thru the middle of January are the stunning sunrises in Colorado. I have not seen sunrises as colorful as they are here in Colorado during this time. I sure there are some really good reasons for this and smarter people than me could provide the explanation. All I know is that they provide great items to shoot during the cold winter months.
The photo below was taken at the Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area in southwestern Fort Collins. There a number of colors in the sunrise from oranges, purples, reds, and yellows reflecting off the clouds. The formation of the clouds also helps create places for the eye to roam. With the stunning colors in the sky and the clouds, the foreground I look for is basic and will be silhouetted. In this case a cluster of trees in the area.
There are a number of places to go in Northern Colorado to get a shot like this. I have taken Lone Tree sunrise shots at the Fossil Creek Reservoir just east of Fort Collins and windmills in Larimer Country, Colorado just north of Wellington, Colorado. There are also a lot of ponds and lakes in the area which can provide some reflections although many of them are frozen over. I usually drive around the many county and dirt roads to find places which to shoot.
As i mentioned, the color of the clouds is the key subject and I wanted to make sure that the colors are at the peak. I try to get to a location 45 minutes before sunrise and take shots until after the sun comes up. That way I make sure i get the best colors for the shot. Needless to say, I always shoot the sunrise on my tripod.
The best way for me to pull out all the color of the sunrise is to make sure that I don't underexpose or overexpose the image. I do have a habit of underexposing sunrise shots because they look better on the back of my camera. Instead, I have learned to look at the histogram on the back of the camera to make sure it leans to the right of the histogram. This way, I get the most information on the photo possible. After returning home, during the post production of the photo, I reduce the exposure by 1/2 to 1 stop on my computer to darken the foreground and pull out all the colors in the photograph.
The Bronco blue and orange sunrise is a beautiful time to be out taking photos. But make sure you are dressed for the cold weather.