When you have shadows, work with shadows. This is the perfect time of the year for black and white. Use low angled light (just before sunset or right after sunrise) to bring out the surface texture and details. Work with exposure to make sure you keep details in the shadows and highlights (yes, that’s a 40 second exposure above – another moonlight image). Traditionally you want some pure blacks and whites in an image as reference points but with ice and snow that can look too contrasty so I’ve backed down on each a bit. For the Zone System enthusiasts out there all these images have tonal ranges between Zones 2 and 8; pushing to 1 and 9 gave me too much stark appearance. If all that means nothing to you then read up on Ansel Adam’s exposure techniques or play around with your own exposures until you get what you want.
If you want to play around with Adam’s Zone System keep in mind the intent was to visualize tonal attributes in the final PRINT, not the intermediate negative (or RAW file for digital). Many of Adam’s negatives were actually somewhat flat – he brought contrast to selected areas in the printing and developing process. For digital, keep your histogram even across the center and then post-process to spread information to pixels at the ends to get the contrast you want. Use local dodging and burning (or adjustment brush in Lightroom) to enhance selected areas. If I do that to these images I’ll post what I get and how I worked it out.