The morning light would be fleeting so I took a bunch of photos to capture that instant. NOTE: that’s not “cheating”. You can take photos. Use all the technology you want. 🙂
What are you trying to communicate? Where should the viewer to focus? What makes the image pop?
It was critical observation that allowed Sir Isaac Newton to define gravity after watching an apple fall to the earth from a tree.
It you feel the ice cold snow in your boots, you know you are in the right place. This is the mindset of a “plein air” painter.