The photograph above is one I took on such a morning. Icing sugar frost adorned the hills and as the sun rose a wonderful misty haze rose from the earth giving everything a mythical magical feel. I chose to process the photo in black and white for specific reasons. I didn't want to be bound by colour. It would be easy to take the colour from the photo and just replicate the photograph. To truly make it my own and give it a painterly feel, I need just two things from the photo, shape and form, and light play. My imagination will fill in the rest. This photograph has been very useful. it not only gives me the gift of light and mist in mono, but cow expressions, and yes, like any animal cows have their expressions! A watercolour I did of two cows stuck in the mud pulling a plough needed such expression and there it was. I need not trawl the internet using someone else's work as a model I could use my own photograph and was able to complete the work in the knowledge that it was my conception, my cow models, my photograph and finally, my own totally unique painting,
Back to the cow field, if I had been standing there with my easel braving the frost, the mist would have disappeared before I could lay down my first wash, that is if it hadn't frozen on the brush..... The moment would have been lost to extenuating conditions and the marching on of time and mist.
Dont be afraid to use photography as an assistant to help you create an original painting.
Try not to copy a photo exactly, we don't want to bind the imagination, just help it along a little, so once you have your black and white photo, copy it and try different colourisations on the copy to get an idea of how it will look. Add things, subtract things, use your artistic licence to be original. All you are needing from the photo is shape & form, and light play. Have fun!