I applied a red filter to bring up the deer. Took the tree trunk and roots behind the deer down darker so the deer would pop out a bit. I lightened up the deer still more. I burned down the foreground water, again to lighten up the deer. No formula, just eyeballing the end result.
Why not play with black and white? It will teach you about how to work with darkness and lightness in the same composition. What you learn in black and white readily translates to your color post processing. In some ways you might find experimenting with only black and white will help you better manipulate color values. There is the chance you will get hooked on black and white, not a bad problem to have. Whatever makes your photography enjoyable is what matters.
|Whitetails Crossing at Ponca Low Water Bridge BW|