Digital cameras certainly do a great job at recording a wide range of tone, a High Dynamic Range . When working with film we were taught to “expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights”. With digital cameras it’s best to “expose for detail in the highlights, underexpose, and plan to use your post-production software to “open up” the shadows.
In this example, I let the shadows define the composition. If I open up the shadows in post-production (Adobe Lightroom) then the image is less dramatic.