|Snow Canyon Overlook with Tree in Foreground|
Blown highlights are a photographers' worst nightmare. A blown highlight is just white, no color, no detail, no definition, nothing but white. You cannot create anything with it. Many cameras including mine have flashing red pixels on the LCD screen to alert you to blown highlights. When shooting, they are to be avoided.
In processing the above photo, the subject is a darker object against a brighter background. This calls for processing to lighten the details in the tree while still keeping the detail in the brighter distant cliffs. There are ways to do this which look fake and I don't want that. Sometimes a photo will look more real, believable if you just let the highlights blow out, which is what I did here in the upper left corner of the photo. There is just white, not blue, sky. This was a decision made in processing to create a photo which looks natural, real.
The other half of this entry is about finding a foreground subject. We landscape photographers love to see vast amazing spaces. Those spaces tend to look uninteresting without a foreground object, something to make you (the viewer) feel like you're there. A person, a tree, a flower, a rock or just about anything else can serve as a foreground subject. In this case, a rugged tree hanging at the edge of the cliff was available and I discovered it.
A foreground object also makes your photograph unique. Many people have shot the Snow Canyon Overlook, but no one has ever photographed this tree as part of their composition.