Mongoose Lake

by Cindy

This picture was taken by the pier on Mongoose Lake in Canada.

I was hoping to capture the fog on the water and the sky mirrored in the water. I just love the picture.

This is a great picture; and how lovely to have such stunning subject matter to photograph!

Lets take a walk through Cindy’s picture and pick out what makes it so good.

First of all the view! It certainly does help if you are presented with a terrific scenery. But that doesn’t guarantee results. Here Cindy has added some foreground interest with the rocks and boards in the right hand corner.

It would have been too easy to take the photo from a standing position, but that would have left out this important element. I’m guessing Cindy had to get down low to include them in her shot. Well done! You can read a digital photography tutorial on shooting angles here, and a digital photography tutorial on foreground interest here.

There’s more to this foreground interest though. The boards are at a diagonal angle “pointing” into the scent. We call these “lead in lines”. If you can get them in, do so. Another box ticked!

Then there is the horizon. With landscapes the horizon should always be horizontal. Always. And especially where water is involved. If not, it seems as though all that water could pour out of the photo. We have here a good straight horizon. Another tick!

Finally, there’s the reflection. Admittedly, the subject matter helps here, but it would have been too easy to get down too low to the water and miss most of the reflection. Here it is included in all it’s glory.

So there are many, many good things about Cindy’s photo. So can it be improved? Yes, a little.

One improvement would be to just boost the colours a little using software. A small touch of the “saturation” command should do it. This would give the blue sky just a little more depth, and the greens would stand out a little more.

But my big tip here is a little more complicated. Cindy’s photo suffers from “blown highlights”. Blown highlights occur in photos where there is a huge range of shades, from light to dark. The light areas tend to blend into each other to form one mass of white.

This is evident in the clouds in Cindy’s photo. They have merged into a mass of white. These blown highlights were less of an issue with film photography. Click to read more about film vs digital and the issue of blown highlights.

There is a solution to this though – it requires a software fix. Soon there will be a tutorial on this site to show you how it’s done (bookmark this page!), but basically two images are produced from the same photo, one lighter than the other.

UPDATED: Click for a Photoshop tutorial on how to fix blown highlights

We then take the darker bits from one, and blend them with the lighter bits from the other.

I don’t want to be too negative about this though, because this really is a fabulous shot. Well done Cindy!


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Mar 06, 2008
by: Anonymous

Would be nice if there was some screenshots at each stage of the tutorial.. at the very least a before and after shot would be nice..

I assume you are referring to the tutorial here:

If you roll your mouse over the photo of the lake you will see the 'before' and 'after' images.

There are a few screenshots on this page; but point taken, maybe not enough. We'll aim to include more screenshots in future tutorials.


Jan 12, 2008
The reflection is perfect
by: Suzy


I just wanted to add my congratulations to Cindy. I think your photo is wonderful.

I especially like the reflection. It's so perfect. Not a ripple on the lake at all. Were you very lucky to get this, or did you plan your trip with this in mind, and time your arrival at the lake?

Either way it is just a gret photo. You must be very proud of this. Do you have more like this? I would like to see them if you do.


Jan 09, 2008
Looks magical
by: Laura

This is a really lovely photograph Cindy, you should be proud of this.

I especially love the way the lake is so calm and there is a slight mist over it. It makes it look just magical!

I didn't even notice the clouds "blown out" (or whatever the correct term is) until they were pointed out.

I've gone through some of the photographs I have on my computer and I can see in them also a few "blown out" parts.

I hope that tutorial comes quickly!

I gave you 5 stars becuase I love the photograph so much!

Tutorial should be coming within the next week.


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