Quebec, finally

Since we wanted to spend August and September in the Canadian Maritimes, we decided to re-enter Canada via Sault Ste. Marie and avoid the traffic in Chicago and Detroit. Of course, this meant driving through Ontario and no one ever reports having enjoyed driving through Ontario. Our objective was to get through it as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, this was not our fate. We had a little trouble with the truck, which turned out to be nothing more than a broken sensor. Problem was it happened on a saturday when nothing was open so we had to wait until Monday. But on Sunday night, a huge thunderstorm rolled through the province downing trees, taking out power lines and internet towers, and even blew over a stage at a blues fest in Ottawa. The town we were in, Renfrew, an hour east of Ottawa, had no power for almost 3 days. We ended up stuck in the muggy buggy province for six days in total before we made our escape leaving the giant mosquitos and flies behind. We were very glad we invested in those generators so we had air conditioning during the wait.

By the time we left, the heat wave had hit so we opted to drive at night to avoid heat and traffic in Montreal. Well, weren’t we surprised going through Montreal at midnight to find bumper to bumper traffic!

Finally we made it to Quebec City. We went on a historical walking tour through the old city. I enjoyed the walk and some of the historical information, but found most of the tour really boring and the sites we visited were not photogenic at all. I think the guide was avoiding all the interesting architecture and taking us to the most bland convents and I couldn’t even count how many obelisks we saw – a monument to this and a monument to that and here’s another nunnery blah blah blah.

Fortunately we still had the whole afternoon to wander about on our own. I chose not to take my tripod or any extra lenses since it was so hot and I knew the harsh light of mid-day would not be the best. So instead I went out with one lens and tried some more hand-held HDR.

I took these images of the infamous Chateau Frontenac by bracketing 3 exposures and combining them in Photomatix.

I used the method I learned in a recent Topaz Adjust webinar on HDR workflow presented by Hal Schmitt. In the webinar, Hal discussed double processing HDR images once via Photomatix and then copying the photomatix layer and processing it with Topaz Adjust. Then you use blending modes to blend the Topaz Adjust layer with the Photomatix layer. The webinar was excellent and I love the technique.

In this image, I also used the lens correction feature in Photoshop to straighten out the lines of the building. The better method for architecture is using a tilt-shift lens, but since I don’t have one, I did the best I could in Photoshop.

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    • Anne McKinnell says

      Thanks Toad and I hope Mrs. Toad enjoys them as well. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice Quebec was and everyone was very friendly.

  1. says

    Lovely photographs from Ville de Québec!

    Many years ago, my friend and I drove from Vancouver to Ottawa. When we arrived in Thunder Bay, we drove on 17 through northern Ontario. There’s a certain beauty in the bleakness that is the Canadian Shield – the stunted old-growth forest, the glacial lakes, all that granite. My long-standing memory is at a gas-station just outside of Kapuskasing : when my friend finished filling the tank, I asked him to be quiet for a moment. We heard nothing. Middle of the day, and nothing. Frankly, it was outstanding.

    • Anne McKinnell says

      Thanks Henry! I would like to see northern Ontario sometime, I have heard it can be beautiful. But I think I’ll go in the fall when the mosquitos and black flies are gone.

    • Anne McKinnell says

      Thanks Len. The issues with the truck are somewhat expected since we bought an older truck. We got a great deal on it and expect we will have to put some money into maintenance along the way. At least the next time we got stuck, we were camped on the banks of the Saint John River in New Brunswick, which was a lovely place to get stuck. The story on that will be on the blog next week.

  2. says

    “here’s another nunnery blah blah blah” perfectly sums up my thoughts about those kind of tours :) I’m normally not a tone-mapping fan in general but it worked really well for that first shot.

    • Anne McKinnell says

      Thank you Ron! Ya, I don’t generally go on those kinds of tours either, but frankly it was only $5 more than just taking the shuttle and it included the shuttle trip so it seemed like it might be worthwhile. At least I learned my way around the city even if the tour wasn’t really my thing.


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