Making a Quebec Print

We just got back from a week of skiing in Quebec City. It’s a beautiful area, with three terrific ski resorts (Stoneham, Mont Sainte Anne and Le Massif). Each resort offers excellent skiing for everyone. There are long, cruiser runs for beginners and the older folks, double black diamond glade runs with moguls as big as Volkswagen bugs for the daredevils and a wide variety of intermediate runs that seem to take forever to ski down. For us Ontario skiers who have to make do with glacial moraines as a poor excuse for mountains, long runs are a novelty that you never get tired of.

For a photographer, Quebec is paradise. The old town in Quebec City dates back to the 17th century and is full of photogenic buildings and street scenes. The shop windows are an absolute treat and will be the subject of an upcoming blog. On the way to Le Massif, you journey into the Charlevoix, a gorgeous area of Quebec that runs along the north side of the St. Lawrence River. It’s one of my favorite photo locations, combing lovely scenery with some of the wackiest  old barns ever built. There is not a square window in the Charlevoix and the locals have not heard of the word subtle when it comes to paint.

Here’s an example of a finished image of an old barn on a snowy hillside, gently sloping towards the river. My eye was caught by the angle of the barn, the colours and the parallel line of the fence posts.

Charlevoix Barns Original

As you can see, the photo has a lot of issues. There is a large electrical wire in the top left corner. The light is very flat. The barn is no where near as colourful as it was to the naked eye. A trip through Lightroom was needed to adjust it to suit my personal style.

Charlevoix Farm After Editing in Lightroom

My aim was to approach the vivid colours and contrast of the paintings produced by Charlevoix artists. This is very easy to do in Lightroom. I adjusted the white balance to get rid of the bluish gray tint in the snow, improved the exposure and used the clarity and saturation sliders to bring out the colours in the barn and the trailer.

At this point, I actually thought I was done and produced a small print. I was so focused on the colour and exposure that I didn’t even notice all the clutter and crap in the middle-right of the image. This farmer seems to have a penchant for collecting stuff and piling it up right outside the barn. Time for a trip through Photoshop.

I used the clone tool to get rid of the junk and patch together a window from the other windows in the barn. I debated getting rid of the trailer, but I liked the way it adds a dab of red to the image. Finally, I looked at the photo and decided to move the fence-line further up into the frame. This necessitated cloning an extra fence pole.

Here’s the finished product:

Charlevoix Farm

I really like this image now and have successfully produced a 15×10 print on Canson Platine paper that will go into my portfolio.


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