Saturday, August 29, 2015

Summer in the North, Part 2

(See previous post for Part 1: the Finger Lakes and Ottawa)

Our next stop was Montreal. Befitting its big-city status, it offered traffic jams, construction and detours. Once settled, though, we enjoyed ourselves.

The Nikon D750 performed well. The low-light performance, aided by noise reduction in Lightroom, is very good. The altar of the spectacular Notre-Dame Basilica was shot hand-held at ISO 12,800, 1/30 sec. at f/8. I'm happy with the results.

Notre-Dame altar, Montreal
The vibration control seems to work well on the Tamron 24-70mm lens. The pulpit was shot at 1/6 sec. handheld. The wood ornamentation in the basilica is jaw-dropping.

Notre-Dame pulpit
Montreal has a botanical garden of 185 acres, including both greenhouse and outdoor areas. It is beautiful and, at latitude 45.5 degrees North, astonishing to someone from Maryland. We spent a lovely morning there. The bonsai exhibit, courtesy of China (so it's actually penzai) was a highlight but the entire place is worth seeing.

Orange Jasmine penzai

East to Quebec. Many told us "you'll think you're in Europe" and old Quebec City does have an Old World feel: narrow, curving streets, old stone buildings, and window boxes side-by-side with monumental architecture.

Old Quebec City street
Quebec Seminary

I especially like the way the D750 preserves shadow detail. I used the highlight-weighted metering mode a lot. The resulting images have underexposed areas that really come back to life when you adjust the exposure and reduce the highlights in Lightroom. This Quebec skyline shows the Chateau Frontenac (left), once a grand residence for British governors and now a hotel. I shot directly into the sun. Here are the before and after results. Look how much detail I could retrieve from the shadows without blowing out the sky.

Quebec Skyline (as shot)
Quebec Skyline (post-processing)
As in past trips, we found Canada beautiful, friendly, and rich in culture and history. If you have a chance to go, take it!

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