Behind the Shot: Abbaye St-Benoit-Du-Lac, Quebec

by | Jan 24, 2017 | Impressive Places, Pic of the Month | 3 comments

At first glance, this shot doesn’t look like it has much potential, does it?

1 original shot

But after working on it for a while in Lightroom, it seems to have been transformed into something much closer to how I remember it feeling like on that cold, Canadian midwinter morning.

9575_JAS_Austin-Quebec-Canada W

Abbaye St-Benoit-Du-Lac
Austin, Quebec, Canada
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In the process of editing this shot, I used practically every develop panel and adjustment tool Lightroom had to offer! To learn how to edit your pictures like this, click here.

But there’s something else interesting about this photo…

The widescreen format of the typical screen these days is wider than the typical ratio I edit my pictures. Widescreen is 16:9. I generally crop my pictures at 2:3. So, to make my pictures fit, I will generally crop off a bit of the picture from the top or bottom (or both).

Problem is, this shot is different.

If I cropped off the top, it would cut into the bell tower making it look quite unpleasing; the top edge of the photo is precious close to the top of the bell tower as it is! Same thing at the bottom of the image; it’s already cropped too close for comfort. (And I would have included more snow in the foreground if it hadn’t been for the plowed driveway right below the bottom edge of the frame.) The only real way of making this picture work as a 16:9 desktop background was to extend the picture on either side.

Here’s what the 2:3 ratio looked like on a 16:9 screen:

9575_JAS_Austin-Quebec-Canada W edges

How would you solve this problem?

Thankfully, Photoshop has an awesome little feature called “Content-Aware Scale”. In just a few minutes, I was able to stretch out the two sides of the image to make the picture fill in the entire 16:9 area!

The tool didn’t do things perfectly, though, so I had to do a little cloning afterward. Perhaps you  notice the cloned fence on the right? And what about the tree above it? Looks a little stretched, doesn’t it. Yeah, it’s not perfect, but I bet if I didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t have noticed.

(And oh, I bet you wouldn’t nave noticed the stretched rocks on the left side of the building either.)


So, now that you know how the shot was edited to fit a 16:9 ratio, head on over to this in-depth article on how a seemingly useless image was transformed into a Kinkadesque portrait of Abbaye St-Benoit-Du-Lac!

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  1. James Staddon

    That abbey is the most beautiful architectural subject I think I have ever attempted to photograph! There are very few castle-like structures here in North America, let alone ones that are in scenic surroundings and that are still in good condition and that you have permission to shoot and have access to shoot at the right times of day . . . that is, if you can get there in the first place, and at the right time. I am very grateful to my friend Matthew for taking me there for the very first time back in 2011 when I was visiting his home in Ontario for a little vacation. Even though he’s not a photographer, he knew I liked taking pictures, and he certainly hit the nail on the head when he decided to give me a tour of this place! I’ll be forever grateful.

  2. Ryan Madaris

    It’s a beautiful building! I love the photo.


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