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Ventfort Hall, Topaz plug-ins, and movie tie-ins

June 10, 2013

The Berkshires region in Massachusetts is a beautiful area, with year-round activities.  However, in April it seemed to be off-season.  I suppose the winter activities are done, and a number of the attractions don’t open until later in the spring. So when we decided to take a day trip, I have to admit that one of the reasons for visiting Ventfort Hall was pretty basic – it’s open year round.  Having said that, I’m certainly glad I visited and would recommend it to others.

According to their website:

“Ventfort Hall, built by George and Sarah Morgan as their summer home, is an imposing Jacobean Revival mansion that typifies the Gilded Age in Lenox. Sarah, the sister of J. Pierpont Morgan, purchased the property in 1891, and hired Rotch & Tilden, prominent Boston architects, to design the house.”

Nikon D90, processed in LR, PSE10, Topaz Clarity and B&W Effects

Ventfort Hall Exterior
Nikon D90, processed in LR, PSE10, Topaz Clarity and B&W Effects

It is a really remarkable restoration.  Purchased with the intent of being torn down, it was horribly neglected and extensively damaged during the ’80s and ’90s.  It was only in 1997 that the site was purchased for preservation, and the association that purchased it has made significant progress.  It is unfortunate that due to a zoning dispute about an elevator and accessibility, the second floor can’t be viewed.

Part of the reason they have been able to renovate so much was that the movie was used for some shooting of The Cider House Rules (Ok- I’m guilty of not seeing it, but it is in the Netflix queue).  In fact, if you look at the DVD cover, that is Ventfort Hall in the background. Apparently the movie contributed to the renovation as part of the shooting.

Robert Gould Shaw, Colonel of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and civil war hero, spent his honeymoon here. His wife’s family owned the original house that was on the property. That was the role portrayed by Matthew Broderick in Glory.

There is certainly a lot of work still to be done on the property, but it is well worth a visit if you are in the Berkshires.

Dining Room, Ventfort Hall Nikon D90, edited in LR and Topaz B&W Effects

Dining Room, Ventfort Hall
Nikon D90, edited in LR and Topaz B&W Effects

The second photo was done shortly after the original visit, as I was (and still am) learning Topaz B&W Effects. The exterior shot was done recently, as I start learning Topaz’s latest product, Clarity.


From → Photography

  1. I recently took advantage of the introductory price of Topaz Clarity. I have dozens of plug-ins from OnOne, & NIK software but Clarity is unique. I also own Topaz DeNoise and use it exclusively for noise reduction. I highly recommend Topaz Clarity for its ease of use and sharpening/contrast enhancements. Welcome to the WordPress family of blogging. – Bob


    • I bought the bundle awhile back, and have been a big fan of Adjust and Simplify (although a do use the others on occasion as well). I just picked up Clarity, and got B&W Effects and Star Effects last Black Friday.

      I use LR for most of my basic editing, and find it works well for noise removal. Are you using LR? I’d be interested in your comparison between that and DeNoise.


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