Lightroom 2’s Aged Photo Preset

Just a few more images from my recent visit to the George Ranch Historical Park’s Davis House, an 1890’s Victorian style mansion. These images are from the mansion’s authentic carriage house and stables. Each was taken hand-held in very low light conditions and processed using Lightroom 2’s “Aged Photo” preset to give them that old time look. Since I was the only visitor in the carriage house that afternoon, it was easy to imagine myself working there a hundred years ago, grooming the horses and mucking out the stables.

1890's Grooming Supplies

1890’s Grooming Supplies
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 40D , 17-40mm f/4 L at 17mm, f/5.6, 1/50th sec at ISO 200 on SanDisk digital film.

1890's Horse Stalls

1890’s Horse Stalls
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 40D , 17-40mm f/4 L at 17mm, f/8, 1/40th sec at ISO 200 on SanDisk digital film.

1890's Mucking Equipment

1890’s Mucking Equipment
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 40D , 17-40mm f/4 L at 40mm, f/4, 1/60th sec at ISO 200 on SanDisk digital film.

None of these three images was what I’d call “tack sharp” and the color versions really didn’t look all that exciting when I first imported them into Lightroom. Since I had nothing to lose, I started playing around with the various Develop presets and the Clarity and Sharpening sliders to see if any of these could be salvaged. I found that the old fashioned, soft focus style of the “Aged Photo” preset (tweaked just a little) really made these images come to life.

What do you think?

Life in 1830’s Texas

Just a few more images from my trip back in time to the 1830’s in Texas. If you’re ever in the Houston area, the George Ranch Historical Park is a great place to visit and it’s just about as authentic as it gets. No rides (other than on a wagon pulled by a tractor), no fast food and no crass souvenirs. It really is like stepping back in time!

A Man’s Home is his Castle
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 40D , 17-40mm f/4 L at 17mm, f/8, 1/250th sec at ISO 200 on SanDisk digital film. Post processed in Adobe Lightroom 2 using the “Antique Grayscale” preset. Click on the image above for a high resolution version.

Now That’s a Smokehouse!
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 40D , 17-40mm f/4 L at 17mm, f/13, 1/100th sec at ISO 200 on SanDisk digital film. Post processed in Adobe Lightroom 2 using the “Antique Grayscale” preset. Click on the image above for a high resolution version.

The Front Porch
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 40D , 17-40mm f/4 L at 24mm, f/6.3, 1/80th sec at ISO 200 on SanDisk digital film. Post processed in Adobe Lightroom 2 using the “Punch” preset. Click on the image above for a high resolution version.

Lightroom 2 makes it very easy to tryout different “Develop” presets and to back-up if you don’t like the results. You can even combine different presets, mixing and matching until you get exactly the look you want in your image.

Hard Working Man

Here’s another shot taken during my little stroll around the George Ranch Historical Park, one of the oldest Texas homesteads settled in 1824 by Henry and Nancy Jones as part of Stephen F. Austin’s first colony.

As I was walking around the 1830’s homestead site, I met a man sitting on the “dog-trot” of his log cabin, carving a black powder loading “measure” from the tip of a bull’s horn. If I remember his words correctly, it seems that his brother had borrowed his flint-lock rifle, measuring funnel and black-powder and somehow had lost the measuring funnel. I could tell from his voice that carving a new one was going to be a long slow process, especially in the heat and humidity of an East Texas summer day.

Hard Working Man

Hard Working Man
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 40D , 17-40mm f/4 L at 40mm, f/5.6, 1/60th sec at ISO 200 on SanDisk digital film. Post processed in Adobe Lightroom 2 using the “Punch” preset. Click on the image above for a high resolution version.

I sat a spell and listened while he talked about his homestead, the fields he had under plow, the new smoke-house he was fixing to build and about the new shotgun he was looking to buy. He even let me handle his flint-lock rifle and get a good look at the fine workmanship of the wood stock and iron barrel. We had a nice chat and I asked if I might look him up the next time I was traveling this way. Being a southern gentleman, he said “Why sure. You’re welcome anytime but you should really come around for Texian Market Days in the fall. All sorts of folks will be coming around and its a whole lot of fun”.

I said that sounded like a great idea to me and thanked him for his hospitality. And as I walked down the path, I new that I’d just met one hard working southern gentleman.

Special thanks to J.R. Thomas, the 1830’s Site Lead at the George Ranch Historical Park for his time, his enthusiasm and his incredible acting ability. Staying “in character” as an 1830’s farmer when faced with a Canon 40D takes some kind of skill. By the end of our conversation I was willing to suspend disbelief and find myself transported back in time to the 1830’s. It was a great shoot and a whole lot of fun!

The George Ranch Historical Park

I took a personal photo-walk yesterday afternoon at the George Ranch Historical Park in Richmond, TX. According to the folks that work there the ranch had its beginning more than 180 years ago when the first pioneers came to a bend in the Brazos River and settled as part of Stephen F. Austin’s first colony. This whole area was part of northern Mexico then and settlers came for the inexpensive and sometimes free parcels of land that were available.

The story has it that this is where Henry and Nancy Jones planted an oak tree on the site that was to become their home. Well, that old oak is still there and its an impressive site to see.

180 Year Old Oak at the George Ranch

The Old Oak
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 40D , 17-40mm f/4 L at 17mm, f/11, 1/60th sec at ISO 200 on SanDisk digital film.

The ranch has a colorful history and was passed down from mother to daughter from the early 1820’s until 1971. Today, the 23,000 acre ranch is managed by the George Foundation and the Fort Bend Museum Association and is visited by more than 80,000 folks each year including more than 35,000 school children from the surrounding area. This includes my four daughters, each of whom has visited the ranch in the past ten years.

Back in 1977 the Davis House, a beautiful 1890’s Victorian mansion originally built in Richmond, was moved to the ranch where it stands proudly today. The Davis House includes the original greenhouse and grape arbor, as well as the servants quarters and carriage house. What a sight this house makes on a hot summer afternoon. You can click on this image for a high resolution version which really shows the incredible detail in this Victorian home.

The Davis House at the George Ranch Historical Park

The Davis House in Summer
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 40D , 17-40mm f/4 L at 17mm, f/16, 1/80th sec at ISO 200 using a circular-polarizing filter. Recorded on SanDisk digital film.

Every once in a while you really get lucky. I took these two shots hand-held in bright sunlight and never in my wildest dreams did I think they would turn out this sharp. And to answer your next question. No, I did not post process this as an “HDR” (High Dynamic Range) image. All post processing was done in Adobe Lightroom 2 using the “Clarity” and “Sharpening” settings I wrote about in my last post.