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Stairway to Heaven How I did it - Chris Bower

Across from my art tent at the 2016 Greeley Park Art Show was another photographer displaying a photo of a spiral staircase taken at the New Hampshire Portsmouth Harbor Light House.

The more I looked at his photograph, the more I wanted to photograph the staircase myself.

In mid-January 2017 I was granted access to the lighthouse to make my photograph.

I was planning to use Photoshop to remove everything but the staircase and replace the background with a night sky Milky Way image.

Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse Spiral Staircase

Light House & Spiral Stairway

In the spring of 2017, I had the good fortune to spend a month visiting four South African countries.

The first night was a new moon and I made this image of the Milky Way while camping in Kgalagadi National Park, Botswana.

Milky Way

This is a panorama of two images, the cloud of stars at 8 o'clock is a nebula from the Crux constellation.

I edited these images in Lightroom, adjusting for focus, clarity, color balance, saturation, lens correction, and haze before bringing them into Photoshop as layers and aligning them.

The first step was to erase the supporting walls of the Lighthouse and leaving only the steps.

To give the illusion of the steps reaching through the stars into the heavens, I gradually decreased the opacity of the steps beginning with 0 opacity for the first / largest and closest step to 85% opacity for the smaller, most innermost steps.

I divided the 36 steps of the staircase into 20 groups (or layers) and modified the opacity value for each layer.

Each group of selected steps had the opacity adjusted and the adjoining steps erased.

The following images illustrate this process.

Stairway to Heaven

My Contact Info

e: chris.bower@comcast.net | w: betherephotography.com

All of my images are available for purchase. Please contact me for custom orders of any size printed on the highest quality paper, canvas or metal surface.

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© Chris Bower 2017