Spiral Down Heals

March 17, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Spiral Down Heals FinalSpiral Down Heals FinalSpiral Down Heals

I have photographed the famous staircase at Heals Department Store on Tottenham Court Road before but not since the changes made last year. The notable new feature is the chandelier going from top to bottom. They have also added subtle lighting on the steps. There has also been an extension of the part of the staircase accessible to the public to the lowest floor but not the highest floor.

This seems a fairly common composition probably because it is the best. I felt that using a fishey lens enhances the view.

One problem with using a fisheye looking down is avoiding the feet getting in the picture. I had to lean on the banister and get my feet as far back as possible.

The picture was taken handheld with a Sony A700 with a Samyang fisheye lens at 8mm. 3 raw images 2EV spacing. Opened in Photoshop first and each image noise reduced with Noiseware Pro and saved as tiffs.


The 3 images at 2EV separation were outputted in Photomatix using Real Estate settings for a natural look


The image was adjusted in Topaz vibrant preset group and boost preset.

Contrast and vibrance increased a little with adjustment layers.

Hue saturation yellows decreased a little to avoid overdoing the wood.

To avoid an over blue look in some small areas of the rails I used a mono layer, adjusted to match the rails, excluded the mono with a layer mask and then brushed it back in just in the small problem areas.

Layers flattened before going on to sharpening.

Duplicate layer Noiseware Pro and a little sharpening.

Second duplicate layer with mask to apply extra sharpening and contrast with low amount and high radius using Unsharp mask (Clarity Effect) The settings were 31 amount and 31 radius. A layer mask was used to exclude this effect from some highlights.

A slight crop was used to improve composition to exclude one of the lights at the edge of the picture.

Clone tool used for tidy up and in particular to remove a distracting light switch at the edge of the picture.


Below are the Before and After images. First the original. Then the tonemapped image and then the final result.

Original at 0EV

Spiral Down Heals OriginalSpiral Down Heals OriginalSpiral Down Heals

Tonemapped image

Spiral Down Heals TonemappedSpiral Down Heals TonemappedSpiral Down Heals

Final Image

Spiral Down Heals FinalSpiral Down Heals FinalSpiral Down Heals

For licences and prints see Spiral Down Heals

Edwin Jones


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