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I mentioned in my previous post New photography project “Exploring the River Thames” that there was more and here it is along with some tips for using Radials Filters in Adobe Lightroom. This post is not only to show you the image, but also to give a shout out to Yuri who runs a YouTube Channel called YuriFineart.


It was while I was watching one of Yuri’s YouTube videos that the idea of “Stairway to heaven” popped into mind.  He has a great technique of using radial filters for dodge and burn, and the idea I had was to place “heaven” at the top centre of the bridge using a radial filter, adding brightness and colour within the filter’s settings to give the bright warm glow. To show how it’s done, here’s a screen shot with a brief explanation given below. (Click on the screen shot image to see it full size.)

Screen shot Stairway to Heaven radial filter
Screen shot Stairway to Heaven in Lightroom with radial filter.

In the screen shot you’ll see a radial filter open with the addition of a warm yellow colour set at 79% saturation. There’s some minus Contrast, Clarity and Dehaze to give a soft feel to the glow and various other adjustments which are fine tuning. The idea is to play with the settings to get the effect you like. The feather of the filter (the feather adjustment is partially obscured by the colour box in the screen shot) was set to 100.

You’ll also see a whole bunch of pins dotted around the image which are other radial filters with various settings applied.  It’s a bit beyond the scope of this article to give a full set of instructions. However, if you have basic knowledge of using Lightroom and want to have a go with one of your own images, here’s what I recommend you do. Have a look at Yuri’s channel, watch a few of his videos and pay particular attention to his dodge and burn techniques using radial filters.  For the impatient, watch this video and from about 7 minutes in, the technique is demonstrated. After that have a play and see what you can come up with.

Editing Sequence

First here’s the RAW out of camera image with no editing applied. A bit dull, huh?

Stairway to heaven (RAW no edits)
Stairway to heaven (RAW unedited)

The next image shows how I was going to leave it. It was a routine Lightroom edit to be kept as a good record shot, at least it was before one’s of Yuri’s videos conspired to inspire.  Thanks Yuri! 🙂

Stairway to heaven (Lightroom only edit)
Stairway to heaven (Lightroom only edit)

This was taken into Photoshop for some cloning to remove some distractions, particularly the barbed wire fence and the greenery creeping into the bridge top right. I also did a little work to make the image pop a little more. Once that was done and the image saved, I then continued editing in Lightroom to add the various radial filters and do a little fine tuning.

Stairway to heaven, Finshed image
Stairway to heaven finished image

And that was it, I am delighted with the result and now wonder what other “dull” images I have that could benefit from this kind of work.

Thanks for reading.  🙂

If you have anything to add that would improve on what I have shared, or you have anything to say related to the above, please leave a comment below, bye for now.