I captured the “Stairway to Heaven” image during a photo shoot commissioned by a realtor, showcasing a residence in Houston’s Tanglewood neighborhood. The property boasts a stunning modern Spanish colonial revival architecture. From this shoot, I produced a total of 5-6 noteworthy images. One of them, titled “Living Space,” earned a place as a finalist in the grand imaging awards for IPC.

“Stairway to Heaven” © Patrick Bertolino

Typically, I employ settings of f/8 and 320 ISO, allowing the shutter speed to determine the exposure. During this particular shoot, I used a Nikon D750 (now upgraded to the Z6ii) with a Nikon 24mm Tilt-Shift lens, all mounted on a Gitzo tripod featuring an Arca Swiss head. Lighting was facilitated by a handheld Godox AD200 with a round head and handle, affectionately referred to as “Thor’s hammer.”

For this specific image, a 3-image stack and merge technique was employed using the lens shift. Each position involved a 3-image bracket, strategically lit to address various areas, such as the bathroom beneath the stairs. This same process has resulted in a different impactful visual that earned me the cover of the PPA magazine.

© Patrick Bertolino

While the image did not receive merit at my local guild initially, valuable critiques were implemented to enhance its quality. Despite being labeled as potentially “masculine” in nature, I believe the diverse responses from judges may stem from the inherent impact and appeal of my work.

Here’s a link to an article I wrote that summarizes that process: https://thephotographeronline.com/patrick-bertolino/real-estate-photography-2/

“Living Space” © Patrick Bertolino