Cellpic Sunday – 219 Steps to the Top

Stairway to the top of the Saint Augustine Lighthouse.

St. Augustine, Florida.

Anastasia Island, off the coast of Florida, is a barrier island on the Atlantic coastline. For the month of January, we stayed in a condo and explored much of the area. Saint Augustine was founded in 1565 and holds the title of the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European and African-American origin in the United States. There is much history in the area from the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fortification in the continental United States, to the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Augustine, the oldest Christian parish in the country, (though the original structure was lost to history.)

Since those earliest years, Spanish watchtowers provided observation posts to warn the young town of approaching marauders. The northernmost watchtower on Anastasia Island became the site of the Saint Augustine Light Station constructed in 1871-74. It continues to be an active navigation aid and is operated privately. The light tower and associated buildings are part of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, Inc., a non-profit association that operates the museum.

About the photo: The 219 steps to the top are broken up by several landings, all on the east side of the tower. Standing at the base of the tower, I captured a cell phone image of the staircase as it spiraled upward. The image appears to be in black and white, however, the walls are white and the staircase is black. It is a “color” image.

Here’s a tip for capturing overhead objects from below with a cellphone. Instead of leaning back and using the camera system at the back of the cellphone, put the camera in “selfie” mode using the front camera. Hold the phone horizontally and point the front camera straight up overhead. You will get a proper perspective without the tilt that comes with trying to lean back and shoot almost vertically as you compose your image. It’s also a lot less stressful on your back.

I didn’t think of this technique myself. A few years ago, I was attempting to photograph a chandelier in the atrium of a cruise ship. Another passenger who happened to be passing by told me of the trick. I’ve used it several times ever since.

I used Luminar Neo to reduce noise and to add the “SuperSharp” filter. I was not able to stand immediately under the exact center of the stairwell as the exact center of the main floor happened to be occupied by a Christmas tree. You can tell that I was standing just to the right of the center point as those small circles in the center of each landing would have been on top of each other if I were in the direct center. Those hanging objects from each of the center circles are holiday bells.

I encourage fellow bloggers to create their own Cellpic Sunday posts. I never have a specific topic for this feature, and the only rules are that the photo must be captured with a cell phone, iPad, or another mobile device… If you have an image from a drone or even a dashcam, that’s acceptable as well. The second rule is to link your challenge response to this post or leave a comment here with a link to your post in the comment. Oh, and, you don’t have to post it on a Sunday.

John Steiner


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