1. single, unedited, reference exposure
    final composite
    detail @ 100% crop

    This is a shot from a Sci-Fi/Fantasy series that I’m working on. The before shot (top) is a single exposure of the whole scene that I used as a reference, the final image is a composite of about 50 photographs.

    To create the base for the beam of light I used a flashgun inside the box triggered by another flashgun on-camera. The purpose of using flash was to create a fair amount of spill on the grass and trees to simulate a beam of light so less work was needed in Photoshop later.

    Making sure my focus was set on the box I used a modified panorama technique by started in the top left of the frame; shooting photos from left to right in a snaking pattern, overlapping them by about 1/3 until I reached the bottom right corner. Stitching the photos together in Adobe Photoshop gave me an image equivalent of about 100 Megapixels. I did this so I would have a much higher resolution image for finer detail (see bottom 100% crop image) and easier editing, though I did finally resize to 8000x8000px. Using Photoshop’s various tools I created the beam of light from the box; other lighting effects and dust particles were created from scratch but some brushes were used for convenience. I did a final colour edit in Adobe Lightroom to get the kinds of greens and warm yellows I was looking for. (I personally prefer Adobe Lightroom for 99% of my editing needs).