(Petapixel.com) Depicted in the composite image above are over 400 unique snowflakes, all accurately measured and scaled to that they are all in relative size to one another.
On average, 40 separate images are combined for each individual snowflake. This is required to get the crystal in focus from tip to tip with a process called focus-stacking. Due to the nature of the subject and the hand-held approach to photographing each snowflake, 4-5 hours are spent on each image in post-processing. Why so long?
Each snowflake is photographed on an angle, which allows for reflected light to hit the surface of the crystal and bounce back into the camera lens brightly. If the snowflake was photographed straight-on, the angle would require the light source to be coming from inside the lens itself.
This angled shooting results in only a tiny slice of the subject being in focus, and the hand-held nature of shooting these sky crystals means vertical/horizontal/rotational shifts need to be corrected for. Photoshop can re-align the layers, but it can?t correct for perspective and it has trouble around certain edges when blending the layers; these problems need to be corrected manually.
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