Marvel's Dr Strange

Have any of you ever wanted to possess the mystical powers of Doctor Strange? Opening a teleportation portal anywhere, anytime. How cool is that? Well, I definitely wish I could, and I can….. produce an image of myself opening the teleportation portal. Haha!


As obvious as it is already, this image was totally inspired from the 2016 MARVEL fantasy/science fiction film, Dr Strange, directed by Scott Derrickson.

The visual of the iconic portal opening up to reveal an entirely different location on the other side was just breathtaking to me. Especially with the orange sparks rotating and opening up the portal.

Creating the Sparks

Unlike the conventional dark purple colour often used in association with sorcery, Doctor Strange’s magic is bright and gold, and the circular teleportation portal conjured by him has golden sparks flying around the circumference.

I did not want to create a fake spark portal by using any stock image or photoshop filter, thus, I started googling on how to create sparks that moved in a circular motion. Turns out it was pretty easy to achieve. All you need is a kitchen whisk, a glove, some steel wool grade 0, a stainless steel cord (flexible enough to tie around the whisk), a lighter and a huge deserted area (trust me, the sparks can reach great distances).

With all the tools on hand and a location to create the sparks, it was time to experiment. The first few times involved troubleshooting with the camera settings and the way you should spin the contraption. Note: PLEASE WEAR THE GLOVES AT ALL TIMES! As the metal whisk will get extremely hot after the burning the steel wool.


Before I began this project, I already had the image composition and location in mind. The location would be from my home office. Doesn't it just feels so good to teleport anywhere you want from home? All I needed to do was to tidy up the place and have the proper outfit for the photoshoot depending on the location I am 'traveling' to. Since I wanted a winter location on the other end of the portal, my outfit would consist of boots and winter wear such as a wind breaker (all of which are from G-star. Sponsor me maybe?).

All that was left to do for the scene would be to plan the lighting and simulate the effect that the orange sparks from the portal would realistically have on the surroundings by illuminating certain parts of the room accordingly.

I used a Profoto B1 attached with an umbrella and a diffuser. A full color temperature orange gel (CTO) was used to create the warm lighting given out by the portal. That was pretty much about it. Now all you had to do was to perfect the pose.


After the shoot was done, it was time to composite the two images (the portal sparks and the home office image) into one. And of course, not forgetting the image of a winter location that was going to be shown in the portal.

Below is the final imagery:


We thought it would be cool to do a cinemagraph for the portal so, why not? :)

I really wish I had such powers but I guess this image will have to suffice for now.

Till then, let's keep experimenting and creating interesting imagery!