To make this photo-collage, I shot a number of bracketed exposure sequences of individual shells on a white background. I then auto HDR processed each sequence, converting to monochromatic HDR within the software that I used (in this case, Photomatix).
Bringing each finished monochromatic shell into Photoshop as a separate image, I combined the images using layers, layer masks, and blending modes to create the finished image. Yes, a certain amount of warping, transforming, and distorting was also involved—but no shells were hurt in the process.
Exposure data: 100mm macro lens, fifteen bracketed sequences of five exposures each, each sequence shot at f/16 and ISO 200 with exposure times between 1.6 seconds and 1/25 of a second, tripod mounted; exposure sequences processed for monochromatic HDR in Photomatix, and combined to create a collage in Photoshop.