What if we all disappeared tomorrow, leaving behind nothing but our stuff? That's what we asked in this week's Shooting Challenge. The results? Funny, clever, serene and often eery.

12 Big City Scenes, Eerily Devoid of Human Life

WINNER: Busiest Pool In NYC

I wish I had a private pool this large. This image is a combination of 20 or so images taken over an hour period at the pool in Astoria, New York. It is the largest pool in New York City. I was shooting a time lapse from when the pool opened until it filled up, and I had a choice of 800 frames to stich this together with. This was shot on Saturday, and it was close to 100 degrees outside so the place was packed.

There were a couple hundred people in the pool when the lifeguard in the stand started blowing her whistle at someone. The boy in the shot wasn't there at the time, but I thought it would be funny to combine the two. The shot that comprises most of this photo was taken before the pool opened, though I still removed several staff and lifeguards from the frame manually.

I know that it technically isn't empty, but lets say plague hit New York and only the lifeguards and this boy survived thanks to chlorine ingestion. The manual removal and addition of material (i.e. that pink towel) was done with the magic wand tool, some clone stamping, blurring and smudging. Nikon D300s, 24mm focal length , f 3.1, 1/320 s, ISO 100.
- Mike Ratliff

12 Big City Scenes, Eerily Devoid of Human Life

Who Left the Lights On?

I happened to be in the city and wantedto shoot some skyline shots at night, but my prior engagement went late and Ididn't want to get home at 2 AM if I missed the next train. That's when Iremembered gizmodo's shooting challenge for this week and decided to take ashot at it. I really wanted to try to get a shot at a busy manhattanintersection, and not have to remove people via photoshop. I decided to use a long exposure, andafter a few attempts I got this one. The hardest part was the people who stoodstill. If they were moving, they wouldn't come up in the picture, but I kepthaving that picture where one person stood still. This is taken at 34th streetand 7th avenue, right down the block from Penn Station / MSG. ISO - 400, 11mm, Nikon d7000, 5 s, f/22
- Chaitanya Kapadia

12 Big City Scenes, Eerily Devoid of Human Life

Crosswalk

I knew I couldn't match a setting as vibrant and crowded as Times Square, so I asked my friends for suggestions on locations and how my "Boston" shot could stand out. My brother came up with this brilliant idea of removing all people except for something or someone that should never be unattended (e.g., a pet, a kid or a stroller).

So... I headed out with my tripod and T2i for the Boston Common/Public Garden, and after a few (bad) angles and attempts, I decided I'd try to create a shot of a kid crossing the street by himself/herself. This proved to be quite challenging because parents these days invariably hold their kids hands when crossing the street (lame ;-)). So, a sunburn and 200 shots later, I finally got this little rebel crossing the street *not holding hands* in the middle of a big crowd. Then came the late nite Photoshop fun: 1) Remove parents (and everyone else) from the shot, 2) add some cars (from the previous 199 frames), and ta-da! - A cool shot (and interesting movie idea) is born. Canon T2i, 17mm, f/10, ISO 100
- Diego Jimenez

12 Big City Scenes, Eerily Devoid of Human Life

Burnout

Driving around trying to figure out where we were going to shoot something using a long exposure later on these city streets. I hit the brakes and jumped out of the car. The sweltering 108 degree heat hit me instantly and I realized why this entire city block seemed deserted. I took a couple shots and its all I needed. Black and white conversion and done. Empty never seemed so easy. Thank you heat wave! Nikon D90, Tokina 11-16mm
F-stop 4.5, Expo. 1/2000, ISO 200
- Ashley Chavez

12 Big City Scenes, Eerily Devoid of Human Life

Too Hot to Play

We spent the day wandering around town in search of something cool to drink in the 105 degree heat. I came upon this playground in the mid afternoon. Since there were no kids around and it had this... would have been full on any other day feel to it I grabbed the sticks and took a few shots. This one just stuck with me at how bright the colors on the slide came out, hardly any editing except for color correction. On days like this what do you need Photoshop for?
- Steven Unverzagt

12 Big City Scenes, Eerily Devoid of Human Life

The EMPTY Biggest Little City in the World

This was my perfect opportunity to attempt capturing "EMPTY" in a busy place w/out the use of an ND filter. After a successful celebration at the Men's Club for my boy's bachelor party… walked out of there only to find the sun had just come out. Perfect timing because the hordes of people that surround this area were thin to none! Through clever positioning… I present to you "The EMPTY Biggest Little City in the World".
- Daniel Jennings

12 Big City Scenes, Eerily Devoid of Human Life

Dawn of the Dead

I decided that a busy mall would be a good scene for this week's contest. This was a horrible choice because in addition to the hundreds of people walking around, there were an equal amount of reflections and shadows to deal with. Not to mention, there's always at least one person sleeping on a bench in the mall. What's up with that, right? Anyways, I set up my tripod on the third floor and was able to get a couple dozen shots over a period of about 20 minutes before security came and kicked me out. That was another challenge, the light changed greatly over the 20 minute time span. I spent a few hours piecing together 7 different images to remove the people and then added that post-apocalypse Hollywood color to give it an extra sense of desolation. The shots were captured at ISO 200 | f7.1 | 1/50 shutter | 18-55mm Nikkor @ 18mm, on my Nikon 5100.
- Dan Durakovich

12 Big City Scenes, Eerily Devoid of Human Life

Free Flowing Tube

I had intended to put some time into this challenge on Sunday as Saturday required a rushed visit back to my parents. Turns out the Sunday session wasn't needed as on arriving for the first tube on Saturday morning I found the station near deserted. Nikon D3100 with Tamron SP AF 28-75mm F/2.8, 1/8 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200/ Color tweaked and Noise reduced in Photoshop
- Daniel Hunt

12 Big City Scenes, Eerily Devoid of Human Life

No Tripod Zone

I was traveling through the DC Metro, and thought this platform at Gallery Place looked like a good spot. I wrapped the gorilla pod around the safety rail overlooking both red line tracks. I actually got yelled at for taking this photo. After taking about 40 shots, a police officer approached and (was actually very polite) informed me that I am allowed to take photos within the Metro system, but I may not use a tripod, or clamp equipment to their guard rails. He waited for me to detach the gorillapod and I moved on.

One friend pointed out that I could have taken a similar picture at 1am (d'oh), but this was taken at noon on Friday. I can provide one of the frames that is full of people. In fact I caught something interesting, on the upper left side, in a few of the untouched photos, there is a couple seated on the floor, the male is comforting the female and they are talking to a police officer. Not quite sure this situation beyond that.

I am using a Canon 40D. I cranked the ISO up to 1000, aperture f/2.8, shutter 1/20 (to make it well lit) I'm using the 15mm Fisheye. I also used a remote so I could just click over and over. I was there about 5 minutes before having to move along.
- Andrew Jones

12 Big City Scenes, Eerily Devoid of Human Life

After the Volcano

This was shot with a Canon 60D, using a tripod the timer. It was shot in Gloucester MA just after the Volcano erupted. The last of us had just fled to the boats and were doing some serious rowing...

The Image was shot at f:5, @ 160th of a sec. The Focal Length was 70 mm and the ISO was 100.
The picture was transmitted via a secrete prototype Wi-Fi device, too my other 60D which I was hiding under the boats seat... If your thinking of visiting Gloucester any time soon, don't forget to get one of those Silver Spacesuit things you see the scientists wearing on the Discovery Channel... cause your gonna need it.
Send help.
- Charlie Carroll

12 Big City Scenes, Eerily Devoid of Human Life

No Line at Cloud Gate

Currently visiting Chicago, staying near Millennium Park, and wanted to capture the extraordinary "Cloud Gate" — affectionately and appropriately known to locals as "The Bean" — with as few people in the shot as possible. Left the hotel just after sunrise and legged it over to the park. Found the sculpture bathed in the warm morning light with nary a soul in sight, proving early birds do get the worm. Used a Canon EOS 60D with EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS in Av mode at 1/1000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100.
- Jeremy Bridgen

12 Big City Scenes, Eerily Devoid of Human Life

Empty LA

For this challenge I decided to go to downtown Los Angeles and try to make it look deserted. I used a 10 stop neutral density filter to blur out the cars to the point of (almost) invisibility. I had tried this shot before but this was my first time using morning light and I like the result much better. Canon 7D , Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L, USM @ 17mm, 30 seconds @ f/22, ISO 100. Color balance and one small sign removal in Aperture and Photoshop.
- Eric Norris

So granted, some of you skipped out on the technical challenge of this one, opting to find an empty area rather than stack several photos to mimic one. And actually, I think it shows. Our winner has a certain impossibility to it that natural shots lack—a tacit "what is going on here?" that rises in the pit of your stomach. (If you haven't, try to guess the combined shots vs the natural shots and score yourself.) That said, great work all around. And a special thanks to those of you who spent...I don't even want to think how long on this work. Big shots on flickr.