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98 Incredible Photos of Levitation

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Man can fly, but he can't yet levitate. Maybe that's why these 98 photos of levitation—using Photoshop only to remove the strings—are so striking.

Lead Shot - Evening In

Me and my girlfriend during a gravitational failure this Thursday. This is a composite image made from 32 photos. Everything was captured in situ. A lot of hours went into planing, shooting and post-production for this one. I guess this is my most elaborate photo till now. I used various techniques for levitating. Smaller objects were on strings that were easily removed later on. Bigger objects like the couch were supported on piles of books. I had to take multiple photos and change the position of book piles so I could mask them out in post-production. We "levitated" on a ladder. It was important to wear an unzipped hoodie or a skirt in her case, to hide the ladder. I made at least 3 photos of every object in different positions, which turned out to be crucial in the end, because lots of photos were scrapped due to object overlapping, screwed up shadows etc. Canon 450D with kit lens set at 18mm. Same exposure settings used for all the photos (1/8s @ f/8, ISO 200).
- Niksa Stanovic


Paper Airplanes

This was my Superbowl party - folding and stringing a mass of paper airplanes for the shooting challenge. Go sport! With the help of a buddy, we hung them up with nylon string that the camera hardly
recognized. This was one of the funnest challenges for me so far. It sort of helped that he could already levitate, too. Shot was taken with a Nikon D90 (18mm, f3.5, 1/80, ISO 500), and an off-camera Sb-900
flash (1/16) through an umbrella reflector."
- Nick Sprankle


Zero G at Zero Degrees

I was focused on technique when I saw the challenge this week, and spent some time on a yoga levitation that came out pretty well (flickr: That was until yesterday, when I was walking through Chicago and encountered almost 2 feet of untouched snow. I happened to have my camera and took a few test shots (flickr:, and couldn't resist going back out again today to do the same. The parking garage next to my apartment had a ton of snow and an angle that let me drop out the foreground, giving it more of a flying effect. The shot's obviously dynamic, but feels like flying to me! In the end, I chose what I thought was the more interesting picture over the "pure" levitation effect. Thanks for the great challenge, this was a fun one. Taken with a Nikon D5000 using a Tokina 11-16mm f2.8; exposed at 12mm for 1/1000 sec at f3.5 and ISO 800.
-Seth A. Moser


Living Room

Got together with some family over the weekend and my cousin Marissa and I decided to see if we could take a photo that would be decent enough to enter this contest. We snuck (sneaked?) into the basement of my mother-in-laws house and started shooting. Marissa is doing a bridge on a couple of 5lb buckets of drywall joint compound I found in the garage. I am being supported in the corner by a not-so-sturdy step ladder under my right foot. The final shot is made up of those two photos and a empty room shot. I used Photoshop to combine the three images and erase the items supporting us. We had a lot of fun and I'm pretty please with my first attempt at doing anything like this. Nikon D3100, Nikon 18-55mm, ISO: 1600, Focal Length: 18mm
-Christian Petermann


Fly Away

This is one of the pictures of my series "Fly away". The idea is everybody can fly when listening or playing good music, read interesting book, fall in love, e.t.c. I've made 3 shoots from one point - a room, a girl on small table and a room with flying note pages. Then just erased table). So this picture is maximum natural. Hasselblad 500c, portra 400vc, tripod
- Anka Zhuravleva


Donut Halo

I was eating donuts while reading this weeks challenge and that gave me the idea of a floating donut.I use three tooth picks to hold the dont up and edited them out in Photoshop. Camera: Nikon d40 , Lens 18-55mm kitlens, Sb26 bounced
- Cameron Bird


Bull's Eye

In order to get this shot I set up my camera on a tripod in front of the dart board. I threw the dart in front of the camera and snapped the shot. It took me about 200 tries to get it in focus and centered. I shot it at f/11 with a 1/200 second exposure. My focal length is 29mm and the ISO is 200. I lit it using available light from the windows and a camera mounted flashgun.
- John Chapman


Light Baking

I knew I had to do something in the kitchen because it was the only place I had room. My girlfriend really wanted to bake cookies this night so that's what gave me the idea. I put her in a harness and had my roommate hold her up. He was a lot stronger than the fishing line I had. I put a flash in the oven and had a softbox to the right of the camera. Right as I took the photo, the dog walked in the shot. I was annoyed at first but I think he really added to the shot. I then put 2 cookies on sticks and 1 or 2 of them at a time all over the kitchen. After that is was a lot of masking in photoshop to remove the sticks and my roommate. Everything was shot where you see it. Camera: Canon 20D, Lens: Sigma 10-20mm @ 10mm, 1/250 @ f11, ISO 200
- Royce Hutain


Street Witch

My friend likes to fly on broomsticks so it made this challenge really easy :D
Nikon D3000, 55-200mm f/4-5.6, 200mm, f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/1250sec
- Anna Albert


WINNER - Midnight Welder

This is my take on the levitation challenge. I suspended the welding mask, gloves, welding gun, and the gun's feed tube with fishing line (from the ceiling and a million other places around and on the car) that I edited out in post process. The hardest piece to get aligned was the actual gun since the tube is so thick it naturally wants to twist its own direction. I ended up using 5 different pieces of fishing line to control it's height, angle, and to get it to touch the area of bare steel that I ground away. The gun's glove has it's fingers tied around the gun and MIG wire shoved inside to make it stand out and not fold. The top glove is held up by fishing line that's taped to the top of the hood and tied on a finger; along with a piece of welding wire that's resting on a line going to the helmet. To get the actual firework show to happen, I ground away some of the primer on the car where the gun was; don't worry, there were already spots in that area that need ground down from filling in trim holes so no harm to the car. I plugged the machine in and clamped the ground cable on the front bumper out of frame. To make it so I could stay out of frame and have it "weld," I wrapped electrical tape around the guns trigger. The actual welder is just out of frame to the right so I would turn it on and when the sparks started flying I'd reach over and push the shutter on the camera. I used a larger aperture to try and separate the helmet from the back of the car since they were roughly the same colors. To eliminate the shadow on the grill of the car I placed an SB-600 on a stand firing into a reflective 32" umbrella that was triggered by Nikon's CLS. Nikon D300, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, SB-600 firing into 32" umbrella, ~24mm, 1/30s, F3.5, ISO 200
- Brandon Shuttlesworth


Amazing entries as always! Galleries below, full-size photos on flickr.

When I'm not running Shooting Challenges, I run Philanthroper, a way to donate $1 to a new nonprofit every day. Today, we're featuring an organization that brings solar panels to off-grid villages.