Shooting Challenge: Levitation

Illustration for article titled Shooting Challenge: Levitation

Sure, you can make something float in Photoshop, but what fun is that?

The Challenge

Capture levitation with your camera—a person or thing (or both! or many of both!) actually floating in an actual space. Photoshop isn't entirely banned, but there are serious rules to how you use it. More on that below.

The Method

Our lead photo is from Melvin Sokolsky, who created incredible illusions by suspending models with thin aircraft wires. But the reason that they still look so amazing today is that 99.9% of what you see is real. He just polished out the string.


A flickr board on the topic has many examples, complete with behind-the-scenes photos and links to tutorials, on how you can create levitation.

1. You can use a wire, fishing line or something similar and smudge it out of the photo.
2. You can have your subject leap and take a photo at the time of zero gravity. (just be careful!)
3. You can combine ideas 1 & 2.
4. You can plant a camera on a tripod, toss objects into a single scene one at a time, and then combine the pieces of these scenes in photoshop so everything is floating in one frame.

My only real Photoshop restriction here is that you not pull in objects from various locations and use digital tools to drag and drop them into a new frame. Everything must be captured in situ.

The camera should be the tool tricking us. Post production should only exacerbate the camera's effect.



1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced.
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 930px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)


Send your best photo by Monday, February 7th at 8AM Eastern to with "Levitation" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameLevitation.jpg (960px wide) and FirstnameLastnameLevitationWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!

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Arggh! there goes a...snake a snake!