Magic is really just effort. 

Last year, I traveled to Peru and before leaving, I naturally needed to draw attention to it by posting about it on social media. The image that came to mind was me holding my Passport directly in front of me towards the lens, and letting the low aperture create a nice bokeh of me in the background. I think it worked.

This year (2018), I booked a quick trip for myself out to Barcelona for a few days. As the trip approached, I was thinking of yet another attention grabbing social media post, combined with some kind of image that signified my international intentions. 

The thought I landed on was similar to last year's image: have the Passport in focus in the foreground with me blurred in the back. The only difference was one "small" idea. To switch things up, I should make it look like the Passport is floating in my hand. No big deal, right?

Immediately I knew how I'd make this levitation trick work: fishing line, tape,  Scotch 3M clear mounting squares, and of course, Photoshop in post. Actually, to be honest, the original idea was to create an image where I was making it rain. I wanted to do a shot where I had Euros and my Passport look like they were flying towards the camera, (perfectly in focus,) while I stood in the back with an outstretched hand as if I had just thrown the items nonchalantly. 

Let me apologize in a big way: all this talk about this idea, and somehow in the haze of uploading iPhone photos to a Mac, I seemed to have lost the one cell phone shot I captured of this idea's set up. You will have to go by word/text description:

Step 1: Set up the tripod and general camera settings. 

Step 2: Get the step ladder and tape a stretch of fishing line (long enough to reach the floor, with extra slack) to the ceiling. Now it's getting fun. 

Step 3: Open the Passport to just about the middle and secure the Passport to the fishing line using two 3M mounting squares. 

At this point, the Passport floats in the air on the fishing line, and I actually thought that'd be enough. No. It was spinning wildly. So I improv'd. 

Step 3a: Grab the desk chair and wrap the bottom of the fishing line around the arm of the chair about three or four times, until the line is taught, and then tape the fishing line to the arm of the desk chair. 

Now the Passport stopped spinning, and with this chair idea, I had gained an element of control. If I were to spin the swiveling desk chair, the Passport on the fishing line would rotate too. If the Passport needed to turn to the left to be facing frame, I would spin the chair to the right and vise versa. 

Step 4: Finalize camera settings for correct aperture and shutter speed to control background bokeh and exposure respectively. 

Step 5: Set the remote timer, because the remote shutter cord is not long enough, and place your hand under the Passport in the coolest way you'd like.

With these five steps, I achieved the image below, that would eventually be the image I posted on the net: 

DSC_5314 (2).jpg

I loved it. It was worth all the set up and time. 

After all that, you can't just take one photo and be done.

Below are a few more favorites from the set up. The first image with the Euros is pretty close to what I was originally envisioning. The Euros are actually set up the exact same way that the Passport is set up. Each Euro bill is secured to a string of fishing line that is taped to the ceiling. A 3M mounting square sticks the Euro to the fishing line. I was not too concerned with the bills spinning in the air. I just tried not to move around too much and create a breeze in the apartment. I took the time to think about the height and location of where the bill would fall in frame. "I need one closer to camera. One should be further back and to the left." I would tape that particular Euro's fishing line to the ceiling accordingly. Though these shots don't show you the ceiling, it gives you an idea. With Passport and Euros dangling in the air, it started to look like this: 

There is an image of a whole mess of bills and the Passport "flying" into the camera, and I may get around to posting that on this page, but it will take a lot more time in post, because there are so many fishing lines and remnants of mounting squares to remove. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these. (click to enlarge): 

I hope you liked them, and remember: magic is not real. It's just a lot of effort: 


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