The Levitation Photographer: Natsumi Hayashi

This is something different and you don’t see everyday. A photographer that has dedicated her craft to taking levitation self-portraits. She uses herself as the model as its very difficult work. She aims for “levitation” shots and not “jumping”. As such, its very crucial to get the right facial expression and body composure like no flailing hair and body parts like arms and legs all over the place. It must’ve taken tons of practice. You can find Natsumi Hayashi on her blog Yowayowa.

“Sometimes I need to jump more than 300 times to get the perfect shot,” Hayashi told

Here’s How She Does It:

– Equipments and shutter speed
Camera body: Canon EOS 5D Mk2
Lenses: Canon EF50mm F1.2L USM, EF24-70mm F2.8L USM, PENTAX 67 lenses (with adaptors)
Tripods: Gitzo’s rapid-pole 3 steps with ball heads (from 1980s)
Shutter speed: 1/500 sec. or faster (1/320 sec. can be used in a darker condition)

– With a self-timer
EOS 5D Mk2 has a 10sec. timer as it’s longest timer set up. This means that I can get away as far as 10 second distance from the camera after I press the shutter release button.
First, I get a composition and a focus manually.
Then I press the shutter release, run to the right position for a levitation as checking the camera’s blinking red LED counts down 10 seconds and jump by my intuition.
In this manner, I need to jump over and over to get the right shot.

– Ask someone to press the shutter release button
When I take my levitation farther away from the camera than 10 second distance, I ask someone (mostly my friend) to press the shutter release button. First, I ask my friend to be a stand-in in a proper position to get a composition and a focus.
Then I go to the position to levitate, and my friend come to the camera (we switch our position) to press a shutter release button in time with my jumps.

Here’s some of her work:



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