Several years ago the girls and I took broomstick flying lessons in the same English courtyard that Harry Potter learned to fly. They were timed to fall just after the “On Location” tour of Alnwick Castle, which doubled as portions of Hogwarts.
To this day, people still ask me about the day my girls did broomstick flying. I just smile and think about the photos. And there are lots of photos. Here is one I haven’t shared before:
Can you see it? They are flying.
That’s not the only magic they can do while at Hogwarts:
And the illusion is complete.
What is the secret to broomstick flying or raising the broomstick?
It’s not really a secret:
- Body positioning of the single moment in time you wish to portray.
- Fast shutter speed.
- Narrow aperture for larger depth of field.
- Props – in our case a real “Harry Potter Broom”
- Backdrop – If you’re not at Alnwick, a castle backdrop would help complete the look.
- Creative captions complete the illusion.
First flying: You see broomstick flying because I told you they were flying on broomsticks. After all, they are on broomsticks sailing above the ground . . . or are they? The truth, they stood still with the broomstick between their legs, jumped while tucking up their legs. As a photographer, my job was to freeze a moment in time. In the photo above and the two below I used a shutter speed of 1/640. Had I used a slow speed their legs would blur, and it would be obvious that they are jumping:
And in the “Up” photo you see the broom raising for two reasons. First the caption told you the broom was going up, and secondly, take a look at her hand position. In reality, Sarah is dropping the broomstick, being careful to keep her hand in the proper position to appear as if she is retrieving it. Here I also used a fast shutter speed to freeze the action.
Give it a try, but be prepared to take lots of photos to get the effect you want. Here are a few that just didn’t capture the illusion:
*Alnwick Castle is located Northumberland, England. It is one of many HP sites we visited whilst travelling through the UK. Some of the other highlights included finding platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station, the Hogwart’s Express (Scotland), the Warner Bros. Harry Potter studio tour, Oxford University and of course more of our tour at Alnwick. One of our girls was a huge fan of the Harry Potter books back then.
Does the illusion work, can you see the girls broomstick flying or raising the broom? Have you been to Alnwick Castle? Are you going to try some creative “flying” photography?
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