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Photographer Plays Visual Tricks the Old-Fashioned Way — Without Photoshop

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Perhaps you’ve received them in your e-mail inbox: dramatic photographs [2] of a photographer making a dangerous leap from rock to rock in the Grand Canyon, along with a description of the 900 meter plunge he narrowly avoided.

Many people who’ve seen the photos, taken by Dutch pro
Hans van de Vorst [3], have assumed they’re a Photoshop stunt. Others have been shocked and amazed by the subject’s death-defying leap.

So, are the photos real? Yes — and no.

The urban-legend busters at Snopes break it down for us [4]:

The area shown is a popular photographic spot in the Grand Canyon, for the very reason demonstrated above: if a photographer frames his picture just right, he can make it appear [5] that his subject is leaping across a yawning chasm where the slightest misstep will seemingly result in the risk-taker’s … certain death.

What one doesn’t see … is the connecting ledge just beneath the two rock formations … a reasonably careful jumper primarily risks some bruises or maybe a broken arm or leg, not a plunge into the depths of the Grand Canyon.

Here’s a wider angle on the shot. [6]

So the photo is an illusion. But the exposure — and, likely, the new business — Hans has received as a result of this “magic trick” are very, very real. [7]

[tags]photographers, photography, scott baradell, Photoshop, illusion[/tags]

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