“Fiona had always been shot as a waif – tendrils of hair blowing (dressed in lingerie), out in some sort of lily field. She told me she wanted to chuck that scene and be a warrior woman in a suit of armor.”
The climb took three years to plan and just three hours to complete. Joe’s route took him approximately 450 feet straight up a combination of steps and rung ladders. “The portholes and grating access points are small, so you have to climb and then stop and rope up your gear which has been stuffed into climbing bags.”
Once at the top, Joe calmly snapped a #fromwhereistand photo with his iPhone and shared the image on Instagram. “It was wonderful being up there. A thrilling view, and certainly a bit of a sense of accomplishment,” he says. “I told folks I would send out a picture from the top, which seemed like a fun thing to do in these days of connectivity and instant visual delivery. Of course, I had to be very careful handling the iPhone at that height!”
To see more of Joe’s photos, be sure to follow him on Instagram @joemcnallyphoto and through National Geographic’s account, @natgeo, to which he’s a regular contributor.
No matter how much crap you gotta plow through to stay alive as a photographer, no matter how many bad assignments, bad days, bad clients, snotty subjects, obnoxious handlers, wigged-out art directors, technical disasters, failures of the mind, body, and will, all the shouldas, couldas, and wouldas that befuddle our brains and creep into our dreams, always remember to make room to shoot what you love. It’s the only way to keep your heart beating as a photographer.
Rooftopping photography enthusiasts enjoy climbing to locations that would make most people’s legs turn to jelly, pointing a camera straight down, and snapping a photo that commonly shows feet, a ledge, and a huge drop. While in Dubai for Gulf Photo Plus 2013, famed National Geographic photographer Joe McNally managed to snap the mother of all rooftopping photos, seen above. The Instagram snap was captured from the tip of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest manmade structure in the world.
Jay Maisel always says to bring your camera, ‘cause it’s tough to take a picture without it. Pursuant to the above aforementioned piece of the rule book, subset three, clause A, paragraph four would be…use the camera.
Put it to your eye. You never know. There are lots of reasons, some of them even good, to just leave it on your shoulder or in your bag. Wrong lens. Wrong light. Aaahhh, it’s not that great, what am I gonna do with it anyway? I’ll have to put my coffee down. I’ll just delete it later, why bother? Lots of reasons not to take the dive into the eyepiece and once again try to sort out the world into an effective rectangle.
It’s almost always worth it to take a look.