This Is Crazy! Taking Photos On the Empire State Building's Antenna

One of the most famous of all of the national geographic photojournalists is probably Joe McNally. Joe has shot everyone and everything working for Life, Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, and countless other highly rated publications. But perhaps his most manic photoshoot of all was a Nat Geo piece for their story The Power of Light. When you step back and think about it, the most obvious photograph for a story on light would be to take a wide angle shot of the guy who changes the light bulb on top of the Empire State Building...yeah most definitely! I never knew there was a video showcasing how this image was created so I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. Oh and if you haven't picked up Joe's very detailed books about lighting, head over to his Amazon Store and pick up The Moment It Clicks or The Hot Shoe Diaries.

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18 Comments

Joe McNally will forever be my hero. He was really the first in today's "modern photography" age, pulling crazy stunts like this. Bravo, man, bravo.

Lee Morris's picture

Killer BTS. I'm surprised I've never seen this.

Note the date at the end - 3/3/01. I wonder if they could arrange for the helicopter images in today's tighter environment.

Great idea, and great perseverance to get the shot, that's for sure.

Awesome..... It looks like so quiet when you're there despite of the wind and the height....

Love his books

Ghislain Leduc's picture

I wouldn't be able to do this for sure... I am just too scared of heights.. but WOW... What a cool behind the scene. I had the picture cuz I both the book but never saw the behind the scene which is really cool :)

I've changed light bulbs on radio towers....and being up where they were would scare the crap out of me! That takes some balls for sure! Do you know how hard it is to operate a screw driver at that height with the wind blowing you and the tower? I can't imagine how fast my heart would race up there.

Wow what a view......

He has just become a great man in my eyes, Im going to NY i April, I will try to do that myself,,,,,,NOT

Nope, nope, nope, nope. No way I could do this. He is a man among photographers for this.

Stefan... that video you linked seriously just made me want to throw up. Like that is un-real un-nerving!

Patrick Hall's picture

Ha yeah that tower climb video is horrible...I can't stand to even watch it. They keep pulling it down on every site because apparently he is breaking the law by free climbing but it's totally awesome

McNally has always been THE photographer for me.

Boldness, creativity but foremost, never taking this whole thing seriously.

Trully a great man and teacher (from the video i've been watching. Not that i can afford private session with the guy! haha)

thats ballsy. i dont know if i would be able to do that in life. sone one would have to have a gun to my head. the pics look great though

This guy is crazy. Like the Eugene's Smith photos!

Holy smoke! 

I wouldn't go up there for a million dollars. 

The shot looking straight down almost made me pass out. 

Like I said...... Probably the best business decision you've made in a loooooong time