Looking down from the Burj Khalifa
Joe McNally's view from atop the Burj Khalifa. Joe McNally/ Instagram

Looking down from the Burj Khalifa


This vertiginous shot was snapped by National Geographic photographer Joe McNally as he peered down from the highest point of the tallest skyscraper on the planet.

The photo was taken as he stood on the edge of a railing that supports the Burj Khalifa's airplane warning lights, some 800-plus metres up.

McNally, who will soon be judging the National Geographic Abu Dhabi Photomentaries 2013 competition to find the best photographer in the Middle East,†climbed the tower while in Dubai for the Gulf Photo Plus exhibition.

Somewhat surprisingly, this perilous task was not for a magazine assignment. Instead it was to satisfy a muse to ascend to the peaks of tall buildings and reel off panoramic shots.

"I had previously climbed other tall buildings, such as the Empire States Building and the World Trade Centre in New York," he explained.

"But I was very intrigued by the Burj Khalifa and has always wanted to climb it."

After taking the lift to the roof, he scaled the upmost tower with a rock climbing harness. Afterwards, McNally posted the pics on Instagram and tweeted about the experience.

"My old battered shoes climbed the worlds tallest building today," he wrote. "What an amazing structure! Tweeting from 820 meters straight up!"

McNally said the pics quickly went viral. "I think this is the most viewed picture Iíve ever shot in my whole career. Even compared to covers of National Geographic Iíve shot. Twitter just went crazy when I printed this."
But surely he must have felt some trepidation at such a lofty location?
"Iím kind of used to heights, so I donít get particularly nervous. I was really just enjoying the view," he contends.

He insisted this was one of the highlights of his photographic career.

"I had such a sense of accomplishment afterwards," he explains. "Iíve been trying for a long time to get up there and the folks at the building were wonderful to work with. I was very lucky to get up there. Very few people will ever get there as itís highly restricted."

All we can say is rather him than us!