Monday, November 15, 2010

Skydeck Ledge

Up on the 103rd story of the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago, there is an attraction called the Skydeck Ledge. Instead of merely taking in the vista through large windowpanes, a visitors can walk out into a glass cubicle and be surrounded by the view in all directions--including straight down. 
There is an admission fee to ride the elevator up to the observation floor, and once there, we were free to roam, go in and out of the boxes freely, and take as many photographs as we wished! I liked this format much better than waiting in line for a single opportunity to stand in The Ledge. 
Here is a glimpse of the glass box from the side--a photo of my cousin Rachel taken from inside the other box. 

My mother displayed a sampling of our Chicago pictures at Curves (because we attended Curves Convention there after this girls' trip), and so many women have remarked to me that they would never walk onto that glass. You couldn't pay them enough to do it, and other such dramatic refusals. 
Looking down (my aunt's shoes here) did offer a bit of a thrill. My stomach did a few little excited flips, and even looking at the pictures makes my feet tingle (does this happen to anyone else?)  But I wouldn't say it was terrifying, or even scary. There is a difference between a fear of heights and a fear of falling, in case you don't know. It does not bother me to be high above ground, but I am terrified of falling. Amusement park rides involving sudden or steep drops, bungee jumping, skydiving, these activities which involve or mimic freefalling are of absolutely no interest to me, even if they are only a few stories above ground. 

Shortly before we left for Chicago, my parents happened to catch a "How it's Made" program on TV describing the engineering behind the Skydeck. I'm sure that was fascinating, and possibly helped my mom take the plunge and walk out into the sky. 
This is my absolute favorite picture from this part of our trip. My mom was obviously nervous about stepping out there--I think she had planned to be the contented photographer from inside on solid ground.  But her expression here perfectly captures the childlike joy resulting from such a venture out of the Comfort Zone.  She might be gripping my wrist, but her laugh is so genuine. This picture is precious to me because of that. 

We had a lot of fun experimenting with different ways to photograph the scene to maximize the effect of the context.  It was fairly crowded up there, and I thought it was neat how polite everybody was about taking turns in the box and offering to photograph one another. 
We arrived at dusk, and stayed up there goofing around and taking pictures until after the sun had set. It was a perfect time to go, since we got photos of daylight as well as the beautiful city lights. Both of these pictures are a view to the northeast toward the John Hancock Tower (the black on with angled sides near the back) and Lake Michigan. 

Allow me a moment of self-indulgence to include this picture, just because it's pretty and I look good.  
Rachel and me posing enthusiastically with an external image of the Willis Tower. The Ledge was one of the most interesting and exciting parts of our trip; I'm really glad that we did it. 


Anita said...

I'm glad you all did it too!
You said there is a difference between fear of height and fear of falling...I must have both!
Some day, I will investigate the reason why because I'd love to go the the edge of the Empire State building and look down. (When we went, I clung to the inner wall.)

Exciting post!

Bridget said...

OK OK, I got queasy on the observation deck of the Burj Khalife mostly when I stuck my hand out of the gap between the windows to take a picture. My hand was just out there, completely open to 130 stories. It freaked me out. I love these pictures!


Related Posts with Thumbnails