Your camera is packed, you head out the door with a planned destination. You plan to go far, far up that is. High into the atmosphere where it will be colder, windier and a bit dangerous (more dangerous the higher you go).
Make sure you have charged up the battery on your camera. There is nothing quite so stupid feeling as to finally get to the top of the building, passing security measures, daring yourself to open that door and face the elements… then realize you can’t take more than one damn photo because your camera battery is all but completely dead. You forgot to recharge it.
Bold adventurer are you.
Rooftopping is not about going to the highest floor inside a building and taking photos, from inside. Those are still nice photos – but you aren’t on the actual roof.
Rooftopping is not about putting yourself in the photo, in a dangerous pose. Rooftopping photographers have every reason to live to see another day. Don’t stand on the edge of a roof and lean over. Be smart and lean over and take the photo without risking falling to your death. I’m not writing this post in support of skywalking, this is about photography from rooftops of buildings.
I’m not promoting dangerous activities but there is a thrill to getting out on the roof and photographing the world from a new perspective. Having said that, you don’t have to be a big risk taker.
Start by getting on the roof of your own house even and just see if you really want to try it again, in another location.
Try a parking garage. You can get a few floors up and check out the world from the roof of a shopping mall too. See if you have access to the roof of an apartment building next time you are in one. If you can access a lighthouse that would be pretty great too.
If you really are worried about permission and trespassing arrange a photo shoot, with permission. The worst that can happen is they say no. Try again, offer them copies of the photos for their own use in promoting the building/ mall/ apartment, etc. If you work on some ideas you could be up on that roof will full permission and no trouble at all with the security presence in the building. If you do go this route, get some business cards printed up for yourself. People trust business cards that claim you are a professional photographer. Who says you aren’t?
Make sure you have (at the very least) the wrist strap for your camera. Actually use it this time. Not only is this a bad place to drop your camera but this is a really bad place to drop your camera, have it fall a long way down and cause real damage to people or property when it hits bottom. Make sure your shoes are tied tightly and you are wearing nothing else which could fall off, for the same reason. If you wear glasses configure a strap to keep them on your head.
Rooftopping and Skywalking Resources: Photographers and Photos Taken
- Almost (I’ll Make Ya) Famous
- Flickr: Rooftopping
- Flickr: Roof Hacker
- Toronto News:The guerrilla art of photographing cities from atop skyscrapers – thestar.com
- Roof topping: Traveling Up to Shoot Down | Canadian Art Junkie
- Portraits on Toronto’s Forbidden Rooftops
- Roof Topper
Rooftopping is NOT about Jumping Off a Roof
Rooftopping is NOT about going on the roof of your house and jumping off. While I was looking for more rooftopping links I found a YouTube video with boys (of course) jumping off the roof of houses and landing on trees, bushes and snow banks. That is not rooftopping. That’s just boys with nothing better to do.