Photo Essay

On Top of the World

Passing Cable Car

Many years ago, as I descended the metal stairs of a deep well in Kansas, I experienced my first panic attack. In time I developed an intense fear of elevated see-through stairs, platforms and floors. While living in Italy, I'm combating that phobia in stages through my desire to capture certain images. First I mastered climbing the open metal stairs to the see-through metal platform along the upper portion of the high crenulated stone wall of the Tuscan village of Monteriggioni. From there I not only snapped birds-eye shots of the charming village within that wall, but of the undulating surrounding countryside. In the Tuscan mountain village of San Gimignano my yearning to get high above views pushed me into climbing several sets of open metal stairs and platforms within a towering stone tower. Recently I stared up at a cableway leading to the top of an Umbrian mountain where the 12th century Basilica di Sant' Ubaldo stands overlooking the stunning village of Gubbio and the breathtaking countryside beyond. Each revolving cable car consists of a grated metal floor surrounded by an over waist high metal bar railing, is designed to hold two standing adults or one adult and at most two children, and must be mounted as it moves. I imagined potential shots as I hopped on one of the cars with the help of an attendant. My husband Fred got on shortly after me. Then up and up we went. Excitement over the views and the pleasure of capturing them soon replaced the fear driving my rapid heartbeat. Of course going down can be a lot trickier than going up when it comes to a height phobia, but once over the mountaintop boarding platform my heart and soul fully engaged in the scenes below me through my camera.

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10 responses

  • diana a

    diana a   gave props (20 Sep 2011):

    props for conquering your fear! you've got more guts than i!! great photos!!

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (21 Sep 2011):

    Great photo essay and congratulations for taking the plunge so to speak and getting some wonderful shots from your efforts! You have my vote!

  • Judy and Wayne Wanamaker

    Judy and Wayne Wanamaker gave props (22 Sep 2011):

    What a fantastic story! It is truly amazing what a photographer will got through to capture breathtaking shots. Your photos are wonderful, as is your great story of how you conquered your fear with a camera. Congratulations on both. Voted.

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (25 Sep 2011):

    Hell YEAH! Rad!

  • Pamela Haberman

    Pamela Haberman gave props (27 Sep 2011):

    Deb, you and me both sister! My palms were sweating just reading this. Thanks to your bravery we get to enjoy these wonderful shots!

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (27 Sep 2011):

    really nice!!! vote!!!

  • Paperini Renato

    Paperini Renato gave props (28 Sep 2011):

    Very clever and brave, rare and unforgettable scenery, my vote

  • Debbie Smartt

    Debbie Smartt   gave props (28 Sep 2011):

    I have always had the fear myself and have tried to push myself to the edge you might say! LOL! This is an awesome story!

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham gave props (29 Sep 2011):

    I am so happy that you faced your fear head on! These incredible shots are your reward. A wonderful photo essay. My fear is of water. I so want to conquer it so I can do some underwater photography.

  • Bailey Cooper

    Bailey Cooper said (1 Jan 2013):

    I think this is an important photo essay. Sitting behind our screens, we have absolutely no idea what obstacles fellow JPGers must overcome to embrace this passion... be it physical, psychological, or emotional. She is our mistress... and we are driven.

    Your essay unites us. Your images, the reward. Strong piece of prose backed by breathtaking photography.

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