It’s the dance of the cranes.
You see them everywhere in Denver – tower cranes building new buildings and fueling Colorado’s economy.
But have you ever wondered who operates those cranes, and how they get up there?
Photojournalist Eric Kehe and I got the chance to find out.
RMS Cranes and Saunders Construction invited us to go up a crane. They said just climb up the ladder one floor – then do it 30 more times.
Is this a good time to mention I’m not crazy about heights?
We climbed up the crane across from Union Station where they’re building a new office tower.
There’s a little landing on each floor where you can stop to catch your breath, and enjoy the view.
It’s a bit exhausting but we made it to the top, where we met crane operator Jeff Macklin.
Macklin says his days are just ups and downs.
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Workers on the ground call him on a radio when they need him to pick up equipment or materials, and deliver it to another location.
Sometimes he gets calls from different crews in different locations, all at one time.
It’s how he spends his 8 to 14 hour days in the air.
And once he gets up there, he doesn’t climb down until his shift is finished.
If there’s bad weather, he just rides it out.
Rain, hail, snow, wind, lightening – Macklin has seen it all from his perch high in the sky.
He says you need to be highly trained, certified and a little crazy to operate a tower crane.
But on the upside, he says you just can’t beat the view.
“Colorado’s national or state bird is the crane,” Macklin said. “I remember there was a time you’d never see a tower crane up. Now you get 20 or 30 of them. “
Sunrise, sunset, aircraft flying by, even police officers chasing suspects down below – he has the perfect spot to see it all.