Photographing New York City from Above with @wrongrob

To view more photos and videos from a bird’s-eye perspective of New York, follow @wrongrob on Instagram

Rob Masao McCarthy (@wrongrob) is a father of three in Brooklyn, New York. Outside of his day job as a freelance digital media consultant and photographer, Rob gets his thrills scaling New York City’s tallest bridges, trams, roofs and skyscrapers to shoot the city from above.

"I first developed an interest in photography shooting street portraits of the people of New York City. Then I realized that I was really interested in the city itself as a subject," he says. "I discovered that the higher up and further away I got, the more the immense city was reduced to shapes, lines and angles. There is a peace and universality in that geometry that I really like. Somehow it makes the city more human."

Want to refine the compositions of your cityscapes? Here are Rob’s tips:

  • Pay attention to depth of field in your frame. Try to include a distinct foreground, middle ground and background, which helps create a sense of scale and distance. A mix of different building heights helps too.
  • Look for an interesting street angle within the buildings that will draw your viewers into the photo. Avoid shooting straight in front of you and placing the primary subject in the middle of the frame.
  • To add atmosphere and mood to cityscape shots, shoot on cloudy or rainy days. Hard, bright light is not your friend!
  • I am always safe and law-abiding, of course, but if you’re trying to get to a building’s upper levels, skip the elevator and look for the stairs. You’ll be surprised where you end up.