March 26, 2012

About the Author: Patrick Stern is a social media strategist and photo hobbyist residing in San Francisco. His personal blog can be found at and can be contacted at @patrickstern.


Spontaneous. That is when some of the best work that I have ever captured have come from negligible planning and ad hoc shoot where you just work with you have got. Using tools like Instagram, you live in the moment and become more aware of your surroundings. This shoot was definitely one of those days, where I had arrived exceptionally early to get a ride to Southern California. As soon as I stepped off the bus to sit down and wait for my ride I came to realize what kind of conditions were present with the Bay and the weather. I had my gear prepared for the trip down south, so naturally I went out on the shoreline and realized what kind of great conditions I had.



Shooting  with a 135mm and 35mm on my Canon T2i, I was precariously limited with just prime lenses ment to be used for family portraits. Having access to something like 24-70mm is great because of how versatile the lens is. With primes, it becomes a different ball game when you are framing your shots. Add overcast clouds with low light provided a certain challenge to get decent detail in many objects in fram. But the layers and colors of grey contrasted well with the water and silhouettes of the the city scape.


Big take away from shooting these was to just shoot when you have a moment. Try not to plan all your shoots, for once. Have your camera at the ready, even when it might not hit you to. I wasn’t planning to even post this on Brotogs, where most posts are planned events or outings, but this one elicited some great shots. Even for those that don’t always have a camera to carry with them, jumping on Instagram is a great way to keep you constantly aware about your surroundings and challenging yourself to find those real moments that aren’t planned.