I saw the satellite images of the clouds that would be rolling in for the day and made a best guess as to where there might be good skies for the sunset. On this occasion, I guessed right, but twenty minutes before this sunset, I would have bet you a hundo that the sky was going to crap out, maybe warm up a tiny bit on the horizon, but ultimately just fade unspectacularly. Inland it's impossible to tell what the sky on the beach looks like, and from shore it's not a lot easier. Sometimes it's hard to see how far out the clouds go over the water, how low they become. All important things. Ultimately you just have to put yourself there and get lucky or try again another day.
Even though I had been goofing around on the rocks for two hours before sunset, I still managed to find myself scrambling to compose a shot when the sky lit up. The rocks were cascading at one angle, the waves were breaking at different angle, and the stratocumuli were at a different angle. It was hard to arrange the lines in an interesting and non confusing way. At the end of the day, I felt good about a lot of things, but I'm not positive that I didn't miss a better shot. There's always next time.