To get a good dramatic sunset you need clouds to reflect those reds and purples. Generally, in California, that means changing weather. If there is not a weather system coming or going the skies are pretty much flat, blue, and boring. Furthermore, the problem I find in so-cal is that you'll have nice clouds inland, go to the beach and get complete gray out or clear blue skies. For a sunset like this, the clouds need to be over the water, high, and not so far into the horizon as too block those last warm rays of the day.

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.

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