La Jolla Cove Children’s Pool Beach
La Jolla has some of the the most picturesque beaches in San Diego. It has pristine water, beautiful rock formations and an abundance of wildlife. One of the prominent wildlife attractions is the colony of seals that inhabits the Children’s Pool Beach. Starting sometime in the mid 90’s this colony of seals started to take refuge on this beach which is protected from the crashing waves by a sea wall erected in 1931. Year round people flock to this location to view the seals as they play in the ocean and sunbathe on the beach.
How to get this type of shot
The time of day is the key here. You want to either come during sunrise or sunset to take advantage of the good light. This photo was taken around 30 minutes after sunset. But what do you do when the sky is dull without any color? Well, don’t include it in your image of course. I composed this image to not include the sky since the marine layer had already come in and was casting a gray blanket over the area. In the top left part of the image you can see the colony of seals on the beach and the spectators on the sea wall taking photos. There are also seagulls hanging out near the seals on the beach.
A long exposure of 46 seconds was used to smooth out the choppy water. To get exposure times greater than 30 seconds (the upper limit for most cameras) I had to use a remote release with my camera set to bulb mode. I used an aperture of f/8 since the foreground rock was a good 25 feet from where I was standing and f/8 is generally where the lens I was using is at its sharpest. The textured gradients you see in the sand under the water are not the result of posterization artifacts, but were caused by the ebbing and waning of the waves.