La Jolla Cove Children’s Pool Beach

La Jolla Cove Children's Pool Beach Seals atter SunsetCanon 5D Mark III, 24-105mm f/4 IS USM at 32mm, f/8 for 46s at ISO 100


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.


Children’s Pool Beach (coordinates:¬†32.847504,-117.278062)


2 thoughts on “La Jolla Cove Children’s Pool Beach

  1. This is a very nice and interesting shot. At first glance, I thought this was taken on the beach with a nearby rock in the foreground but upon further inspection (correct me if I am wrong), it looks like this was taken atop the platform and that “nearby rock” is actually a giant boulder?

    Very nice shot indeed. It looks simple at a glance but then you realize there is more than meets the eye.

    • Thanks Vincent. You are correct, there is a shear cliff in front of my camera position. I was shooting downwards at around a 25 degree angle. To give you a reference of the size of the rock formation, there is a seagull sitting on top of it.

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