November La Jolla Coastal Shoot
After finding this gem of a spot after my last trip to La Jolla, I knew it would not be long before I returned. Unlike the previous trip however, conditions were better with high clouds in the sky which I knew would light up near sunset.
How to get this type of shot
I arrived around 45 minutes prior to sunset to give myself plenty of time to set up and stake out my spot. The conditions were great and since it was a weekend, I figured that many photographers would be out taking photos. As it turned out, only a hand full of shooters were out that day.
Although the skies were mostly clear with a nice set of high clouds, the horizon towards the ocean was starting to show the signs of a marine layer coming in. On my last several trips out, due to weather conditions, I was unable to get a nice sunset shot, and the marine layer was looking to spoil it for me during this trip. Luckily there was a break in the clouds and just for a few minutes, the sun peeked through to give the rocks a golden glow.
With the sun still around 25 minutes from setting it was still quite intense since the light did not have to make its way through as much atmosphere as would be the case if it were lower on the horizon. Therefore, the foreground exposed around 6-stops lower than the sky which also had the sun in the frame. I would normally either live with a slightly underexposed foreground or overexposed sky, shoot the scene as a composite of sky and horizon each at their proper exposures or more rarely, shoot an HDR image. However, since I had just purchased a 4-stop graduated neutral density (ND) filter and had another 3-stop graduated ND filter with me, I decided to stack the two filter, something I had never done before. I liked how it turned out and therefore I may use this technique more often.