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Environment

'Scrippshenge' Sunset Is A Bust Due To The Marine Layer

Photographers gather under the Scripps Pier to catch the "Scripps Henge" sunset between the pier's pillars on August 7, 2019
John Carroll
Photographers gather under the Scripps Pier to catch the "Scripps Henge" sunset between the pier's pillars on August 7, 2019

You’ve probably heard of Stonehenge, the ancient monument in England where twice a year, the sun aligns perfectly through the huge stones.

San Diego has its own version, but here it’s found on the beach in La Jolla. They call it 'Scrippshenge.'

'Scrippshenge' Sunset Is A Bust Due To The Marine Layer
Listen to this story by John Carroll.
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On a beautiful Wednesday evening on the beach in La Jolla below the Scripps Institution of Oceanography—below the Scripps Pier to be exact—there was a gathering.

A group of amateur and professional photographers squeezed together, their lenses pointing west to the end of the pier. It's a place where, on one evening in August and one in May, the sun aligns perfectly between the pilings for a sunset of special significance.

VIDEO: ‘Scrippshenge’ Sunset Is A Bust Due To The Marine Layer

Scott Padgett is a professional photographer who drove down from Temecula.

"This is special, this happens twice a year and only twice a year," he said.

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San Diego native Leah Horstman was also there for the perfect shot.

"This is an iconic shot that every landscape photographer wants to nail," she said.

Augie Quinones arrived early on Wednesday afternoon to get the perfect position. Early on, he was feeling optimistic.

"It looks like we might get lucky. If we get that sun to set between those two columns, that’s everything," Quinones said.

As the afternoon slid into evening, more and more shutterbugs arrived. The big moment was drawing near as a cluster of tripods and photographers anticipated the perfect shot. And so they waited as the sun came out, then disappeared behind the clouds, leading to a bit of anxiety.

"This is my third attempt, haven’t gotten it yet. The marine layer gets me every year, so fingers crossed," Horstman said.

The witching hour was 7:42 p.m. It was almost time for Old Sol’s big moment between the pillars.

But as the moment approached, the outcome began to dawn on everyone here. The hopefulness turned to resignation, thanks to what some call nature’s air conditioning, San Diego’s reliable marine layer.

Since Scott Padgett had driven down from Temecula, he admitted to some frustration.

"It was a little disappointing. I’m glad I got it last year for sure."

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