Frisco Pier

D700-Frisco Pier-2626-2015-09-13I’m down here near the bottom end of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, just south of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, in the small town of Frisco.

It’s the second week after the Labour Day weekend, the kids are back in school, the hotels are empty and the beaches deserted: all the holiday-makers have gone back to work in Washington, Philadelphia and Charlotte.

D800-Frisco Pier-4967-2015-09-13While on the Outer Banks on holiday with my family, I took a couple of days out to investigate an old, partially-collapsed pier, whose existence I discovered from a photograph posted on Facebook by a Virginia-based photographer, John Caplis. I was so taken by the look of the pier in John’s beautiful image that I made up my mind to come down here and photograph it for myself.

I have not been disappointed.


D90 IR 590nm-Frisco Pier-0102-2015-09-12Since the demise of the famous 59th Street Pier in Ocean City, New Jersey, which was blown off its shaky legs by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, East Coast-based photographers who are attracted to the delicate, spindly-legged elegance of dilapidated wooden sea piers have lacked a subject worthy of their attention. But the Frisco Pier is a more than adequate substitute for Ocean City’s lost glory.

D700-Frisco Pier-2656-2015-09-13

This pier, which was built in 1962 and closed in 2010 after being severely damaged by Hurricane Earl, has three main breaches: one that leaves the pier pavilion marooned on land, separated from the rest of the structure, and two further out in the water.

Because of the way the hurricane tore holes in the structure, large sections of the pier’s boardwalk have been left sagging over the water, lending the pier an animated look that resembles a line of ants marching purposefully out to sea.

D90 IR 590nm-Frisco Pier-0176-2015-09-13

Word among the surfers who battle the roiling breakers in the shadow of the pier is that it is due to be torn down at the end of October.

I’m glad I got to photograph this hauntingly beautiful structure before it is lost forever.

(click on an image to enlarge it)

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  1. Irv Freedman September 14, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

    I love the lead image – it is an outstanding photograph. You’re getting better and better.

    • shaunmoss September 14, 2015 at 5:56 pm #

      Thank you, Irv. I was amazed by the sky last night: at about twenty minutes before sunset, some beautiful clouds blew in and the light turned a strange yellow colour. Then, in the final moments before the sun set, the under sides of the clouds turned bright pink. It was quite a show. I was lucky to be there to capture it.

  2. Janet September 14, 2015 at 8:46 pm #

    Lovely images. I especially like the first; it is magical.

  3. Nga September 14, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

    Beautiful sky!I love the color, the clouds…and the natural look of the images.
    I will try to catch this bridge before its demolition.
    Is the last one an IR image?

    • shaunmoss September 15, 2015 at 3:12 am #

      Thank you, Nga. Yes, I was lucky with the light and the cloud formations on Sunday evening.

      Indeed, both the second and fourth images are IR. The second, I converted to full B&W; the second was processed as faux colour IR, so there is still some colour in the sea water.

  4. John Caplis September 15, 2015 at 2:29 am #

    Wow, great images and blog posting about the pier! I really love the light and skies that you captured, and also enjoyed your excellent commentary. Thanks for the mention, I am glad that I was able to share the info with you which led to your creating these amazing images. Very cool, because your superb photos of the lotus blooms you posted on fb alerted and inspired me to make my first ever visit to Kenilworth Gardens, which I absolutely loved. Its great when we can learn from each other.

    • shaunmoss September 15, 2015 at 3:25 am #

      John: So, I inspired you to drive 20 miles to Kenilworth? And you inspired me to drive 345 miles to Frisco? You’re obviously a much more inspirational guy then I am!

      Seriously, thanks for the visit and kind comment. I had never even heard of this pier until I happened upon your photo, so you did me a huge favour by alerting me to its existence.

      I’m glad you discovered and photographed the lotuses at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. For about two weeks every early July, it is a heavenly place to photograph.

  5. LAURA FRAZIER September 16, 2018 at 4:37 pm #

    These are beautiful, Shaun!

    • Shaun Moss September 16, 2018 at 11:47 pm #

      Thank you, Laura. I really appreciate your kind comment.

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