Morris Island Inlet, at the northern tip of Folly Beach, is one of my favorite beaches for family portraits. It offers such a wide variety of scenic backdrops…tall sand dunes covered in sea oats, huge rock formations, old wooden barriers, bone-yards of fallen trees and driftwood…and of course the iconic Morris Island Lighthouse.
The historic lighthouse is unusual in that it now stands several hundred feet offshore. When it was built in 1876 the light was approximately 1,200 feet (370 m) from the water’s edge. However, the construction in 1889 of the jetties which protect the shipping lanes leading to Charleston Harbor altered ocean currents, resulting in the rapid erosion of Morris Island and the destruction of many structures and historical sites (such as Fort Wagner). By 1938 the shoreline had reached the lighthouse, forcing its automation as it was no longer safe or practical to keep it manned. In 1962 the Morris Island Light was decommissioned and replaced by the new Charleston Light, located on Sullivan’s Island at the north end of the harbor.
There is a foundation to try and preserve this amazing beacon of light to sailors of bygone eras: http://www.savethelight.org/. No matter how many times I do shoots at Morris Island Inlet, the steadfast majesty of the Morris Island Lighthouse always leaves an impression on me!