Falmouth is located on Upper Cape Cod in Massachusetts. At over 30,000 residents, it’s the largest municipality on the Cape behind Barnstable. The island of Martha’s Vineyard is close to its southern shore, just across the narrow Vineyard Sound.
The town was first settled by English colonists in 1660, named after Falmouth in Cornwall, England. Its coast even saw brief action during the War of 1812, when the area was bombarded by English ships.
THE OLD PIER
The old wooden pier featured in this image is on the southern coast of Falmouth, in Falmouth Heights. Like so many others adorning the shores of Cape Cod, this pier likely serviced a private home in its day, but has long been abandoned to the elements.
The view from the pier faces east toward the northern tip of Martha’s Vineyard. In season, you can watch frequent ferries sailing between the nearby town of Woods Hole and Oak Bluffs on the tip of Martha’s Vineyard.
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH
The pier can be photographed at both sunrise and sunset, although I find that sunrise holds more potential for catching a dramatic sky in the background.
If you enjoy capturing sunrise over open ocean like I do, then the better months to photograph the pier are March, September, and October.
On the other hand, if you prefer photographing the old pier front-lit by the setting sun, then the best times are between April and August.
GETTING TO FALMOUTH
To reach the old wooden pier, set directions for the town of Woods Hole. From Falmouth, take Woods Hole Road and make a left turn on Oyster Pond Road.
When you reach the stop sign at the intersection of Beach Road, make a right turn. Drive another 1/4 mile, and watch for an unmarked dirt road on your left. Turn onto the dirt road and drive to the parking area at the end, near the Shining Sea Bikeway.
Park your car, and walk southwest (to the right) on the Shining Sea Bikeway for 1/4 mile. The wooden pillars of the old pier will soon come into view on your left.
I always bring waders when I come here, especially in the colder months when the Atlantic Ocean can be notoriously cold. This gives me more leeway to experiment with different compositions with my tripod in and out of water.
Check the tide forecast before coming — low tide will expose more of the wooden pier, whereas high tide will result in more wave action.