Lifestyle · Mermaid Adventures · mermaids · OBX Events · Sunset

Vintage Mermaid at the Frisco Pier at sunset.

Since purchasing my home on Hatteras Island, my dream has been to turn my Hatteras home into a vintage mermaid themed paradise. I have since named my home The Vintage Mermaid Cottage, as most of the island homes have catchy beach themed names. The cottage is decorated with vintage mermaid paintings from a local Ocracoke Island artist.  For years I have collected mermaid’s and mermaid memorabilia. My beach home is now fully  vintage mermaid themed. I have been wanting to do a vintage mermaid photo shoot for a year or so now to compliment the vintage mermaid paintings in my home.


The law of attraction, I believe sent my wish of a mermaid for my dreamed about session! Hannah Burgess, a professional mermaid, contacted me via Instagram a few months back. Informing me that she was moving to the OBX and loved the way I captured the beauty of the Outer Banks and wanted to collaborate on a mermaid photo session. When she moved to the OBX a few weeks ago she caught up with me to schedule our session.


Hannah started her mermaid journey as a freshman in college in 2013, with a fabric tail from, a German fabric tail company. Her mermaid “career”started after she attended NC Merfest 2014 in Cary, NC. She met hundreds of other mermaids and mermen who shared her love for mermaids and pushed her to start social media pages and to invest in a performance level silicone tail. The performance level tail was made by The Mertailor.


Over the past few years she has expanded as a mermaid performer. She travels to florida several times a year for mini “mermaid workshops” with her mermaid friends who are lucky enough to call Florida home. For the past three years she has been working for “The Real Mermaids”, a traveling mermaid tank show run by mermaid Hyli and her husband Joe They perform in a 550 gallon tank for pirate festivals and other nautical themed events in Virginia and neighboring states.


Hannah performs under another mersona, Nova Sirene, swimming through the hearts of Virginians since September 2013. She is based in the rivers and lakes of central Virginia but has traveled down the east cost to North Carolina and Florida to  swim with her mermaid friends and perform with The Real Mermaids in their traveling tank show,


She was featured in the August 2014 issue of Blue Ridge Life Magazine and has been interviewed by radio show WXJM fm 88.7. Nova was the winter 2015  cover story of Port and Main magazine, a local magazine that highlights the culture and interesting residents of Harrisonburg, Virginia. She starred in a short film by Adam Sidelko called “Wishing” and acted in a music video for the singer/songwriter Ryan Daniel of The Travelin’ Hillbillies. In the fall of 2015 she was profiled by Her Campus  and JMU Celebs.


Nova Sirene’s favorite past time is interacting with humans. Throughout the summer, Nova makes appearances at her local lakes and pools several times a week and makes a splash at birthday parties for kids and adults alike. She loves being featured in videos and photo shoots around the various landscapes of Virginia.


Mermaid tails are becoming an increasingly popular and accessible gift for children but it is important for them to learn how to use a tail properly before jumping in the pool. Several near drowning incidents have lead several provinces in Canada and Australia to ban mermaid tails completely.


Hannah’s mission as a professional mermaid and mermaid school instructor is to promote safety and expertise when using a mermaid tail. Over the past year she has become SCUBA,  Red Cross lifeguard, and CPR certified in order to safely continue her job as a performer and Mermaid instructor.


This summer she followed her mermaid ambitions to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to teach at the new Kitty Hawk Kites Mermaid school, Along with three other mermaids, they teach groups of children and adults to safely swim in mermaid tails and how to care for their tails if the students decide to purchase a tail for themselves.


Hannah and I were messaging back and forth as our session time grew near this past Friday evening. Hatteras Island was hit by a ton of rain last week, and a half hour before our session was to start the skies opened up and it was pouring down rain. We met at the Frisco Pier on Hatteras Island. Hannah had to drive about an hour and a half for our session. Not to mention hair and makeup and preparation for the mythological mermaid session we had spoke of.  We decided to go ahead and show up and see if the weather would switch to our favor.


As I pulled up in the Frisco Pier parking lot it was raining slightly. We stood outside discussing the weather and exactly our plans for the shoot. I prepared three cameras with three different lenses, prior to my arrival. I set each camera to a different white balance. I wanted to capture the vibrant colors with her vibrant mermaid tail, as well as the more desaturated vintage look. This was quite challenging honestly. I have had the idea in my head for some time. It was applying it that was difficult. As you flip through the images from our session you will see the vibrant verses desaturated tones. For over an hour we moved around the Frisco Pier trying to capture pure mythological bliss! The gorgeous tail that Hannah is wearing in the images below, was made my Mermaid Jessica,


The rain turned out to be a blessing, as most visitors whom would have been on the beach for sunset were scared back in their homes. Therefore we had the entire beach to ourselves pretty much. Not to mention the variety of backdrop color and magical lighting and reflections that arose after the rain tapered off and the fog lifted, right before the golden sunset. My daughter is the young mermaid in the images below, she enjoyed the fairy tale experience as much as we did.  I am working on a Vintage Mermaid print gallery that will have sepia toned images as well as the desaturated vintage images. Stay tuned! Please scroll down for more then a few frame’s of my whimsical vintage mermaid session at the Frisco Pier.


To contact Hannah or to find out more about her journey as a real live mermaid, check out her facebook page:



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