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The Back River

A haven for life and Duxbury's playground for water sports. A stretch of coastal marshes that extends from the Powder Point Bridge, to the town next door.

Sunset Session

A Coastal Estuary

Sprawling 1 mile from the Powder Point Bridge to the boarder of Marshfield, The Back River is a network of salt marsh gullies that vary dramatically at different tides. On a daily basis the marsh is nearly drained, then fills in again up to twenty five feet every six hours. This constant change in tide allows for all kinds of different life to flourish. At high tides stripped bass and bluefish chase bait fish down the river, providing some epic fishing when aligned with sunset, sunrise, and the occasional midnight full moon.

Shellfishing during a drainer tide in Back River

The ebbing and flowing tide also brings in micronutrients from outside of Duxbury Bay itself. These nutrients allow for an abundance of clams, oysters and other shellfish to thrive, becoming exposed at lower tides to be gathered from the muck. Additionally, Duxbury's own and famous oyster producer Island Creek, hosts a small farm in the middle of Back River. Taking advantage of one of the best eco systems in the world to grow healthy oysters. From the air the river is a kin to a tree, limbs branching in all directions, and to the same tune the Back River provides food and shelter to all kinds of life.


On sunny summer days with a high noon high tide, you'll hear the hum of boats gliding on the often glassy waters of the Back River. With a variety of water sports in tow, the river quickly becomes crowded. From the younger generation towing wakeboards, to the old heads still ripping a slalom ski, and the inevitable slightly drunk dad at full throttle throwing his kids tubbing off of massive wake, it can be a circus.

While the warm glow of the sun in full effect makes those days worth while for a few rips followed by some cold beers afterwards, the real time to enjoy the river is at sunrise. Waking up as early as four in the morning during peak summer daylight, the river is extremely quiet. The water so tranquil it looks like a single plane of glass that could shatter. The air so quiet the smallest splash of fish jumping echoes. It is then that the real sportsmen of the bay enjoy this beautiful estuary.

My Inspiration

Growing up here I always heard stories of people heading out at the crack of dawn to take advantage of the glassy water before work. Getting in a few precious runs on a wake board or water ski when the time and tides lined up. When I was finally old enough to head out there myself it lived well beyond the hype.

As the sun rises over the marsh, behind the derelict duck shacks, and the beach off in the distance, you are at peace. Completely unaware of the day to follow, no responsibilities, just the next ride. It was these mornings when I realized how special the river really is. With this print I wanted to convey that feeling. After a few early morning trips photographing friends from the marsh I used an handful of photos for reference. In August, if you are in the right spot you'll see the sun rise behind the old duck cabin just as it shows in the poster. The sun peaks through holes and cracks in the wood as its rays dance along the smooth water, only to be torn up by someone in tow. A second boat out fishing or to catch the sunrise watches the rider spray water into the calm air. It was a cold morning but the sun is quickly heating up to meet the day. Nearly 7 am now, the idea of a work filled day starts to creep in. Yet in the back of your mind you know in another 12 hours you'll be back out on the marsh to watch the sun cross the horizon once again.

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