Rattlesnake Lake

One of the challenges in landscape photography is the planning.

The experience of being in a location changes with the time of day, day of week, and time of year.  Artists who work with geography (such as those featured at the on-hiatus Conflux Festival) will often visit the same location over an extended period of time to see how these factors come into play.  Most psychogeographic studies are done in urban areas and concern how people interact with the environment.

Landscape photography is often done in rural and protected areas and actively seeks to avoid the presence of people (usually by getting up very early in the morning) so you’re dealing with an entirely different range of factors.  Such as weather.  Not just the immediate impact of sun, wind, and rain, but also the longer term effects.

I had originally been drawn to Rattlesnake Lake by Seattle Times articles like this one and the Washington Trails Association’s trail guides which described a field of massive stumps and the last remains of the town of Moncton.   Unfortunately I arrived several months too late to experience the scene described by the article and trail guide.

Like most of the American West, Washington had experienced a drought which peaked during the summer of 2015.   The Pacific Northwest was in much better shape than California but we still felt the effects of the drought with low river levels and a slow-burning fire in the Hoh Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula.   This trend broke between November and February of 2015-2016 with record amounts of rainfall in the Seattle area.

Which meant that Rattlesnake Lake which acts as a buffer for the Cedar River Municipal Watershed had been filling up with rainfall for several months.

No stumps for you.

Seattle does experience a dry summer season so I’ll have to return to the area in early September to see if the water level will drop enough to begin revealing the remains of North Bend’s logging history.   It would be an interesting project to return to the area monthly to see how the area changes.

Unfortunately I have enough interesting projects on my plate already and this is left as an exercise for the reader.