On the eastern edge of a small town in the central Willamette Valley in Oregon there is a dam that contains a reservoir of water known to the locals as Foster Lake. At first glance, there is nothing special about this lake. It is an ordinary northwest lake that is host to many summertime adventures; boats towing wake boarders, paddle boarders exploring the shoreline and kayaks exploring the tributaries. Fishermen line the banks in hopes of limiting out on their daily dose of trout. Midday brings sounds of laughter from the swimmers and weekends bring campfires and smores at the campground. It is a family lake, a lake where memories are made.
The lake itself is similar to other northwest lakes, nothing fancy; but unbeknownst to the onlooker, it has a secret. Below the surface lurks a history of a time that is murky even in the memories of the locals, but can be seen every winter when the waters are lowered to make way for the run off from the Cascade Mountains. Prior to 1968, before the concrete walls of Foster Dam were poured, the middle fork of the Santiam flowed uninhibited through the valley. Along the shores of the middle Santiam was a township known as Foster. The building of the dam also meant that the locals would have to relocate. The town of Foster is now located slightly south and west of Foster reservoir.
In the winter months due to the low waters, you can walk down the old roads and witness the foundations of the houses of the former residents and the buildings that once made the town. Stay for a while and and explore the town of Foster or Sweet Home and you might be lucky enough to catch a story from a local who remembers living in one of these homes.
Circumstances in many instances can be confusing. Altering viewpoints provide different takes on a situation. We often need a period of time to let the waters subside so that we can see clearly. Perspective is just that, and with patience, diligence and introspection we can change our perspective. This photo is an exercise in changing our perspective, just as travelers through the present town of Foster, Oregon would never know that the town once resided a mere mile away in a space that is now submerged under a reservoir for 6 months of the year. This photograph is in itself a mysterious quandary. Why is the sky that color or is that water? Is the stump underwater? Are those clouds or steam? What direction am I looking?
This is one of my earlier photos taken with a Nikon D40 and a kit zoom lens set at 85mm, ISO 400 and a shutter of 1/320 f4.5.