Reflections: Rawson Lake

Rawson Lake is one of those places that is wonderful to visit in both summer and winter. On this particular occasion, it was late summer, and there were still plenty of wildflowers blooming along the trail. We saw alpine fireweed, tall purple fleabane, goldenrods, forget-me-nots and even some brook saxifrage, a stunning little white flower with a bright red centre.

Wildflowers along the trail to Rawson Lake, colored pencil

But the best part in summer is the reflections you get in Rawson Lake, from all sides. Surrounded as it is by Mount Sarrail and the ridges to either side, with dense forest on the north side, you often get still moments where the mountain and it’s patches of snow are almost perfectly reflected in the surface of the lake.

Reflection: Rawson Lake, pastel on paper

Drawing and painting reflections in a lake surface is always a challenge. We have a tendency to assume, when looking at lake reflections, that they perfectly mirror what’s on land. But that’s only rarely the case. The fact that the water is perpendicular to the view tends to stretch things, or foreshorten them, and the viewer’s position relative to the lake surface will change the reflection as well. The slightest breeze, or fish jumping, will create ripples in the water, causing sections of the reflection to “ripple” or blur as well.

Pencil sketch of Rawson Lake

We travelled around the shore of the lake to the far side (this area is an avalanche zone in the winter), and the reflections changed as we moved along, creating some awesome angles, almost abstract in appearance. We met some folks fishing, including one lucky fellow who caught his first fish as we passed, one of the largest his friend had ever seen coming from Rawson Lake. The day was a little breezy as we arrived at the shore, but the lake stilled as we travelled along the south edge of the lake. We kept stopping to take photos, as the reflections shifted along the way. We had lunch on a slight rise that juts into the lake, which gave us yet another angle. We watched all those energetic people climbing up to Sarrail Ridge and decided it wasn’t for us. We were just happy to enjoy all the marvellous reflections.

Inktense sketch, water and shoreline at Rawson Lake

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