Superconducting nanowire single photon detectors (SNSPDs) are typically used as single-mode-fiber-coupled single-pixel detectors, but large area detectors are increasingly critical for applications ranging from microscopy to free-space quantum communications. Here, we explore changes in the rising edge of the readout pulse for large-area SNSPDs as a function of the bias current, optical spot size on the detector, and number of photons per pulse. We observe a bimodal distribution of rise times and show that the probability of a slow rise time increases in the limit of large spot sizes and small photon number. In the limit of low bias currents, the dark-count readout pulse is most similar to the combined large spot size and small-photon-number bright-count readout pulse. These results are consistent with a simple model of traveling microwave modes excited by single photons incident at varying positions along the length of the nanowire.