Black and white dams

At present there is a lot of water in the south-east of Australia. The rain keeps falling and the rivers keep overflowing into towns. Sometimes the authorities release water from catchment dams to try to prevent them spilling over, though the released water can cause problems downstream. The release of dam water is always a dramatic sight. A few months ago I drove over a dam when water was being released and it was so surprising that I stopped and took photos.

Here’s one that I’ll compare with a photo from my father’s 1941 album which he simply captioned “Weir in Nile”. I found a modern colour photo online of what looks like the same dam, called the Mohamed Ali Dam in Cairo, built in 1840.

Which is the better photo? Mine has a solid black and white appearance, with blacker blacks, while the old pic is composed mostly of soft greys and white. The drama of the rushing water and its spray in the 1941 photo is effective in spite of the slight blur. You can almost hear the roar of water in front of the camera. The old photo might be better simply because it is more picturesque with its brick pointed arches and what looks like a wooden drawbridge. But the modern image is better if you’re looking for details and defined straight edges.



Published by Trish

Literary translator

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