Lake Mokoan

Mick Fagan
Posts: 410
Joined: 24 Sep 2015, 21:20
Location: Melbourne

Lake Mokoan

Postby Mick Fagan » 01 Nov 2022, 14:00

An interesting history of Lake Mokoan, which is near Benalla Victoria. I heard about the making of a new dam in the mid to late 60's in the swampy area north west of Benalla. I then was away from the area for some years, upon returning and visiting friends in Thoona in 1975, I was astounded to hear that there was a new lake and boating and swimming was the go.

Fast forward around a decade and the evaporation rate was so intensive the dam was useless, locals were up in arms about the water runoff quality threatening and killing livestock; which it did. The state government decided to reverse the decision and turn it back into a swamp again, not before thousands of trees and much wildlife had died.

It is expected to take at least 50 more years to get it sort of back to where it once was. I visited in the last week, hoping to see something of the progress, which so far has been good, however the floods and almost non-stop rain did make things a bit difficult.

I managed to get one sheet for the entire trip in between showers and rain. As I was exposing this sheet light rain started up again, I packed a wet camera into the camper with the view to open it up and dry it out in due course. That mostly light, but sometimes heavy rain, lasted for close to 20 hours.....

Helped a mate get his bogged truck out of a situation in the middle of the 20 hours of rain; gumboots are fantastic!

Lake Mokoan.
Shen Hao HZX45-IIA
Ilford FP4+ 4x5" sheet film.
Fujinon 250mm f/6.3 lens at 1/15 at f22.
Orange filter to try and get a contrast kick.
D76 1:1 and developed approximately half a stop more for a contrast kick.

As far as getting some contrast, well, maybe. It was such a flat day I was almost wishing for colour film; but I don't have any in sheet film any more.

2200007_006_Web.jpg

John Power
Posts: 94
Joined: 26 May 2021, 10:18

Re: Lake Mokoan

Postby John Power » 05 Dec 2022, 10:44

I drive past Mokoan many times a year, Mick, and had been wondering recently whether there'd be any water in there to shoot. I grew up nearby, and knew nothing about the controversy with the water quality and run off, I only ever knew it as a place where people water skied, while we drove much further to Lake Hume or Eppalock to do the same.

Anyway, I like this image, it looks a lot drier in monochrome than it looks/felt at the time, I bet! I especially like the length of foreground you've included... grass is a big part of any landscape story on the east coast at the moment!

Mick Fagan
Posts: 410
Joined: 24 Sep 2015, 21:20
Location: Melbourne

Re: Lake Mokoan

Postby Mick Fagan » 05 Dec 2022, 16:46

John, I wanted to include the foreground vegetation as it really gave depth to the image; that was the intention and why I used the 250mm to add as much compression as possible. It seemed to work well enough.

A very good friend grew up in Thoona, moved to the big smoke, met a city girl, eventually they moved to Thoona on the family property, been there ever since. When the lake was a lake, they also didn't water ski there, so many tree stumps and fallen trees lying just below the surface.

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Maris
Posts: 878
Joined: 27 Jul 2012, 16:02
Location: Noosa

Re: Lake Mokoan

Postby Maris » 07 Dec 2022, 11:46

Good one Mick. Dead trees against the sky, rough foreground, a perfect metaphor for time, change, death, rebirth. I guess I'm feelin' poetic today.

Mick Fagan
Posts: 410
Joined: 24 Sep 2015, 21:20
Location: Melbourne

Re: Lake Mokoan

Postby Mick Fagan » 07 Dec 2022, 16:17

Thank you Maris, as for rebirth, not quite the same thing, but my goddaughter who was born and bred just down the road from this swamp in Thoona, had her third child today in nearby Wangaratta. Woo Hoo!!!!!!!


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