Doors in Siouxland, Little Sioux

23 Apr

An inconvenient doorway in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s been said, one door closes another one opens. But there have been times as I travel about Siouxland that I find doors I simply do not want to open. Call me cautious, but yellow tape and caution signs can sometimes be appropriate.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Finding History While Wandering in Siouxland, Rural South Dakota

21 Apr

Older tomb stones in an unnamed cemetery in rural South Dakota Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes while driving around Siouxland I will stumble upon something I haven’t seen before and I always find that exciting. Although it doesn’t mean it’s something not known to others. I recently came upon an older, possibly pioneer cemetery in rural South Dakota. The older tombstones gave that impression, yet there were newer stones there as well so it’s still hallowed ground that continues in use.

A fence line bordering an unnamed cemetery in rural South Dakota Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Older grave markers in an unnamed cemetery in rural South Dakota Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I couldn’t find a name along the fence line for the cemetery and was then not able to do any research online as to its origins and who exactly may have settled in the area originally farming what was probably then part of the Dakota Territories. Given its location on a secondary road the settlers and this cemetery sat far from civilization. In a way it still does. But the plot of land is tended and that shows respect for those who have passed from this earth by those whose time has not come to follow. I can only suppose that it is descendants who continue to use this cemetery and care for those relatives who have left this earth, holding on to a dream of a new and better life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An unnamed cemetery in rural South Dakota Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a Peek Inside Siouxland, Danforth Chapel USD Vermillion, SD

19 Apr

Working with B&W on a grey day on the campus of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Tuesday, Oct. 2 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and shad on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD, Tuesday, August 16, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have visited the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion a few times, sometimes for events and other times to just enjoy the ambiance. I have walked by the Danforth Chapel numerous times and enjoy the small church. And then recently found that one could actually take a peek inside. A student of a Photo Safari class of mine said a sister was married inside the chapel and it seemed smaller that what she remembered as a young girl.

Light and shade on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But it was amazing walking into the chapel because of the stained glass windows and with bright spring sunshine the inside became alive with color.

Lights filters through stain glass windows on the Danforth Chapel on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Lights filters through stain glass windows on the Danforth Chapel on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always tell students that no matter how many times one may visit a place, there can always be something different or new that pops up. And to me that just increases the joy of photography and what wonders await for a photo adventure.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Spring’s Rebirth in Siouxland, Preparation Canyon Park, Loess Hills

17 Apr

A turkey vulture soars overly newly burned grass during a control burn by Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes while driving around Siouxland a person gets lucky. And it probably depends on the person how luck is defined. Of course for some there’s this on the one hand, and then that on the other. Tradeoffs happen. As I found out early last week when I came upon a control burn in Preparation Canyon Park by the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources. Giving Mother Nature a little help in jumping into spring. I found some newly sprung wildflowers gracing part of a trail along with a couple of turkey vultures looking for anything of a fricasee nature after the burn.

Turkey vulture getting a close up view on the ground during an Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources control burn at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As ugly as the birds appeared sitting on the ground, they were very graceful gliding over the terrain looking for a meal.

A turkey vulture soars overly newly burned grass during a control burn by Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I will assume the DNR does this type of burn yearly, partially to control undergrowth and well as to rejuvenate what’s there. The trail leading from an observation deck is relatively short and a pleasant hike as long as the temperature is not soaring itself into the high 90’s or 100 with high humidity. During the summer without wind it can be pretty stifling walking the trail with tall grass and trees.

A large swath of land is now barren after Iowa’s Dept. of Natural Resources did a control burn at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources does a control burn at Preparation Canyon Park seen from its observation deck in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The downside of finding the burning going on is that later I found myself with a very sore throat I am guessing irritated by the something burned and taking a couple days off to recover. By this summer though the hilly park will be a pleasant place to spend a morning or afternoon. Although by then the two turkey vultures might be on to another area to look for meals.

Legend at the observation deck tells the history of the Loess Hills at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tueday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A turkey vulture soars overly newly burned grass during a control burn by Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And not far away in the valley below where farmers will soon be preparing their ground for planting, more burning was taking place, whether it was planned or not. The afternoon that particular day was smoke-filled and made breathing difficult. But am guessing someone believes it makes a difference.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A grass fire is seen from the observation deck at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Ah Spring, where are Thou in Siouxland, Bacon Creek Park, Sioux CIty

15 Apr

Trees are still looking barren around a walking path at Bacon Creek Park in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, April 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The current season looks much like the past season in Siouxland, winter, not spring. The same brown color, and bare trees reinforce that perception, except the temperature is warm enough to take a walk through Bacon Creek Park and enjoy some of the outdoors until Spring comes into full bloom.

Trees are still barren along a walking path around the path at Bacon Creek park in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, April 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In sparse patches some green is emerging which is a welcoming sign. If one like to get out and photograph, finding elements to show spring is here is challenging for a photographer. It’s not there staying back waiting for someone to snap a photo.

Some green lichen appears near the water Bacon Creek Park in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, April 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But there are some in the park that are still enjoying themselves, winter or spring, rain or shine, oblivious to Mother Nature’s actions, just enjoying those moments they can.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A duck sits and tries to enjoy a little peace by itself near a walking path at Bacon Creek Park in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, April 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Two ducks, or maybe geese, find a little solitude in some water across from Bacon Creek in the park of the same name in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, April 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spring Slowly emerges in Siouxland, Rural South Dakota

13 Apr

Flood water still fills a field bordering a main roadway in rural South Dakota Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finally it seems spring is beginning to flirt with the Siouxland area, some days of sunshine and cloud play with light over the landscape. But that doesn’t mean the area has rid itself entirely of winter or the leftover of bad weather that combined into too much water, liquid and frozen, that overran much Siouxland and others areas bordering it.

One main roadway is still closed because of flood water in rural South Dakota Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Still, it is nice to see sunshine and the light and shadow play that comes with clouds passing through, showing glimpses of what may yet be.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light play from the sun and moving clouds on a farm stead in rural South Dakota Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Capturing Moments in Siouxland, Rural Plymouth County

11 Apr

Fields are still flooded along Highway 12 north of Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, March 22, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I recently drove around parts of Siouxland after a weather bomb had visited the area like so many places and flooded fields and communities. Driving along one stretch of road where the water reached up I noticed a driveway into a field, actually two fields, both filled with water. The images taken were literally one minute apart, but yet enough time for wind to effect a scene.

Fields are still flooded along Highway 12 north of Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, March 22, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes in photography it is only moments when the effective image can be taken before something occurs that changes the scene into another scene, different from before. Most times we may think the time of year or time of day will most definitely change what we saw before. But sometimes it’s just moments.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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