Exploring southern Siouxland, Missouri Valley

26 Jul

I like driving about in Siouxland as I look for places to visit that I have not been to before, and the southern part of the area is a place I need to explore some more. Recently I stopped into Missouri Valley and walked about. It is nestled next to the Loess Hills region of Siouxland which draws a number of visitors throughout the year as it is only one two places on the entire planet, the other being in China, that has these particular earth formations called loess soil.

It was an extremely hot day that I picked to visit but sometimes one just has to make the best of it. The downtown area and main drag is actually the Lincoln Highway or Rte. 30 that passes through. The area retains some of its earlier historical feel with covered walks and brick sidewalks. Part of the community sits on a hill and looks out over the Loess Hills area and gives a bit more dramatic presentation. Sunset would be a perfect time to take in those views and maybe fall a better season to explore the area on foot a bit more.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Celebrating Independence Day in Siouxland, Sioux City

24 Jul

During the July 4 holiday I attended a parade in southern Siouxland and enjoyed festivities and band music there, although that group played music from a couple centuries ago. The evening of July 4 I attended a concert at a local college, Morningside College and listened to the U.S. Air force Heartland of America band perform. Patriotic songs, big band, swing and some pop numbers were all performed with aplomb. This group could swing and belt out some tunes.

It was a fun evening and many local residents took advantage of a pleasant evening without searing heat to come out and hear the band play.

Attendees of the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band keep the late afternoon sun off with a “patriotic” umbrellas at a 4th of July celebration concert at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A large crowd enjoys the sounds of the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band as it plays a concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The men and women who serve in the various armed services perform a variety of services. Some of those are just connecting directly with the public and the Heartland of America Band, based at Offutt Air Base in Omaha, NE does a great job. Following are some songs the group performed.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Members of the audience stand for the National Anthem prior to the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band guitar player MSgt Jerry Birkenmeier watches SSgt Daniel Thrower as he solos in the spotlight during a concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band brass members TSgt Carl Eitzen, SSgt Daniel Thrower and MSgt Ben Kadow play for a concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A nice crowd turned out for the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fires works sound off over Morningside College at the conclusion of the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band’s concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band play a finale of their concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. Members of the performing band include TSgt Becky Packard, Tsgt Carl Eitzen, SSgt Daniel Thrower, MSgt Alex Serwatoski, MSgt Ben Kadow, SSgt Ed Zarsky, A1C Sierra Bailey, TSgt Michael Schmaus, MSgt Jerry Birkernmeier and TSgt Marshall Gentry. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

TSgt Becky Packard and A1C Sierra Bailey share a show tune during the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band members SSgt Ed Zaryky, YSgt Carl Eitzen, SSgt Daniel Thrower, MSgt Ben Kadow and TSgt Michael Schmaus during the concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An attendee applauds at the end of a song as the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band performs a concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

Finding Design in Siouxland, Rural Iowa

22 Jul

As I drive about Siouxland I always try to find something interesting to me to photograph. Sometimes it is places, things, people, events. And sometimes it is something simpler.

When one walks into an area, a town, or a place in the community I look at everything. And as I have gotten older I try not to miss much. But still, sometimes once away from a place “things” that I see become more clear. And that happened the other day as I was looking at images to put up on this blog, along with some more recent photos, I saw the lines, angles and shapes.

And I find that selectively photographing parts of items I see can have an appeal in and of itself as well as photographing the entire object. In some ways, it is almost a cat and mouse game with oneself. What did I overlook or see, but did not.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Exploring Siouxland, Woodbine

20 Jul

Earlier this summer I drive to a small community in southern Siouxland called Woodbine. A quaint little town with a very vibrant looking downtown. A resident told me the town was part of Main Street America program which helps downtown areas in smaller communities regain their vibrancy and utilize their past historical essence and spur economic growth.

The buildings downtown sparkled with fresh paint and sidewalk art.

Downtown Woodbine, Iowa with restored buildings Friday, June 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sculpted pieces dot the “landscape” downtown in Woodbine, Iowa Friday, June 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The community also sits on the historic Lincoln Hwy. or Route 30 that crossed the nation and was traveled by thousands before the advent of the interstate highway system. It is a nice community to stop and check out and enjoy the ambience of small town America. Seeing so many of Iowa’s smaller communities looking a bit sadder in parts of Iowa it was pleasant to find a community with support within to build a comeback and make their presence know.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Prairie Chapel in Siouxland, Harris Grove Memorial Chapel, Harrison County

18 Jul

Driving around southern Siouxland I came upon a small memorial chapel in Harrison County. Sitting on a hill top overlooking its parishioners possibly, the chapel surveys the surrounding countryside. Unlike the Danish Ingemann Lutheran Church near Soldier that has suffered vandalism in recent years and is now fenced off, the Harris Grove Memorial Chapel has flourished and is open to visitors.

The Harris Grove Memorial Chapel in rural Harrison County, Iowa Friday, June 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

According to local media the church was first built in 1890, as a Methodist Church. It closed as a church in the 1930’s and a group of community residents purchased it from the Methodist Conference and restored it. Another media outlet reported that in 2015 the chapel was undergoing repair to its clock tower for preparation for a 125th anniversary in 2015.

The Harris Grove Chapel and others like it are a nice place for a visitor to see local history and find a place quiet and away from the daily outside noise to just sit quietly and contemplate the good fortunes in one’s life and to ask for help in overcoming those misfortunes that appear as well.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Creating images in Siouxland, Sioux City

16 Jul

The other day it was a not, muggy, miserable type of midwestern summer day in July that is probably best spent indoors if possible. But this was a continuation of a few days of hot, muggy and miserable days in Iowa and I needed to get outside and breathe some fresh air even if it was a bit unbearable. I visited Bacon Creek Park and walked its three mile loop. Thankfully there was a breeze and most of the loop passes through a forested area.

Because I chose mid-day to take my walk, not a bright idea on a hot, muggy and miserable kind of midwestern summer day, the light was vary garish. And so I started looking for scenes that would best use this type of light. I tell students you can photograph any time and anywhere. It’s just a matter of being observant. That doesn’t mean mid-day photos are more successful than a nice sunset or evening shot during the golden hour, but the possibilities are still there. And if you’re taking a walk on such a day, it pretty much reflects the experience, maybe.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Summer Time Fairs in Siouxland, Sioux Center

14 Jul

With the middle of summer approaching and the temperatures heading north, it is county fair time in Siouxland. The Sioux County Youth Fair is underway this week with other area fairs beginning as well. The fairs generally run a week with a large emphasis on the 4-H kids and their livestock or smaller animal exhibits as well as crafts and other skills learned.

Young 4-H’ers show their animal projects competing for blue ribbons and best of show at the Sioux County Youth Fair at the fairgrounds in Sioux Center, Iowa, Wednesday July 12, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As a youngster who grew up on a farm, my brothers and I participated in 4-H projects. Those times have changed as there are now fewer small farms and in some respects less “farm kids” who participate. 4-H shifted its perspective a number of years ago and began to seek “city kids” more actively to participate. It is a good organization much like Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts teaching youth to follow through on projects and participating in character building activities.

Those who exhibit animals have to keep substantial records of the care given as well as demonstrate knowledge about that particular animal breed. It can be time consuming but one learns so much from doing. I like to see the kids exhibits and watch them show their animals, which brings back memories of my own participation. Some of which I can laugh about today, but then, not so much. And it’s nice to see the continuation of 4-H and the kids enjoyment in participating.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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