Seeing Color in Siouxland

20 Nov

Sometimes driving about Siouxland I see scenes or buildings that I really like and it all stems from their color and the light. During a walk in Storm Lake I came across a building near the campus of Buena Vista University. I liked the play of light on it, the texture that was revealed and its color.

Light and shadows on a storage shed in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday Sept. 6, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One morning on my way to another destination I stopped at the Museum Complex in Onawa because of how the light was striking some of the buildings there.

Hard light illuminates buildings at the Kiwanis Museum Complex in Onawa, Iowa Thursday Sept. 28, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hard light illuminates buildings at the Kiwanis Museum Complex in Onawa, Iowa Thursday Sept. 28, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

These are not tremendous photos in and of themselves but I enjoy them all the same, at least the scene of the day I took the photos simply because of the play of light. It brings out the color. And that in and of itself to me is fun.

Hard light illuminates rail car at the Kiwanis Museum Complex in Onawa, Iowa Thursday Sept. 28, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A colorful residence in Okoboji, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Playing with Light in Siouxland, Iowa Lakes Region

18 Nov

This fall I made another trip to the Iowa Lakes Region and explored some more around the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory area. The stone buildings were constructed during the 1930’s with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corp and was the idea of University of Iowa professors to study nature while in nature. I however just like to explore shapes and light sometimes when I am there.

A play of light, lines and shadows at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes one is not always able to “shoot cleanly”, that is without other forms interfering with what you as the photographer wants to tell with an image. But I don’t let that deter me.

A stone built laboratory at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Light and shadow play at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I like the interplay of the light and shapes that I see through my viewfinder and try to isolate those areas that I show the viewer. Some may like it and others, not so much. But for me the joy is the mostly the light and its effect on illuminating objects and places. It constantly changes, sometimes by milliseconds. And within any given space of time can create many more “images” than I could probably capture in my lifetime.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shadow play on the library at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Books lining shelves seen through a window at the library are a collection of journals, information and other research collected by participants at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Color in Siouxland, Le Mars

16 Nov

As November begins and the cooler days increase I am trying to enjoy the remaining color I find as much as I can. The grey of winter will be here soon enough in Siouxland. There will be those glorious sunny blue sky days of December and other winter months, but it may also be 20 degrees out which puts a bit of chill on the enjoyment. So I look, admire, try to get creative with the color I see.

Fall colors at Westmar Park in Le Mars, Iowa Sunday Oct. 16, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Or simply record the scene as the days pass and get shorter, cooler and darker.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Fall colors at Foster Park in Le Mars, Iowa Sunday Oct. 16, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall colors at Westmar Park in Le Mars, Iowa Sunday Oct. 16, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In Remembrance in Siouxland, West Lake Okoboji

14 Nov

I find that history appears in all sorts of ways when I travel about Siouxland. I may not always grasp what it is behind the meaning, but sometimes one doesn’t really need to. Driving a number of backroads one will always find memorials to people who most probably died in a traffic accident along that stretch of highway. Off to the side of the road, in a ditch, or up a hillside is a small cross. It is a sad reminder of an event, but also dangerous in a way in that it could very well distract other drivers looking at it. And generally, there is no place to pull over to really look and spend some time.

I came across another memorial recently at West Lake Okobji in the community of Wahpeton.

A bench in honor of Beverly Zahrt Jeppeson gives visitors a view of West Lake Okoboji from Wahpeton, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This person may not have died under as tragic a circumstance as a road side remembrance. I don’t really know. But I found that the remembrance itself was carefully thought out and sharing something of this person who probably enjoyed this spot an entire lifetime.

A bench in honor of Beverly Zahrt Jeppeson gives visitors a view of West Lake Okoboji from Wahpeton, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A simple bench with a rather spectacular view probably encapsulates this woman’s lifetime and her love of the outdoors. It reminds of a scene in a movie called Notting Hill with the actors Julia Roberts and  Hugh Grant. A rather unlikely love story with a scene of a park bench honoring the love of two people in a lovely spot hoping that other passersby might find the same peace and contentment as those whose memory is honored.

So I took advantage of the day, spent some time enjoying the view, listening to nature and watching time pass and contemplating if my life is as content as the woman honored with this memorial. It was a nice way to spend a day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A view of West Lake Okoboji from Wahpeton, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A boater makes his out into West Lake Okoboji seen from a bench in honor of Beverly Zahrt Jeppeson that gives visitors a view of what she must have witnessed over the years in Wahpeton, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Learning Light and White Balance in Siouxland, plus a test, Photo Safari

12 Nov

During the fall season in Siouxland I always look for different places to visit to keep interest in my Fall Photo Safari and to challenge those students attending. I also return to previous places because the light, season, and temperature is never the same. I have to thank students Elizabeth and Carey for being good sports and allowing me to test a newly acquired camera for its video capabilities, especially using a variable ND filter so I can control the amount of light while shooting outdoors with a 1/30 shutter speed and an f/4 aperture at 320 ISO. I didn’t have a tripod so I knew my technique was going to be off, but it gave me a chance to test out what I thought would work and be prepared to use it in a couple weeks when I attend some local Christmas functions.

During the fall I also schedule one class toward dusk and evening. This challenges some students because it screws with their knowledge of using higher ISO’s, white balance and most times a slower variable zoom kit lens. The lenses are fine, but one does need to learn to work around them.

The city recently began changing out the lighting from mercury vapor and other warm lamps to daylight LED’s.

Photo Safari class in Sioux City, Iowa, Saturday, October 31, 2015. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

We walk about the downtown area of Sioux City and as dusk falls into night, they have to think about these changes which can seem daunting. But I tell them to have fun and be creative. One way is working with the camera’s preset white balance. This scene was shot both using the tungsten setting for night and also using the Florescent 3 setting I have on my Fuji camera. I am not a fan of LED’s for night usage that are not warm because it plays with one’s sense of night and day. And we humans are geared  for warm settings come evening. But using the Florescent setting helped me give my image a warm feel.

in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Saturday Nov. 4, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Saturday Nov. 4, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

The next scene I believe I was shooting daylight as there was still a little sunlight left in the sky and then switched to tungsten.

in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Saturday Nov. 4, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Saturday Nov. 4, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And as I try to explain to students, because of a “slower” kit lens sometimes one can use that to an advantage since the shutter speed is slowed down to accommodate a f/3.5 or f/4 lens. And then creatively one enters controlled motion into the image.

in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Saturday Nov. 4, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And with a little practice and experimentation these tweaks become more tools in the “toolbox” as one looks at familiar images and giving them a bit of a different twist.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying the Fall Light in Siouxland, Plymouth and Woodbury Counties

10 Nov

I never tire of driving in the rural regions of Siouxland. Looking at the “vistas” of rural America, scenic agricultural depictions that is part of how this country was founded with the westward movement of people two centuries ago.

The light play in the fall makes driving in a “desolate” area all the more enjoyable.

A barn sits in a field in rural Plymouth County, Iowa Monday Oct. 23, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Most of the time these vistas include fields of corn, lots of corn, barns and winding roads that locals still drive to get to their destinations.

Some trees have already shed their fall color as others slowly turn along a county road in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, part of the Sioux City Diocese, Sunday Oct.15, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Trees along a fence row begin to change color as fall slowly appears in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, part of the Sioux City Diocese, Sunday Oct.15, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I find a sense of peace driving these roadways, away from the noise of larger cities, the use of computers and a chance to just see nature and albeit man’s interpretation of nature as more acreage in rural Iowa is converted into tillable land. But still, it’s good sometimes to take a pause and just enjoy what is there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Exploring the Outdoors near Siouxland, the Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls, SD

8 Nov

It was a pleasant surprise on a recent visit to Sioux falls, SD that I came across a park in the confines of this city titled “The Outdoor Campus”. The state parks department created a small nature center within the city for people to put aside the hustle and bustle and enjoy some solitude for a moment or so and get lost on this campus.

Trails lead visitors around the area of the Backyard of the State of South Dakota’s Game, Fish and Parks Dept. Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Children return from a hike on a trail in the Backyard of the State of South Dakota’s Game, Fish and Parks Dept. Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This campus also has what is referred to as “The Backyard” where people can walk trails and children can a explore a more nature friendly environment. The campus is located across the street from the Butterfly House and Aquarium and a park where it’s all nicely packaged into one area one could easily spend a major portion of the day enjoying nature. A that might not be a bad idea.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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