“Urban” shooting in Siouxland, Sioux City

17 Oct

A couple weeks ago I spent the early evening with some students for a photo course I am teaching at Western Iowa Tech in Sioux City, Iowa, exploring and photographing the downtown urban environment of the town. There really are not many urban environments in Siouxland. Sioux City itself is not a small town, but, it is also not a Des Moines, Omaha, Minneapolis or Chicago. Those cities would give a photographer a very different kind of urban shooting experience.

But we wandered about looking for images. I try to tress with students to take chances and photograph what appeals to them, but also push their limit, shooting something they may not have considered before and try to see their environment in a different light, pun intended. I must admit, not many had traipsed through alleys, or looked at streets lights. We were shooting in early evening because if everything went well, the setting sun would create some nice light on surrounding buildings, one of which might have some sweet reflections. However, as long as I have been photographing, Murphy has always been about, and this day, there was rain off and on along with clouds. Although the sun did peek through just before it set. As the sun set, I talked about white balance, daylight vs. tungsten, or cool vs. warm color temperatures. Also, using slow shutter speeds to capture motion and finding possibly ways of shooting such, like placing one’s camera on a paper box and setting the timer as you see cars approaching so there is no movement of the camera when the shutter engages for an eight second exposure.

I think they had fun, even though it was a bit cool and blustery. But that is also part of the experience, and it wouldn’t be as memorable without some adversity in shooting.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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