Finding the Dramatic in Siouxland’s Winter, Rural Cherokee County

19 Feb

I find it challenging to photograph during the winter season here in Siouxland. The scenery is like other places, dreary. And then there is the cold. I don’t always mind the cold so much except when the wind is blowing 20-25 mph and you feel like you stepped outside without a jacket on.

On a relatively nice day recently I took a driver toward Cherokee, Iowa. During the other three seasons I tend to shoot my landscape images dark. When shooting chromes (or transparencies) while working for one publication, I always underexposed to saturate the image. I still tend to do that, even though most photo instructors tell people not too. I underexpose then lighten back up once I begin working in Photoshop. It’s just second nature to me anymore.

But sometimes as I try to explain to students who take some of my Lifelong Learning classes at the local community college that less is more. So on this trip while driving through Cherokee county I came across a harvested corn field with some horses grazing in it. I tried to underexpose my images but found the few I shot “lighter” on, I liked better. So I did a bit of both so I would have images to use later in one of my classes as examples. But I also tell students it comes down to personal taste. Some people like RED, while others like red, or maybe yellow. There is not right or wrong, and one may not know it, but their own personal style will develop as they gravitate to what they like photographing. Although in my classes I like to challenge people to challenge themselves. When I previously shot for different newspapers people I knew would tell me they could spot my photos in the paper without even looking. I was always baffled by that.

But we all have our own eye and that’s what makes photography so much fun because people can see the same thing but still see differently.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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