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Enjoying an Old Building in Siouxland, Winnebago, NE

30 Jun

Older building in Winnebago, NE Monday, June 15, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When driving about in Siouxland I am always looking for “used” buildings, or those which have seen better days. Never to buy, but photograph. While in large cities the big shiny glass, steel and concrete buildings are a sight to behold, I like the ones found in smaller communities that over the years have only added to their character.

A thistle plant grows in front of an older building in Winnebago, NE Monday, June 15, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

What I see could be described as an artistic interpretation, but I just the like the “character” of the structure, the history it holds that I will never know, and for the most part a simple, functional design.

A doorway into an older building in Winnebago, NE Monday, June 15, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Older building in Winnebago, NE Monday, June 15, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I’m not detailing  structures in the Siouxland area for any purpose other than my own enjoyment and how I might present it. I see details, large and small, never quite capturing the whole but finding the sums of the parts to be more interesting. But again, every interpretation is open to discussion and is always in the eye of beholder. And a little bit of history of another era.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Older building in Winnebago, NE Monday, June 15, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Shadows in Siouxland, Calliope Village in Hawarden

16 Jun

Light and shade at Calliope Village in Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

For the most part life is pretty straight forward for most individuals, even in Siouxland, and the same could be said for photographs. What you see if what there is. But sometimes I wonder if there are exceptions in those perceptions of various individuals and how they respectively see the world compared to others witnessing the same scene.

I like working with light and shadow in photography. The dynamic between the two is pretty straight forward, utilizing one to focus a viewer’s point of view to another aspect of a photograph. But sometimes it’s not always so straight forward. When color is introduced to a photo of light and shade a viewer’s interest in in shapes is “colored” (pun intended) by whatever actual color is introduced into the image.

Light and shade at Calliope Village in Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When B&W images are used the starkness of light and shade without color allows a viewer to see “less” and respond to only those subjects or objects within the frame, not “shaded” (again, pun intended) or influenced by another element within the photograph.

Light and shade at Calliope Village in Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The starkness of an image simplifies it for a viewer. The individual sees only two objects as it were, competing against one another for attention. And eyes generally are drawn to the light. But both are needed to make an image, and make it compelling.

Light and shade at Calliope Village in Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But depending on the subject matter and when more shades of grey are introduced into an image, it becomes a bit murkier, as with life, the shades of grey mute into one another at times without a stark contrast and an individual must begin discerning what about the image that is important and where along that light to dark spectrum does that person’s  interest lie and how is the individual affected in what is seen.

One could only wish images, like life, could be simple and straight forward. To some people it probably is. They like what they see or don’t like it, and already have minds made up and interpreted as to their own aesthetics. Not able to adjust or change or perceive anything else even when there are so many shades along the spectrum that to enjoy. B&W white only illuminates so much and much could be lost in the shadows when there is so little light.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shade at Calliope Village in Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Just looking in Siouxland, Sioux City

3 May

Light and shadows during a walk in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes simple is better. While out and about in Siouxland the obvious is almost always overlooked. Angles, shapes, light, dark, contrasts and colors. Can they all get along within a frame?

 

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeling the Light in Siouxland, Sioux City

7 Apr

Light and shadows during a walk in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing light as a photographer is a very helpful thing. Some days in Siouxland I do little photography but a lot of looking. At how light behaves, its direction, quality and other aspects. I like light, and yes, it is necessary for photography and many other things. I don’t want to get too existential or scientific.

Light and shadows during a walk in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Toss in some heavy, late afternoon directional light against a reflective surface and other photographic possibilities open up. One of the joys of just walking and looking, if only my memory was that good, or if I wrote stuff down. Now where did I leave that notebook?

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shadows during a walk in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Angles and Lines in Siouxland, Sioux City and Omaha, NE

18 Mar

Light and shadows during a walk in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It seems the sunshine has been absent in Siouxland for a while now, or at least appears in the early morning hours or late afternoon breaking through clouds as sunset draws nearer. With temperatures dropping back in the 20’s and 30’s I have not been inclined to get up and out early or stay out around sunset after the recent change with daylght savings time.

Old Glory flies high on a building in Old Market in Omaha, NE Tuesday, March 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But when out looking for simple images to take I often look at buildings and the hard light that hits them and then see what develops working within the frames of the viewfinder. I enjoy angles and lines within the confines of four angles and four lines making a person’s eyeballs jump around within the frame. And enjoying what sunshine there is that “fits” within my day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shadows during a walk in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and shadows during a walk in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Revisiting History around Siouxland, General Crook, Omaha, NE

15 Feb

Cabin fever is working on my wanderlust to begin exploring Siouxland area again without slipping and sliding to and from a destination. Although it’s only February and already the warm weather temps that have graced the region recently will depart a short bit as a bitter winter front and some snow moves into the area again.

The Douglas County Historical Society chronicles the history of General George Crook’s home at historic Fort Omaha, now the Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently visiting the Omaha area I checked out but didn’t stop into see General Crook’s museum home at Fort Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska. It’s a glimpse into a time frame in the early frontier days as the west was being”tamed” for settlers heading in that direction. General George Crook was commandant of Fort Omaha and was responsible for patrolling and keeping safe a region that included Iowa, Nebraska, parts of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. His home is a well preserved specimen and fun to look into the past and see what life was like on the prairie for a higher ranking officer. There are a number of homes along that ridge top that housed officers of the fort while the enlisted men bunked in larger housing facilities down the hill.

General George Crook was commander at historic Fort Omaha during the early frontier days, now the Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A plague gives a history about General George Crook’s home at historic Fort Omaha, now the Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

The warmer days makes it easier to get out and about again but patience for the return of some greenery will probably be a few more weeks coming as winter lingers and Mother nature teases us about the coming spring.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A garden spot now dormant behind the General George Crook home museum at historic Fort Omaha, now the Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Old Glory hangs on the front porch of the General George Crook home museum at historic Fort Omaha, now the Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

Shaping up in Siouxland, architectual bits and pieces, Sioux City and Council Bluffs

30 Jan

The Union Pacific Railraod Museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa resides in a former public library, possibly a former Carnegie Library of which many were built around the country in the 19th century seen Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I don’t very often visit larger communities and see some of the more modern buildings, as well as those architecturally historical as well. But I do enjoy seeing the use of such in public and private buildings. I am certain that modern pieces still employ some bits and pieces that were all the rage in centuries past, but times and tastes change.

Arches are such items that can hardly go unnoticed when viewing a building. Although I guess it depends on how it is incorporated into the structure. Arches by themselves garner the attention because it is just them. Nothing else attached. And hopefully framing something worthwhile to draw a person’s attention.

An arch at the Anderson Dance Pavillion in Sioux City, Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An arch at the Anderson Dance Pavillion in Sioux City, Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And sometimes an arch is part of the overall design and possibly eclipsed by the structure itself and only admired when one takes the time to study the view. Older homes and buildings employed such devices I am sure to set themselves apart from the common home, to give the occupant, whether person or entity something others didn’t have and a step up from what their neighbors offered.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The General Dodge House museum sits on a hilltop overlooking downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Walking Through a Skywalk in Siouxland, Sioux City

12 Jan

I don’t often take advantage of the skywalk in Sioux City these days as I am not downtown very often and sadly, there are not many businesses down there to make their use necessary in colder weather. A skywalk is an interconnected walkway to various downtown buildings in a northern city to allow residents to get from one building to another without going out into the cold and blustery winter weather and trudging through whatever snow accumulation there might be.

Seeing downtown Sioux City, Iowa from the town’s skywalk that overlooks city streets and connects various buildings helping residents avoid the cold and snow during the winter months, Dec. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing downtown Sioux City, Iowa from the town’s skywalk that overlooks city streets and connects various buildings helping residents avoid the cold and snow during the winter months, Dec. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular day I had some car work done near the downtown area, and as it was cold and I had time to kill, I took a walk. I had forgotten the views one can get from this higher vantage point of the downtown area of Sioux City. Some people use these to watch parades during certain holidays during the year.

Seeing downtown Sioux City, Iowa from the town’s skywalk that overlooks city streets and connects various buildings helping residents avoid the cold and snow during the winter months, Dec. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing downtown Sioux City, Iowa from the town’s skywalk that overlooks city streets and connects various buildings helping residents avoid the cold and snow during the winter months, Dec. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Most snow had vanished after a few days warm spell, but the prairie wind is always something to be reckoned with and although looking sunny and bright, temperatures hovered in the mid to high 20’s. But it was the light and shade and how it displayed itself on the buildings and within that caught my eye.

Seeing downtown Sioux City, Iowa from the town’s skywalk that overlooks city streets and connects various buildings helping residents avoid the cold and snow during the winter months, Dec. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing downtown Sioux City, Iowa from the town’s skywalk that overlooks city streets and connects various buildings helping residents avoid the cold and snow during the winter months, Dec. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Of course as one makes his/her way from one building to another, it’s always nice to have a sign post so you know you are headed in the right direction and didn’t lose your way through the hallways of various buildings. While it seems almost impossible to do, without that scarecrow standing on a post to help give directions, no matter how fickle, if you don’t use a path often it’s easy to take a wrong turn and end up one to two blocks aways from your destination. And while I believe in exercise, I hate being late and having to tell someone, yes, I did get lost in the skywalk. And then the laughing ensues.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing downtown Sioux City, Iowa from the town’s skywalk that overlooks city streets and connects various buildings helping residents avoid the cold and snow during the winter months, Dec. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing downtown Sioux City, Iowa from the town’s skywalk that overlooks city streets and connects various buildings helping residents avoid the cold and snow during the winter months, Dec. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing downtown Sioux City, Iowa from the town’s skywalk that overlooks city streets and connects various buildings helping residents avoid the cold and snow during the winter months, Dec. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Small Town away from Siouxland, Mt. Vernon

16 Oct

I enjoy the area of Siouxland in which I live. But it is nice to get out once in a while and visit other places outside of this region. Most places have similarities rather than differences. I enjoy the architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries when many of Iowa’s small communities came into being.

Downtown Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I stopped in at Mt. Vernon because of seeing some architecture along the roadway I was on, historic Rte. 30 or Lincoln Highway. A stretch of roadway that crossed the continental United States giving people with automobiles a chance to see as little or as much of the country without traveling by train. Many of these small communities still have stunning homes and businesses for buildings dating from the mid to late 1800’s. Mt Vernon came into being as a result of the U.S. battle with Chief Black Hawk who fled the area and the tribal lands were confiscated as was the case with many native people’s lands when the expansion west was underway.

A church near downtown Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Downtown Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The community is home to a liberal arts college which keeps it infused with younger people who come and go and possibly stay to raise their own families in a place they call home for at least four years. Quaint with a number of eateries downtown and a short walk from the college.

A mural on a downtown building’s wall in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Historic homes in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The community is extremely walkable and on a nice day it has places to visit and relax and enjoy. I am sure during an academic school year there are many events and other festivities taking place both in town and on the college campus. A nice combination for any community and the possibility to enjoy simple fruits of life in a picture perfect setting.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A city park just off of downtown Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A closed Mt. Vernon visitors center in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A doorway into Siouxland, Pisgah and Vermillion SD

16 Jul

An interesting doorway found in Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Doorways are funny things. They create first impressions much the same as when individuals meet new people. Some doorways are inviting and more impressive depending on the building attached to them. Doorways can create a status in life as it were, both public and private. And that depends on circumstances. Then again, too much can be read into doorways too.

Angles and shapes define a campus building at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Institutions, state and federal, need to maintain their buildings to a particular standard otherwise taxpayers will feel their tax dollars are not being utilized wisely, necessitating the construction of yet another building, because previous ones were not maintained.

Angles and shapes define a campus building at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

And sometimes older buildings find new life and purpose depending on who arrives and sees a use previously not encountered or possible earlier. And if such a use is successful it depends on whether or not people want to pass through a doorway to see what lies therein.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Mead Cultural Education Center, a former mental institution for women, now houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A grand marble staircase greets visitors as they enter the Mead Cultural Education Center, a former mental institution for women, which now houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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