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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©)

Light and Shade in Siouxland, Omaha, NE Riverfront

10 Jul

I tell friends that when I am out shooting in Siouxland or anywhere I am terrible when it comes to clouds. I love clouds. And inevitably shoot a lot of scenes with clouds in them. But I also love light and shade photos. I shoot a lot of these as well. When traveling about and visiting places my eye travels to where the light makes an impression. It generally does so in contrast with shade.

The lagoon near Old Market in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently while visiting Omaha, NE I walked down to the lagoon area that eventually connects with the riverfront down there. I was meeting a friend for some dinner in Old Market and had some time to kill and decided a walk to the lagoon area would only help my appetite. I don’t generally think about shooting in themes. Well, actually, I do at times, but this day I spent most of my time at the Henry Doorly Zoo and had walked nearly three hours and my mind was a bit hazed. Then I saw the shadows.

Light and shade images at the lagoon near Old Market in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Nothing stellar, but still appealing to my eye and I always find that practice makes perfect. And I had quite the appetite when I returned to the Old Market for dinner. That was a bonus.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shade images down by the lagoon near Old Market in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing “Outside the Box” in Siouxland, Orange City

28 Jun

Flags are displayed along a downtown street for Memorial Day in Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

The one aspect of photography I enjoy is the creativity it allows its practitioners to pursue no matter what their subject preference to photograph. And even though subject matter is limitless, it’s what a photographer retains within the frame that makes or breaks the image and whether other individuals can relate to the image when viewing it.

I enjoy photographing in the square format. It’s a bit challenging to fill the frame with the required elements to make an image stand out. The dimensions do not always accommodate all subject matter. And since medium format film cameras are not widely used anymore, this style of photography has somewhat fallen out of view and practice.

Storefronts in Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

I find the format helpful especially when working with lines and angles. There are already four right angles creating the square image which hopefully reinforces what is contained within.

A light post peeks out front a row of trees near a park in Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

But maybe I am trying to hard to create something that isn’t there, but then, maybe that is the purpose. The execution of an idea is possibly a more important aspect of art, whether or not the actual art or resulting image is successful. But the feeling of something being successful helps propel the artist to continue making art and pushing boundaries (mostly their own) to experiment and create something different, new (maybe to themselves) and to keep trying. Perfecting a way of seeing and accomplishing a goal they may only vaguely understand themselves. Ah, that age old dilemma, is it the chicken or the egg that came first?

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A welcome sign to visitors on a shop downtown in Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

Community Parks in Siouxland, Bulow Park, Beresford, SD

26 Jun

When visiting various communities throughout Siouxland I always enjoy stopping by the parks. This one in Beresford, SD I would have missed except for a student calling me to see if I was coming by to check it out after a Photo Safari class had ended.

A stone wall greets visitors as they enter Bulow Park dedicated in 1959 in honor of William John Bulow, a founding father born in 1869 who served a few terms as mayor and as the city attorney in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Many of the parks built years or decades ago have a character to them that really isn’t seen these days. Maybe because the style of architecture or cost and available supplies have increased too much. Or possibly there isn'[t the community support to create such havens for its local residents that these green gems are a safe harbor to get away from the day to day and enjoy nature and quiet in such places as Bulow Park.

Stone steps lead to a small amphitheatre space in Bulow Park was dedicated in 1959 in honor of William John Bulow, a founding father born in 1869 who served a few terms as mayor and as the city attorney in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Stonework in Bulow Park which was dedicated in 1959 in honor of William John Bulow, a founding father born in 1869 who served a few terms as mayor and as the city attorney in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoyed the architecture immensely and know when the trees and bushes are in full bloom during summer it must be an awfully nice place for picnics and quiets getaways, well, except for the kids playing at the ball diamond next door. But it’s summer, and that kind of activity is expected and adds to ambience of summer time in the park.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Stonework in Bulow Park was dedicated in 1959 in honor of William John Bulow, a founding father born in 1869 who served a few terms as mayor and as the city attorney in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Light and Shadow in Siouxland, Yankton, SD

10 Jun

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©)

I always enjoy a good light and shadow display no matter how fleeting or seemingly impossible it might appear to be. The interplay and ying and yang of the two opposites can create interesting images and on especially sunny days, the possibilities are endless.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Mead Cultural Education Center is undergoing a restoration before competing exhibits of the Dakota Territorial Museum and other historical artifacts under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The exterior of the Mead Cultural Education Center is graced with many columns that adorned architecture of the period. It formerly was a mental institution for women and now houses area historical content and 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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