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Blooming in Siouxland, Sioux City

27 Jul

A blooming Iris in a backyard garden in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, May 31, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While I appreciate beautiful gardens and such when I come upon them in and around Siouxland, I myself do not possess the green thumb. In the spring I have a few flowers that bloom if the weather cooperates and that changes from year to year. Too cold and dry a spring, maybe tulips, maybe not. Other flowering species might follow but not always, or as much as I might like to think.

Flowers bloom along with a flowering Lilac bush in a backyard garden in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, May 31, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Gardening is a talent unto itself and the knowledge of choosing the correct plants and nurturing them to produce those blooms is a skill that takes practice. Personally, I like bushes as they take up more space in the yard which might mean less mowing and more places for my feathered friends to hide in as they flit to and from feeders. And then I always think there is always next year and maybe a better weather year for producing flowers.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A blooming Iris in a backyard garden in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, May 31, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spring into Summer in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

1 Jul

Flowers are blooming at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s been a while since I ventured out of Siouxland “proper” to visit surrounding attractions like zoos and gardens and other places south or north. Gas prices are a bit of a hindrance for driving distances these days. When I last visited the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE I had missed the blooming of the field of thousands of daffodils but did see some peonies. The area had a tremendous storm a week or two ago with a lot of hail. I can not imagine what effect if any the storm had on the gardens. But it is always a nice place to escape to and be greets with the seasonal varieties that gardens have to offer.

Flowers are blooming at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People wander the grounds checking the new blooms at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Flowering trees are blooming at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One always feels invited to sit a spell and watch and listen. Previous trips down to the Omaha area in similarly hot spells one can always find some shade along the paths of the garden areas to cool off and enjoy what is in season. Photographically I always try to find something different depending on when I am there and what I see. And just to ponder and know that my yard and small garden will never attain such a look. Mostly because I am an occasional gardener and lazy. I don’t mind plucking weeds, but I would rather be out photographing than making my yard appear as a House Beautiful ad. It currently works for the visiting birds and that works for me.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Flowering trees are blooming at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Flowers are blooming at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People wander the grounds checking the new blooms at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spring was here in Siouxland, really. Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

7 Jun

Flowers are blooming at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With the wacky weather found in Siouxland and throughout the country, sometimes I wonder what particular season I am in. I believe spring stopped by here and then thought the seasons had jumped to summer, only to return to spring a couple days later. And while attending an event in Omaha I stopped by the Lauritzen Gardens where I felt certainly that spring had arrived.

People wander the grounds checking the new blooms at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Flowers are blooming at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I believe I arrived a little late, again, to see a field full of a million or more daffodils if one believes the signage. I did find telltale signs that the flowers were there. And a helpful garden “gardener” pointed out some other spots to check out while walking about the acreage so I could see a bit of spring, if not in my immediate area near home.

Daffodils are past their prime but other blooms are occurring at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
People wander the grounds checking the new blooms at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Flowers are blooming at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even though it is a garden maintained for the purpose of area folk coming for visits, I admire the care and planning and execution of the variety of plants, flowering throughout the seasons, well except winter, outside that is. My green thumbs wilted and moved on years ago. So I appreciate the hard work and skill and care that creates this bit of a quiet haven within a city.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Flowering trees are blooming at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Flowering trees are blooming at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Anticipating Spring in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

10 Apr
A barren winter’s look at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

For some reason, this winter feels like it has lasted a long time in Siouxland. I know that probably isn’t true, but sometimes the slow march of time makes it feel that way. With unusually warmer days than normal, am guessing myself and others were spoiled a bit and the anticipation of warmer days lasting more than one or two and again some green scenery is palpable.

Renovation work is underway seen on a barren winter’s day at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Renovation work is underway seen on a barren winter’s day at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Turkeys have the grounds to themselves of a barren winter’s look at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I look forward to returning to some favorite haunts and seeing how they have or have not changed. Lauritizen Gardens is one such place and the flowers in spring and early summer are a delight to behold.

I enjoy visiting places “off season” as it’s nice to see a contrast from what one would normally expect, especially at the Gardens as it’s generally “dressed up” and looking nice. And it looks like some changes are also underway so I look forward to seeing what transpires and as I understand it a rearrangement of assets will make it a better environment for the patrons’ visiting experience. Progress is just that. Good, bad, indifferent, everyone has their own take. Change is constant, and beauty is in the eye of the individual beholder.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A barren winter’s look at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Renovation work is underway seen on a barren winter’s day at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Turkeys have the grounds to themselves of a barren winter’s look at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Light in Siouxland, Latham Park, Sioux City

20 Oct
Various plants decorate Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, August 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when out roaming about Siouxland I just enjoy seeing the light. How it interacts with various subjects and and the surrounding environ. No agenda in photographing anything specific, just “seeing the light”. Life should sometimes be so simple. And the fleeting months of fall I find the light bright, but not over powering because of the angle of the sun and its intense, but still muted. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to some people I talk with, but after a while, if one watches and looks and sees, it eventually becomes clearer.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sunlight backlights a plant and details its vein structure seen at Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, August 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hanging out on a Summer’s Evening in Siouxland, Latham Park, Sioux City

6 Oct
A common sparrow greets a visitor at an entrance to Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, August 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A quiet little park area in Sioux City attracts all sorts who on a quiet Sunday evening in Siouxland like to hang out and enjoy some of summer’s last or waning days. Meeting some friends for a bit of a picnic lunch before fall really revs up I got there early to find some other locals enjoying the park as well and a quiet summer’s eve.

A fountain area at Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, August 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two common house sparrows looking for some water in the fountain at Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, August 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There was plenty of bird song emanating from the surrounding bushes and trees that filled the air even as some of the little creatures had some problems finding a good spot from which to sing. But that happens to all of us at one time or another.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A house sparrow enjoys a quiet sunset at Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, August 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Oops, some landings in the bush are more graceful than others and interrupts a quiet setting sun moment for another house sparrow at Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, August 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Geometric Lines in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

16 Jul
Geometric shadow lines at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when visiting places in and around Siouxland I default to shooting in B&W. It’s what I started with and used for photography, personal and professionally for many years. Even though scenes are in color, unless one is color blind, I see some scenes in black and white. And it took a while to understand the color of objects and how each color or variation there of was rendered in a shade of grey.

Light and shadows at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And depending on the subject one might also be able to utilize whatever texture is found in the scene to add one more visual element. Black and white can create a simplicity when photographing. Geometric lines and shapes, tonality, gradations. The use of Ansel Adams Zone System. Ten steps of gradation from black without detail to white without detail. At least that was how I was taught. Something though I haven’t critically thought about in a decade or two, but still aware of it and it figures into my thought process when shooting and working on black and white images.

Geometric shadow lines at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Then one can let the imagination take over and pursue visual imagery that engages oneself, focusing only on capturing what will translate the what is seen. Then photography becomes fun.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shadows at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Mary Poppins Proud in Siouxland, Laurtizen Gardens, Omaha, NE

27 May
Umbrellas on display at a garden exhibit at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting various places in and around Siouxland I always delight in fantastical exhibits and the imagination and inspiration of folk who create these exhibits. Seeing a recent one at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE I could only imagine that Mary Poppins would be proud, and most certainly I and others would have been delighted had she dropped in for a “spot of tea” and a song. But maybe that is my imagination running away with me, as a lyric to some now forgotten song plays in my head. Still, exhibits should elicit responses from those seeing them and enjoy them for what they are and represent.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Ethereal in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

7 May
An exhibit using symbols at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When visiting places in and near Siouxland I always try to find a different way of viewing something I might previously have seen. Shooting photographs in color is different from shooting them in black and white. Color most times influences what a viewer sees, but in black and white one can uses shapes and light, light and shade, to influence what the viewer sees.

Shapes and lines at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A child follows the path at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Black and white photography can sometimes be a bit more stark and strips away elements that don’t really add to the image but just happens to be there. Placement and use of light and dark shapes the images and maybe a viewer’s impression.

Good, bad or indifferent, it’s good to stretch beyond how one normally sees. Creating images that don’t necessarily fall into a way of seeing that one might consider.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Shapes and lines at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A mystical view during an exhibit of symbols at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Light and Shade in Siouxland, Laurtizen Gardens, Omaha, NE

27 Apr
Light and shadows at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When visiting places while out and about in Siouxland or nearby locales, I try to stay conscious of imagery and look for those scenes that I think might look sweet in black and white as well as in color. Although maybe not the same scene. And not matter where I might venture, there is always an opportunity awaiting if one stays aware or open to seeing such.

Light and shadows at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Light and shadows at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Windows always provide the best opportunities on sunny days. I really prefer clean and little cluttered scenes, but sometimes one doesn’t have a choice. Then you must be choosey and see if something you see in color will translate well enough into black and white. Mysterious is also good. But everyone has their own way seeing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shadows at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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