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Enjoying the Fall Season in Siouxland, Lewis and Clark State Park, Onawa

21 Oct
The look of fall at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Smoke from the western states wildfires has begun to clear in the Siouxland area and fall color pops a bit more while taking photographs. I like others am getting out enjoying it while it lasts. One never knows when a heavy rain and wind storm will come through depositing shimmering gold leaves into a pile on the ground. Where all that glitters turns to a rust color of dried and decaying leaves.

The look of fall at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The look of fall at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Lewis and Clark State Park offers some nice color and with clearer skies the leaves fairly sparkled in the sunlight. Weather prognosticators are calling for colder temperatures coming to the area and some strong winds as the temps begin to drop. Not good sign for folk wanting to enjoy a few fall days of leaf peeping. Some have predicted a rain/snow shower forecast for the coming days. too soon for such a wacky year by my estimation.

So enjoying the days now is important as tomorrow brings something different.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The look of fall at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Changes in Siouxland, Linn Grove

19 Oct
Water is no longer running over a dam in Linn Grove, Iowa Tuesday, September 22, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes in revisiting places one can find changes that are surprising. ON a recent trip to Linn Grove where a small dam was fairly active a couple years ago, the water has stopped running. Partially due to a drought for the area and also because of spring storms a year ago where the small river the dam was situated on cut itself a new channel because of the intense spring storms and rainfall. Feast and famine.

Spring storms cut a new channel diverting water running over a dam in Linn Grove, Iowa Tuesday, September 22, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Water is no longer running over a dam in Linn Grove, Iowa Tuesday, September 22, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

You can no longer even drive down to an area where people would fish along the dam and the drought has shrunken the small pond where I guess a variety of fish would hang out, unsuspectedly becoming someone’s meal at a later time.

Mother Nature can be awesome in her fury. It must have been a sight seeing the water rushing during the spring storms, but sad where you realized there would be extensive damage done. Talking to a local person while there they mentioned local officials were trying to determine how to finance the damage, which in this day and age the local person said could amount to millions of dollars.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Water is no longer running over a dam in Linn Grove, Iowa Tuesday, September 22, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Refuge in Siouxland, Scatter Joy Acres, Omaha, NE

17 Oct
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This fall I came across a small petting zoo located in a quiet neighborhood outside Siouxland in Omaha, NE. Scatter Joy Acres is a place where people can go and on a much smaller scale than the other local zoo in Omaha see animals and sometimes interact with them.

There are a variety of animals and it seems a very family friendly venue as families roamed the grounds waiting for an event to start just checking out the various animals on the grounds.

Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring and finding new places to check out is always fun and the joy of traveling even if that means driving an hour away. Hidden gems to a visitor not familiar with the area. Sometimes these are overlooked because one is a visitor, but then that just means more exploring closer to home and a chance to spend more time on the ground looking than driving or flying.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Color in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

15 Oct
Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Sept. 28, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I don’t often utilize the filters that are available these days in most digital cameras or apps for phone cameras. But there are interesting effects one can achieve and utilize to either dramatize or bring attention to an image. And the filters these days are pretty amazing and seamless for any level of photographer from beginner to those with more advanced knowledge and skill.

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Sept. 28, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

From my standpoint I just think the filters are fun. I utilize a miniature effect filter that mimics using using a swing on a large format camera of which I previously photographed with and found helpful in in bringing a viewer’s eye to a certain area of a photograph. Sometimes more effective than using shallow depth of field.

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Sept. 28, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This time I used a selective color filter. At one point in my photo career I did color tint black and white photos with oils or colored watercolor pencils depending on the paper the image was printed on. Fine brushes and deft dexterity was needed in being precise. Now it’s done with software. Painlessly and in nano seconds. I am not complaining, I like the results, but it’s a far cry from the skill needed to create a tinted photo in years past. Patience, a steady hand and magnifying glass for some close up work. It was a real skill.

These days it is more imagination and with digital, if you at first don’t succeed, delete and try again. In days past it was toss out the “ruined” print, make another and try again. Slowly, slowly to achieve the affect one wanted.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Sept. 28, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Play of Light in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

13 Oct
Enjoying the light play at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On matter where in Siouxland I find myself walking about, I enjoy the play of light on objects, scenes, or whatever. It’s the interconnectedness of lights and shadows that create images. Seen in only B&W it becomes more apparent, dramatic even. But that interplay creates images that draw attention. Beyond that though there needs to be something about the image that keeps a person’s viewing attention.

Enjoying the light play at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some images work better than others and one can only continue exploring and trying and creating and working to make images he/she believes have merit.

And then continue walking about and enjoying the moments and time spent exploring.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying the light play at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Walk in Siouxland, Preparation Canyon State Forest, Rural Monona County

11 Oct
A couple takes a selfie along a trail in Preparation Canyon State Forest enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall in Siouxland, like elsewhere, is just a nice time to get out and enjoy nature and what’s available. Like many places this year, the colors are a bit muted with western wildfire smoke and haze and from a drought that still continues for western Iowa as rainfall is almost 10 inches shy of normal according to some meteorologists.

A couple finish their hike along a trail in Preparation Canyon State Forest enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A couple check out the history from an information display about Preparation Canyon State Forest enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Preparation Canyon State Forest is a nice place to visit and hike as trails through the woodlands/prairie area. The trails are fairly easy to navigate but become narrow in places so care should be taken. I always enjoy the view from an observation deck on those days I don’t feel like a taking a walk. I had been cruising about the Loess Hills area looking for what fall color I could find. Most of it in yellows and lighter shades of green. Without the extra moisture and no profound cold snap yet, although there have been some cool nights, colors may not be forthcoming this year.

A man walks his dog along a trail at Preparation Canyon State Forest enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Two men check out Preparation Canyon State Forest while enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With possibly some cooler days ahead, and maybe rain, the time for enjoying the changing leaves on trees could be short lived. With such a wacky year already, I guess fall could be just as wacky. I was kind of hoping though that it might be a long, slow one to give folk time to enjoy some more outdoor time before the blast of winter arrives and keeping folk indoors.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Revisiting Joslyn Castle near Siouxland, Omaha, NE

9 Oct

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa, a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Making a return trip to see a place in another season is always fun. Places look different at different times of the year especially without white stuff on the ground. The Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE is a good excuse to get outside of Siouxland and do a road trip south. The grounds were nice to visit and the interior of the historic home this time was not decorated for the Christmas season and exuded another look in a way.

A docent shows off original tile work of the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa, a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903.Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa, a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Timbers in the ceiling of the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020, Omaha, NE a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903.

The couple who built the home had material shipped in from around the world, the man having created a printing empire where he sold completed inserts into smaller surrounding communities’ newspapers with features and other world news not always available to small town papers. And in those days every small town had at least one newspaper, and larger communities sometimes had 2 or 3 newspapers, both morning and afternoon editions.

George and Sarah Joslyn rode their horses on their small estate, the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Omaha, NE and lived in a a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A photograph of the former glory of a dining room in the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020, Omaha, NE a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
The dining room in the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020, Omaha, NE a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020, Omaha, NE a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Care was taken in the details of the home with timber shipped in from a specific region of Russia, other material from Italy and also Scotland.

The home didn’t suffer from conveniences either as it had “running” water and even electricity along with gas lamps should there be a power outage.

Great care was given to the details in furnishing the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020, Omaha, NE a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Gas fixtures and electricity were both available to the original owners of the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Omaha, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A sitting room in the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020, Omaha, NE a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903.

At this time the Joslyn’s lived on the western edge of Omaha beyond which was prairie, which has since long disappeared as the community grew to become the small/larger city it now is.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A detail of a wall mounted lamp at the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020, Omaha, NE a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall Slowly Makes it Way to Siouxland, Oak Grove Park, Hawarden

7 Oct

Even though officially by calendar that fall has arrived here in Siouxland and elsewhere, the colors of the season are slow in coming. Partially due to drought conditions with a lack of rain and a weird climate episode going on with a lot of smoke reaching the area from the western wildfires that are engulfing millions of acres of forest.

Colors are slowly appearing at Oak Grove Park in Sioux County near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A recent trip to a park north had some nice colors developing on the trees, but the smoky, hazy atmosphere somewhat downplayed that “fall look” which a blue sky might have enhanced. Like many folk, I enjoy fall for the cooler temps and seasonal color and other aspects of this time of year.

Colors are slowly appearing at Oak Grove Park in Sioux County near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Knowing full well what comes next which will be pleasant for a while, but not if winter drags on with temperatures constantly below 5 and 10 degrees with wind chills that makes it feel more like -0. No matter how much one enjoys getting out of doors, those days make me more likely to brew more coffee, grab a book and stay toasty as I count the days.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Colors are slowly appearing at Oak Grove Park in Sioux County near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Day in Siouxland, Sioux City

5 Oct
Little One deciding about a nap in Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days are for getting things done, even in Siouxland, and then some days are for just kicking back and relaxing. I find it tough to decide when I know I should get busy and do some work, but then find a feline friend taking a more casual approach to life.

Little One taking a nap in Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And maybe he’s right, every now and again one should take the day off and just enjoy the moment, even if it involved a little snoozing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Performance Art Mezmerises in Siouxland, Sioux City

3 Oct

Performance artist Kelsey Karnival works with a couple of hoops as a young girl watches intensely during the Alley Art Festival in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes in life an occurrence happens in a person’s life that may have a profound influence and unbeknownst to them guides them on a path later in life. During a festival in Siouxland recently a young girl stood transfixed as she watches a performance artist dance with a couple of hoola hoops. The young lass stared intensely hardly ever moving her eyes until seeing the dancer so a particular move then looked at her mother to see if she saw.

Performance artist Kelsey Karnival works with a couple of hoops as a young girl looks back at her mother during the Alley Art Festival in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Performance artist Kelsey Karnival works with a couple of hoops as a young girl watches intensely during the Alley Art Festival in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I remember as a young child looking at a particular Sunday edition of a Chicago newspaper, transfixed by a page or two of feature images that appeared every week. I can remember sitting in a room in my parent’s house just looking over the images. I can’t remember why I was fascinated or how that fascination came about. But sometimes these unexplained occurrences manifests the results later in life, a necessary spark to start one down a particular road.

I have spent a lifetime photographing events and people for a variety of newspapers I previously worked for, and continue while finding images for this blog. The intensity of sole purpose of the young girl standing so still, watching the street performer makes me speculate that somewhere and sometime in the future seeing this person perform gracefully and appearing to enjoy her work might influence this young lass to pursue her dreams and find a way to fulfill a desire to create, no matter the art form or platform through which she gives voice to a future talent.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Performance artist Kelsey Karnival works with a couple of hoops as a young girl watches intensely during the Alley Art Festival in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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