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Fall Light and Using it in Siouxland, Rural Monona County

19 Oct

Fall is my favorite season of the year, like many others, and I will mention this over and over. One of the reasons I enjoy it so much besides the obvious (fall colors, cooler days), is the light. Light is what creates the photographs we as photographers take. And I like the quality of fall light. Direct, yet not as harsh as summer as the sun moves to a different angle with the earth ( I think). Nothing more needs to be said. Although, just because there is nice light doesn’t always mean our photographs are successful, but it sure is nice trying.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Some color appears in a corn field as fall comes slowly to rural Monona County, Iowa, part of the Sioux City Diocese, Sunday Oct.15, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Wild grasses glimmer in the afternoon sunlight as fall comes slowly to rural Monona County, Iowa, part of the Sioux City Diocese, Sunday Oct.15, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring with a “toy camera” in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

17 Oct

With the Fuji X series cameras that I use to photograph with I enjoy sometimes “playing” with some of the special features. Especially the “toy camera” feature. It is reminiscent to me of using a Holga plastic camera when I previously shot film. This setting augments reality and with some subjects add a little something to the image. At least I think so.

Pigeons take flight around a grain elevator in Vermillion, SD Saturday Sept. 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It creates a bit of a vignette and softens the image and sometimes adds a bit of color saturation. Walking around Vermillion where I have been numerous times I enjoy changing up the types of images I might capture. And sometimes I believe it depends on the type of day and weather with how this effect interacts with the subject in creating the image. I think one should always continue exploring how one sees and within limits and a budget limit if one needs too, how to photograph subjects and they sharing that different view with others.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing Butterflies in Siouxland, Sioux Falls, SD

15 Oct

I visited Sioux Falls, SD recently, a northern neighbor to Siouxland and quite the bustling metropolis. Always looking for something new to visit I found out about a butterfly house and aquarium marine cove hidden in a park. The Butterfly House and Aquarium was a bit of a delight. There are roughly 800 butterflies from Central and South America, Asia, Australia and Africa that fly freely about in the butterfly house which makes it an interesting walk about in the small enclosure.

A mom and her daughter check out a butterfly that landed on her are in the Butterfly House of the Butterfly House & Aquarium in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Roughly 800 butterflies from Central and South America, Asia, Australia and Africa fly freely within the Butterfly House of the Butterfly House & Aquarium in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The particular I went was not extremely warm so I personally didn’t find the temperature inside with the butterflies to be overly stifling due to high humidity which I assume these particular species of butterfly enjoy.

A small waterfall adds to the ambience in the Butterfly House at the Butterfly House & Aquarium in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Roughly 800 butterflies from Central and South America, Asia, Australia and Africa fly freely within the Butterfly House of the Butterfly House & Aquarium in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was fun to watch people’s reactions as the butterflies landed on one or swooped nearby chasing one another. One also had to be mindful of some small “button” quail a docent had told me also live there and brought in to deal with an ant problem.

The Butterfly House also has a few “button” quail, an Asian variety, a docent called them to help with an ant problem at the Butterfly House & Aquarium in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s fun to study nature up close that you know won’t readily hurt you and to watch these graceful creatures fly about their habitat.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Variations on a Theme in Siouxland, Sheldon

13 Oct

When I visited a community in Siouxland a couple of years ago I came across a farm homestead on the outskirts of Sheldon. I don’t know if it was still an active farm or if the land it once cultivated had been sold off for housing and the homestead was all that remains.

A farm homestead still within the city limits of Sheldon, Iowa, Thursday, August 6, 2015. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Having grown up on a farm I am always fascinated with the outbuildings or barns. Once I moved away from home on return visits I always did some photography of the buildings. They change over time and in my estimation gain a little character from the elements of the weather.

This homestead had nice buildings and provided a glimpse of what a farm earlier in the decade looked like. These days, metal buildings are more the norm probably because of cost effectiveness. But the large metal structures take away the charm of a farm.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Taking a Drive in Siouxland, Cherokee County

11 Oct

Whenever I can I just like driving around the Siouxland area exploring and crisscrossing places I have previously been. And on those days following a storm I find it all the more fascinating as the light play can sometimes become incredible to see and photograph.

A summer scenic in rural Cherokee County, Iowa, Wednesday, August 19, 2015. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©

I like strong light filtering through clouds or lighting objects with a darker, stormy sky behind them. It has intensity and creates a bit of drama.

A summer scenic in rural Cherokee County, Iowa, Wednesday, August 19, 2015. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©

 

A stormy day scenic in rural Cherokee County, Iowa, Wednesday, August 19, 2015. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©

And as I tell people that attend my photo classes through a Lifelong Learning program at the local community college, what’s a better way to spend a day than taking photographs.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Crowing about the Scarecrow Festival in Siouxland, Akron

9 Oct

I made my first visit to the Akron Scarecrow Festival this year. I am always amazed at finding new events and places to check out in Siouxland. A family-friendly event with some art booths and food and a competition with the best Scarecrow figure.

A scarecrow helps hold up a tree in the park at the 17th annual Scarecrow Festival in Akron, Iowa Saturday Sept. 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visitors could wander around and vote on their favorite one to help judges select an overall winner and runners-up.

Scarecrows of various kinds adorned the park at the 17th annual Scarecrow Festival in Akron, Iowa Saturday Sept. 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always fun to see community’s supporting their own events and enjoying the end of one season and the beginning of another. Although I hope Christmas is a way off yet.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Celebrating Fall Harvest in Siouxland at the Heritage Village, Sioux Center

7 Oct

An annual event in Sioux Center is the Heritage Village Harvest Festival that celebrates early pioneer life in Siouxland. The Friday of that particular weekend local schools generally bring some of their school children to visit to see what life was like one or even two centuries ago without the modern convenience of grocery stores or indoor plumbing.

School children try their hand at pumping water during the Heritage Village Harvest Festival in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday Sept. 15, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Heritage Village volunteer Dave Schelhaas gets a young volunteer to help dig potatoes in the garden during Harvest Festival in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday Sept. 15, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Volunteers dress up in period outfits and help to explain to the children and visitors alike the types of life and “appliances” previously used by settlers who first arrived in the immediate area in which the children live and the kind of life they encountered.

Visitors wait their turn to look inside a small sod house which was a normal dwelling during early pioneer days during the Heritage Village Harvest Festival in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday Sept. 15, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Heritage Village volunteer Gloria Hoekstra shows young students from a local school how butter is made during Harvest Festival in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday Sept. 15, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Children are rightfully amazed at how people lived decades ago and how much progress has been made. So many, even living within an agricultural area such as Iowa, have never been to a farm and their parents probably don’t have a garden. So a little dose of history and the understanding of so many things we take for granted today is beneficial to them and other visitors too. When I hear of people talking about “simpler” times I must consciously keep from rolling my eyes and asking which times? Before air conditioning or after it. And for whom. Not all people enjoyed the benefits of progress as they were first introduced and so I wonder how much simpler times were then.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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