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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©)

Venturing out into Siouxland, rural Sioux County

12 Jun

Venturing out in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the state of Iowa slowly opens amid the coronavirus so does areas of Siouxland. Although some areas, like parks were never really closed, it hasn’t been until recently that nature is dressing its season, such as spring with summer hot on its heels if one consider recent over the top temperatures the region has recently endured.

Making a trip back to Oak Grove Park to which I have traveled a few times, mostly during the fall. It’s a nice park, but it was nicer still to get outside and enjoy nature and take a walk, much to the chagrin of friends who know I like to walk about when photographing an area.

Venturing out in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Venturing out in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The sun this day was high overhead filling a blue sky and its light created deep shadows in areas with trees which made it fun and challenging to photograph.

Light and shade brings out details on a rail fence in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bee seeks pollen from a flowering bush in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes photographing detail is easier in harsh light helping the sculpt and shape the image so the subject matter stands out. Then again, a light and airy approach can also be effective depending on what the photographer wants a viewer to concentrate on. Perspective and mystery can make an interesting photograph. Then again maybe not.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Forested acres in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Light and Shadow in Siouxland, Hitchcock Nature Center

7 May

Light and shade pattern created by the sun on a deck at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Venturing out in Siouxland these days and weeks and probably months is a challenge to see creatively and differently. Previously not as many people ventured out and it then becomes a chance for a photographer to see what images might come to mind while wandering about. As the days get warmer and countryside greener that will be a big help. Backroads to get lost on and Loess Hills to drive about in.

But for the interim I still like playing with light and shadow. Sunny days are helpful and am looking forward to a few more of those as spring warms up.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and Shade pattern created by the sun on a deck at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (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

Fading Light in Siouxland, Sioux City

23 Apr

Old Glory, lit by a setting sun, flies in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Watching the sun set has always been a delightful past time in Siouxland. Those days when the sky lights up with radiant light and clouds the sky filling with color. But then some days it is just a soft light that emanates from the sky infusing objects with a glow-like look that lasts only fleetingly until it disappears into night.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying the Light in Siouxland, Harrison County

19 Apr

The setting sun is seen through a tunnel on DeSoto Rd. near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As a photographer I enjoy watching light. Whether I have a camera in hand or not. But preferably if out and about in Siouxland I want one for those moments I would like to capture. Recently I tried to photograph the setting sun along with a friend whose work I think outdid mine in this circumstance. He was interested in this tunnel created by a former railroad line and for the most part, the time of year helped bring the setting sun almost into alignment with the road passing through the tunnel.

The setting sun will eventually shine through this tunnel on DeSoto Rd. near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The setting sun is seen through a tunnel on DeSoto Rd. near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I did not do a good job handling the wide dynamic range created with the setting sun and the area around the tunnel that fell into shade. It also didn’t help that it was only 25 degrees out and cold. Patience was the last thing on my mind as the warmth of the sun evaporated and night fell. But the process of capturing a unique image was still invaluable. My friend used science and a sunset forecast to determine when might be an appropriate time to photograph the scene. And it was helpful that on this particular ay the weather cooperated and passing rain and snow showers took a day off.

The setting sun will shine through this tunnel on DeSoto Rd. near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The setting sun shines through a tunnel on DeSoto Rd. near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoy the play of light. And sunrises and sunsets add much to circumstances in creating a dynamic image. Although it can feel like a slow process, waiting for the sun to set and staying warm at the same time. But in the end the result always makes the effort worth it. Even if one isn’t particularly happy with the resulting image, it was still fun to attempt and see if the final result would be a stunning image or a memory of a nice day out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The setting sun is seen through a tunnel on DeSoto Rd. near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The setting sun is seen through a tunnel on DeSoto Rd. near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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©)

Sun Shine in Siouxland, Sioux Falls, SD

5 Apr

Sunlight creates a pattern on the sidewalk at Sioux Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoy the use of light and shade when making photographs as I drive about Siouxland. Although lately, the spring showers have arrived and sunshine has been in short order. Many times the shapes and forms are there, sometimes literally under foot, and one only has to look down with intention to realize what is there.

Sunlight creates a pattern on the sidewalk at Sioux Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Simple is good, but awareness is helpful. Hoping more sunshine shows up sooner than later to brighten days and spirits.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sunlight creates a pattern on the sidewalk at Sioux Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, March 4, 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©)

Springing Forward in Siouxland, rural Woodbury County

8 Mar

The sun sets behind a hillside in rural Woodbury County near Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As daylight savings time kicks in here in Siouxland and elsewhere in the U.S., I will have to stay out a little later to capture a sunset, or earlier for that sunrise. Once the last of winter moves on and the temperature stays in the 50’s or higher, it will be more pleasant shooting either time of day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The sun sets behind a hillside in rural Woodbury County near Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The sun sets behind a hillside in rural Woodbury County near Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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