Archive | light and shadow RSS feed for this section

215 in Siouxland, Council Bluffs

12 Dec
A scene in historic downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A friend recently talked about becoming a more minimalist photographer, eschewing the trappings of doing a lot of post processing work he has recently seen where people are replacing skies and moving objects around and creating images with a lot of computer work rather than just photographing.

I think those two schools of thoughts have been around for a long time. Creating something after the fact with various images brings to mind the photographer Jerry Uelesmann as opposed to someone like Henri Cartier-Bresson who shot street scenes or Lee Friedlander and Josef Koudelka.

Everyone has a vision. And sometimes that vision may drift from one genre to another and back again. In the end though, the images made are something of meaning to the photographer who is spending the time seeing and “creating” a world view to share with others.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and Shade in Siouxland, Le Mars and Omaha, NE

8 Dec
Light and shade at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I will sometimes have students in class through the Lifelong Learning program at Western Iowa Tech tell me that they couldn’t find subjects to photograph or that the weather was not cooperating. Photography is a perfect example of the adage of making lemonade out of lemons.

Even in Siouxland one sometimes has to shift gears and think differently about subject matter to photograph. I find reverting back to shooting black and images helpful because seeing becomes more fundamental, reduced to lights and darks, lines, shapes and angles. Color or lack or too much of it doesn’t matter. Weather though can have an impact if one is looking to create certain images. Strong light is a must, but a person must take the time to see a bit differently and maybe more abstractly than when shooting in color.

Light and shade in Le Mars, Iowa Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Light and shade at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When photographing in black and white it’s all about shades of grey. For me it’s less grey and more strident blacks and whites. But one does what one can with what’s available. And even in today’s digital age there are the tools available to create decent black and white images. I believe it’s more in the seeing, of possibilities, than what is before you. I began my career photographing for newspapers shooting Kodak’s famous Tri-X film. In the vernacular of the day it was “f/8 and be there” which I heard from more than one newspaper photographer. At an ISO of 400, Tri-X was a moderately fast film and shooting outdoors in daylight one generally was at f/8 at 1/2000 on a sunny day. Shadows were a major concern because in the day fill flash didn’t have hypersync capabilities and the old Nikon F camera’s only flash synced at 1/60th of a second or slower.

Light and shade in Le Mars, Iowa Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Light and shade at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So one became very conscious of how light and shade affected subjects be they people, buildings, landscapes or whatever. I still really enjoy black and white, but am happy to shoot color. Each has its place. Photographing fall foliage and Christmas lights is so much nicer, as are fireworks. But black and white can still be very effective and rewarding. One just needs to look for it and see it in this world of color.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shade at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Light in Siouxland, rural Iowa

12 Nov
The sun sets behind a hill at the Missouri Valley Welcome Center outside of Missouri Valley, Iowa Monday Oct. 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy watching light when I am out photographing in Siouxland and elsewhere. I should get out more this fall as recently a couple of nice sunsets materialized late afternoon within the last few days. But sometimes it just doesn’t work out.

But I enjoy watching how light interacts with its surroundings. And at times it is challenging to capture what I see and make it understood by a viewer.

Insects fly about in late afternoon sun at the Missouri Valley Welcome Center outside of Missouri Valley, Iowa Monday Oct. 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And when doing this one hopes that the subject one is photographing isn’t going to bite the photographer. I found shooting the insects above that I needed to get into the shade out of the late afternoon sun for them to leave me alone. The too must sense fall’s waning warm days and cooler temperatures coming.

The subjects will still be there and creating interesting opportunities to photograph them. It just depends on whether or not I want to bundle up to do it. Time will tell.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An afternoon sun creates strong shadows while visiting the De Soto Bend National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Monday Oct. 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Halloween in Siouxland, Decatur, NE

31 Oct
The sun illuminates a cemetery in Decatur, NE creating silhouettes of grave markers Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It seems on Halloween cemeteries always get a bad rap. Horror movies have made them front and center for decades with scary scenarios involving them.

On a recent trip in Siouxland to Decature, NE, a setting sun creates a light play with the grave markers, illuminating the countryside around the hallowed ground. Rather than make the place spooky, it created a quiet solitude of peace. Something all souls look for when reaching that final stage while journeying to the next destination.

The sun illuminates the countryside as it begins to set behind a cemetery in Decatur, NE creating silhouettes of grave markers Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular plot of land sits on a hillside as many country cemeteries do, overlooking the community and surrounding area. Many of the markers have dates reaching back into the 19th century. A place of rest for early pioneers to the area. A place where they can rest and enjoy the area they traveled to to call home and begin a new life when the country was expanding west.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A setting sun near a cemetery in Decatur, NE silhouettes grave markers Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Waiting for Halloween in Siouxland, Durham Museum, Omaha, NE

29 Oct
The Durham Museum decked out for Halloween in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Halloween in Siouxland like many holidays has taken on a life of its own and gives people a chance to enjoy a day guilt free. Visiting the Durham Museum recently which is located in Omaha, NE, the museum was decked out in anticipation of the yearly event.

The Durham Museum decked out with various scary scenarios for Halloween in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
The Durham Museum decked out for Halloween in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Ghouls, ghosts and skeletons were found in various places throughout. And on occasion some guests added to the atmosphere for a spook festival that occurs Oct. 31. It’s always fun to see how places celebrate holidays and the Durham didn’t disappoint.

The Durham Museum decked out for Halloween in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A visitor makes a nice apparition while checking out an exhibit at the Durham Museum which is decked out for Halloween in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And while the adults didn’t get to indulge, there were goody bags for the kids, always in my humble opinion one of the best aspects of Halloween as a child. Candy may not settle the stomach after a good scare, but it doesn’t hurt either.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Shadows of strangers seen during a visit to the Durham Museum which is decked out for Halloween in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 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©)

Visiting a Museum near Siouxland and missing the Exhibits, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE

29 Sep

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s a silly thought but sometimes when visiting museums and other attractions in and around Siouxland I miss seeing the attraction. That happens when one becomes too focused on photographing something, anything and not taking a moment to enjoy what is in front of one.

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The architecture of the Joslyn Art Museum is fascinating and the light play inside and out is a feast for visual people as are the works hanging in the museum. I did walk through a current traveling exhibit exploring visuals in today’s society. How some of the visuals are contrived to reflect what may naturally be there but set up, indistinguishable from actuality. It was thought provoking and fascinating. Not the first time, and with today’s political scene, not the last where someone will take images, still or moving, and try to create a narrative, generally false, to make a point or to attack someone or some thing because they don’t agree or approve. Sad.

But once through viewing the exhibit I walked around various galleries I have seen previously still enjoying the permanent collection of art and trying to create my own imagery within the confines.

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I will return again and try to be conscious the next time of stopping, maybe sitting, and looking and pondering those lovely works before me and the creativity these artists who have long since passed using paint, brushes or other means to share their vision with generations to follow and the foresight of someone to collect, display and share these works with others.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Light and Shadow in Siouxland, Joslyn Castle, Omaha, NE

15 Sep

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always like revisiting places I have previously been to, in Siouxland and elsewhere. Different time of year gives a different look to the area or place itself, such as the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE. The grounds are very nice and the tour inside was again informative as a different docent volunteer led this tour. Because of the coronavirus fewer people gives those on the tour more of an opportunity to ask questions. And having visited previously ask questions with some knowledge about the history of the place.

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Having been here before I looked differently at the former residence of a prominent family and because the season was more summer than winter as last time the lighting inside was also different. Lights and shadows are always fascinating, at least to me. Enjoying the play of light inside a room. Of course one has to be content with how the sun is when on a tour. Planning for optimal light is never going to happen without unfettered access, and that is not going to happen either.

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But it’s always nice to spend a day out, hearing about an area and wondering how it looked in early pioneer days for those folk who lived there then. The castle at the time was on the western most edge of the community of Omaha with prairie beyond its borders, that is now occupied with homes, many homes. But as I listened I was looking, seeing those little things of interest to me, in my own reverie and speculating how many footsteps had passed these simple areas on how many years and if they appreciated where they were or were just busy with life around them to consider much else.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Light and Shadow in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

1 Sep

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Because of the current virus pandemic sometimes it seems that options for getting out and enjoying nature can be limiting in Siouxland and nearby. But that also means it is just a photographic challenge looking for images when returning to the same venue. The Laurtitzen Gardens in Omaha, NE now has timed entries so the flow of people is controlled and it doesn’t get overly crowded and people are asked to be careful and distance themselves when outside and mask up when inside.

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The garden is all about plants, flora and fauna, green ones and pretty blooming ones. A variety that spans the seasons coming to fruition as those seasons change. However, the settings in which the gardens are placed have their own unique look depending on who is looking.

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The challenge of seeing beyond all the color and greenery can seem daunting. A strong summer sun helps to create those shadows underneath a canopy of green. And maybe taking a little time to enjoy the light play that comes with photographing a stark or near stark image breaks the monotonous of shooting color which can bring its own joy.

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A nice change of pace even for a photographer can be a good thing, learning to “see” differently and creating different results than one might normally obtain. A little variety in life can be good. On hot days, moving slowly and just looking can be rewarding and help reduce some sweat.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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©)

%d bloggers like this: