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Color or B&W in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve

19 Jul

When I am out photographing in Siouxland my mind jumps back and forth between taking photos in color and B&W. People who attend my courses sometimes wonder about taking pictures in B&W and I firstly just encourage them to try it. Most cameras have a monochrome setting that allow users to take photos in B&W. This pics will not look like the black and white of yesterday, not without a bit of tweaking in a post processing software like Photoshop, Lightroom, Silver Efex Pro or Alien Skin.

I personally shoot with a Fuji X series camera that has excellent film simulation setting allowing me to shoot in a B&W setting.

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The question though that a person needs to ask is when is the appropriate time for using B&W. In the above example either color or B&W works as a medium since both has contrast within the image that makes either work. But mostly it comes down to whether or not a color photo or scene will render well in B&W. One has to think tonally in making that judgment call.

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The flowers on this plant stand out against the green foliage but get lost in the grey tonality of the second image. Sometimes color is a better choice. One needs to make certain the subject matter is “clean”, or able to stand out against a background. Leading lines, use of thirds and a host of other compositional techniques will also make a B&W photograph stronger just as it does in color, but one really needs to make certain the subject matter that might pop in color will stand out in B&W.

A little practice, a little perseverance and an eye detail will get a person started on the right track.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographing scenes in Siouxland, Hillview Park in Hinton

15 Jul

I always find it interesting when visiting places in Siouxland or elsewhere how people interpret those visits. Especially doing so through photographs the viewer can take away a myriad of perceptions. And it all depends on what the photographer has in mind. Does he or she what people to see something in particular or take away a certain viewpoint of what they themselves encountered? One can only speculate. But a line from a Christmas movie kind of sums it up when the character said “Seeing is believing,” not believing is seeing.” And so too a photographer’s interpretation of what is seen.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A difference in exposure changes a scene in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Tuesday June 26, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A difference in exposure changes a scene in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Tuesday June 26, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Nature around Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE

13 Jul

Visitors enter a formal garden at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always with a bit of anticipation when one enters a new area what a person will find on the other side. Laurtizen Gardens in Omaha, NE has a number of gardens to visit within its 100 plus acres of landscape. From formal and informal gardens to other little gems with artwork.

Visitors explore a formal garden setting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A visitor could spend 2-3 hours just wandering and enjoying the beauty that unfolds before one’s eyes.

Light play illuminates a plant at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A rose garden at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While the time of day, mid to late morning when I visited in June might not be an ideal time to photograph a perfect garden scene, it was still pretty spectacular. I especially enjoyed the Lithuanian and Baltic folk tales garden area one walks into just strolling down a path.

One garden pathway revisits Lithuanian folk tales and Baltic mythology at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

One garden pathway revisits Lithuanian folk tales and Baltic mythology at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

One garden pathway revisits Lithuanian folk tales and Baltic mythology at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The interpretive signs are handy in putting into perspective a visual artist’s rendition of the folk art one encounters.

A Baltic myth tells of a young sea-goddess who lived in the Baltic Dea and fell in love with a young fisherman. One garden pathway revisits Lithuanian folk tales and Baltic mythology at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Egle is the Queen of Serpents who was a young girl who married a serpent prince. One garden pathway revisits Lithuanian folk tales and Baltic mythology at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And after walking a few trails there are places to take a break and just view the activity or scenes of beauty that surrounds, astounds and trail into another area for more exploration.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Pathways lead visitors through wooded areas and into garden settings at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Benches in shaded areas give visitors a feeling of seclusion when stopping to rest or admire the view at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A brick fence sets off a formal garden setting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An outing of out Siouxland, Henry Doorley Zoo Omaha, NE

11 Jul

A recent outing for a Summer Photo Safari class I teach through Western Iowa Tech’s Lifelong Learning program took us to the Henry Doorley Zoo in Omaha, NE. It also happened to be the opening day for the NCAA College World Series held in Omaha and one of the hotter days at that point in summer that it was an interesting day of shooting.

People enjoy zoos. As hard as it is sometimes to see the animals caged and pacing or simply ignoring the humans staring at them, people are still drawn to go and see the animals that only see in pictures in a book or magazine.

A young girl poses for a picture inside a viewing area as a Lowland Gorilla sits outside in the shade during a hot day at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And sometimes people receive lasting impressions as they are able to interact with some of the animals and it makes an impact.

A visitor gets a personal experience as she feeds a giraffe at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Children the antics of one of the Lowland gorillas at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But the heat that day definitely made an impression and people took advantage of mist stations along the way to stay cool and have some fun at the same time.

A family cools off under a misting station on a hot and humid day at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

By and far though I found the best way of staying cool was to visit the indoor exhibits which were as fascinating as the outdoor ones.

A visitor takes photos of fish swimming overhead in the Aquarium at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But I think it’s not only the guests visiting the zoo that enjoy it as do the individuals who work with the animals and care for them and bond with them on a daily basis much like many of us do with our own pets. Sometimes visiting and seeing something exotic doesn’t necessarily have to take one to the other side of the world, but it is a nice first step in that direction.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A parrot gets cozy with its trainer at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking for Good Neighbors in Siouxland, Rural Monona County

5 Jul

Driving around Siouxland I am always looking for examples of photography to share with people who take my Lifelong Learning photography classes at Western Iowa Tech. I like to update what I share instead of living on “past glories”, plus in teaching I think I should continue practicing what I talk about. And what a better way to spend a day. Driving about Monona County a old saying struck me while I was looking at various “leading lines”. “Fences make for good neighbors.”

And I assume the neighbors in this area of the Loess Hills were fairly happy with one another. And so was I as I stopped to photograph another leading line.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A road grader smooths out a dirt road after a harsh winter and spring rains in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A fence line in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A fence line in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Garden Surprise near Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE

27 Jun

On a recent trip with a south of Siouxland I visited the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, Nebraska. Although it was a very hot day, the gardens visit was truly wonderful. A few different gardens, some formal and others not, with a variety of plants. But what truly caught my eye was a model train setup in the gardens with tracks and wooden trestles made from twigs and branches with plants growing around and within the train tracks.

People watch a model train cross a trestle bridge overhead at the model train exhibit at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

There are a number of trestle bridge configurations for the several running trains at the model train exhibit at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The train master Bill Willis explained that the setup was commissioned and built by Paul Busse, a model railroad enthusiast, who has built other such models in other cities. Willis maintains and sees that repairs as needed are done as well as checking tracks for overgrown plants.

A plaque at the explains how the train exhibit originated at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Bill Willis oversees the model train exhibit set up at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Bill Wilis, trainmaster and dispatcher clears a track area of debris at the model train exhibit at the Lauritzen Gardensin Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Such a setup was thing I never really imagined finding in a garden setting. But it is so beautifully entrenched and appears almost out of nowhere until you walk right up on it. It was just a delight.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visitors wait for one of several running model trains in an exhibit at the Lauritzen Gardensin Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

There are various trestle bridge configurations set up for the model train exhibit at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One of several running model trains crosses a trestle bridge at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

There are numerous trestle bridge configurations at the model train exhibit at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Besides the wooden branch and twig train track configurations, there are also a number of buildings representing different aspects of the city of Omaha built of wood at the model train exhibit display at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Just Enjoying a Day in Siouxland, Rural Monona County

15 Jun

Sometimes I can drive miles and not see anything that catches my eye or interest. And I try to stay observant while listening to some jazz cd’s traversing some back roads in Siouxland. When driving the gravel roads I am not in a hurry. Dust is flying and I generally keep my windows open, so going fast just creates more dust in the car.

But it’s the slow driving that allowed me to see something in the distance. And while I was not fast enough, I was able to catch a late morning deer having breakfast, or maybe brunch, in a field. Until he spotted me and decided it was time to leave.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A lone deer runs through a newly planted field beginning to grow in the Loess Hills region of rural Monona County in northwest Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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