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Enjoying the Country in Siouxland, Plymouth County

13 Apr

With the return of sunshine and changing temperatures that don’t fluctuate wildly, as in from 25 degrees to 60 degrees and back again, it’s been nice to get outside and explore again. I grew up on a farm and so enjoy driving back roads around the Siouxland area. Western Iowa is mostly agricultural as per its main industry. I enjoy the scenics and places I find in rural Plymouth County and other similar places. I enjoy going to cities from time to time, but after living near San Francisco and in Los Angeles County, I prefer smaller venues. In those places it takes so long to reach a destination and it seems even longer to get outside the city limits to see a horizon line and no cement.

There is no one place is better than another. I may be just realizing that growing up on a farm was just a little more deeply embedded than I thought.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Spring in Siouxland and a walk along a bike trail, Le Mars

7 Apr

As the weather approaches more “normal” (whatever that may be anymore) temperatures and the sky is sunny, it’s hard not to go for a walk. The Le Mars, Iowa walking and biking trail is not very long but a nice experience bordering a creek for most of it and farmland as it lies on the outskirts of the community. The sky was blue and sunny. The clouds mushrooming and filling the expanse. And after driving around a bit it was a good way to end the day. Although, having pizza and a soda afterwards was an even better way to end.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Exploring Siouxland, Sioux County

5 Apr

As the days become warmer, meaning above 32 degrees and not freezing, it is more pleasant to get out and cruise around Siouxland once again. Areas are beginning to green up slowly. And spring is starting to arrive.

I look forward to spending time getting re-acquainted with the countryside and seeing what this spring brings.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Good Karma in Siouxland, Storm Lake

31 Mar

I took a recent trip in Siouxland with a friend to Storm Lake, Iowa as she checked out some items for possible use in a move to a new place. Previously my friend traveled to a location to check out an area she thought she might like to relocate to, and after a few incidents of getting there which were more annoying than harmful, she decided the universe was trying to tell her she needed to look into a more specific direction to find her happiness. My friend was happy with her choice. In Storm Lake while waiting for this friend to run errands, I met a local proprietor and got to chatting about eateries in the town. Somehow we drifted to a conversation about one particular restaurant that is located in Peterson, Iowa and this person told me the story of her unmarried daughter living out of state, the chance meeting of a young man who actually grew up not far from them in their community and how things might work out that her daughter and this young man might eventually make a go of life.

We never really know how life might turn out, but generally I believe it’s true that one gets back what one puts out. If it is all hate and vile, why should a person expect different? While waiting for my friend to finish errands I walked to the lake in Storm Lake and just sat watching what was before me and contemplating the two ventures or journeys these two different people have taken and ended someplace where they could find happiness. Fairy tales? Maybe, but a person must still retain hope for the best while, sadly, sometimes expecting maybe the not so worst, but events that can detour or even slow down one’s path to where you hope to be.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa


Two geese paddle about in the lake at Storm Lake, Iowa Monday, March 27, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A short walk to infinity in Storm Lake, Iowa Monday, March 27, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Siouxland’s Early Spring, Loess Hills

29 Mar

As I mentioned in an earlier post getting out into Siouxland and driving about now isn’t an awe inspiring drive. The fields are still winter brown and after a while even I am tired of seeing them. But the light is changing though, and I came across a particular hillside with a lone tree in Monona County in the Loess Hills area that caught my attention. Like the field surrounding it, it too is awaiting for those spring rains that will green up the countryside and get it started with its own seasonal trip as buds start forming on its branches.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The setting sun casts a long shadow in rural Monona County, Iowa Saturday, March 18, 2017.

Leading Lines in Siouxland, Monona County

27 Mar

I tell students who take my photo classes to look for images in places they are familiar with, and if they don’t see them the first time, to look again. Even though there is the chance a person could take the same photograph time and again, if one really looks I believe it’s possible to see something new or different than the last time one visited a favorite place.

Recently I took a drive down into the Loess Hills in Monona County and all I saw was brown. Brown (gravel) roadways, brown grass, brown fields, etc. Then as I was making a curve on one of these roads it hit me. Yes the field is brown, but it has some nice lines. I could have tried killing time for a few hours to get a sunset for my leading lines photo, but I actually hate staying in the same place a long time unless the payoff is going to be dramatic. So I stopped, made the image, and then continued on my way through the hills to see what was on the other side.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Leading lines in a field in rural Monona County, Iowa Saturday, March 18, 2017.

Finding the light in Siouxland, Sioux City

25 Mar

I always like watching travel shows on PBS because normally they are filmed in beautiful light. The camera people work their schedule at a location to create memorable images. When I travel about looking for images I too am hopeful for really nice light and the possibility of creating a memorable image. But having worked in the news business for years I know that isn’t always possible. What I do know is that one should always be aware.

The other day I had to complete some work and was relaxing in the afternoon, catching up on some reading when I looked up and saw the sun setting and the beginning of a nice sunset. I was no place in particular with a high vantage point to create a sweet photo so I sat there imaging where I could have been to capture the sun going down. Then for whatever reason I looked over a fence and saw clouds in the sky and the play of light on them and that prompted me to grab my camera and make a few frames. It is not a spectacular photo, but the play of light and the silhouette of the tree made it worthwhile to me and reinforced the fact that one tries to the best one can wherever you happen to be and sometimes it works out a little better than you might think.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Clouds are lit up as the sun sets west of Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, March 19, 2017.

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