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Honoring Veterans in Siouxland, Winnebago, NE

29 May

During morning rain showers, veterans of the Winnebago Tribe and members of American Legion Post 363 La Mere Greencrow Rice, JACK LAMERE (Coast Guard) center left,JERRY LAMERE (Navy) second from left, RANDY DE CORA (Air Force) third from left and TAYLOR BASS (Army) right, stand at attention for Taps played by sstudent and tribe member ALEXANDER FLANDERS as they make up an Honor Guard to commemorate other tribal members during Memorial Day services at area cemeteries that included two family cemeteries, the Winnebago Cemetery and the St. Augustine Mission Cemetery, Monday May 27, 2019 near Winnebago, NE (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

I had the privilege on Memorial Day of spending time with veterans of the Winnebago Tribe from Winnebago, NE as they visited four cemeteries to honor other tribal members who served their country. It was a very wet and soggy day, but these four men and others were not bothered by the inclement weather. And the settings of the cemeteries was very bucolic adding to the atmosphere of the overcast and solemn occasion.

During morning rain showers, veterans of the Winnebago Tribe and members of American Legion Post 363 La Mere Greencrow Rice, JACK LAMERE (Coast Guard) left , JERRY LAMERE (Navy) center, TAYLOR BASS (Army) right and Randy De Cora (Air Force) not seen, make up an Honor Guard to commemorate other tribal members during Memorial Day services at area cemeteries that included two family cemeteries, the Winnebago Cemetery and the St. Augustine Mission Cemetery, Monday May 27, 2019 near Winnebago, NE (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

During morning rain showers, local college student Winnebago Tribe member ALEXANDER FLANDERS plays taps while JAMES FRENCHMAN holds an umbrella as veterans of the Winnebago Tribe and members of American Legion Post 363 La Mere Greencrow Rice, commemorate other tribal members during Memorial Day services at area cemeteries, Monday May 27, 2019 near Winnebago, NE (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

A number of other area remembrances were moved indoors for these ceremonies. Bad weather does deter people from attending, but standing in the rain and watching and listening as these men and others remembered their fellow tribal members it became apparent that the outdoor ceremony was all the more important. Man of these remembered had made the ultimate sacrifice and inclement weather was of little consequence to those attending for what they celebrated.

Grave sties of the St. Augustine Mission Cemetery where veterans of the Winnebago Tribe served as an Honor Guard to celebrate other tribal members during Memorial Day services at area cemeteries, Monday May 27, 2019 near Winnebago, NE (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

On such solemn occasions as this and others that America holds to celebrate past achievements and sacrifices it seems that more Americans should not mind spending a few minutes in quiet contemplation of what others have done so they can enjoy living and working in a place that holds promise. And with each passing rain storm, a little light does appear brightening the day and giving a little credence to that promise of a better tomorrow.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The sun finally shines through the clouds as veterans of the Winnebago Tribe and members of American Legion Post 363 La Mere Greencrow Rice, JERRY LAMERE (Navy) left, JACK LAMERE (Coast Guard) second from left, TAYLOR BASS (Army) and RANDY DE CORA (Air Force), make up an Honor Guard to commemorate other tribal members during Memorial Day services at area cemeteries that included two family cemeteries, the Winnebago Cemetery and the St. Augustine Mission Cemetery, Monday May 27, 2019 near Winnebago, NE (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Paying Respect in Siouxland, Omaha Valley Cemetery, Ponca, NE

19 May

The Omaha Valley Cemetery sits atop a couple hillsides off of Highway 77 South near Homer, NE Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As I drive about the Siouxland region I like to visit cemeteries that I come across. I find that for these rural and small town graveyards some of the earliest occupants were laid to rest in the mid to late 1800’s. Pioneers the majority of them traveling months to reach a new place and start a new life. Most likely by wagon train as the railroad system for the young country had not yet united the east and west.

The dearly departed of the Omaha Valley Cemetery have nice vistas as the cemetery sits atop a couple of hillsides off of Highway 77 South near Homer, NE Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Early settlers are buried in the Omaha Valley Cemetery which sits off of Highway 77 South near Homer, NE Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Without delving into area archives or doing an online search, I will never know the story about any of these early settlers, or even their descendants. I just like to pay my respect for the chances they took in settling what at that time was still wilderness to a point and creating a life with their blood, sweat and tears, and sometimes life.

The Omaha Valley Cemetery off of Highway 77 South near Homer, NE Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Occupying a couple of hilltops the Omaha Valley Cemetery sits off of Highway 77 South near Homer, NE Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some of the rural cemeteries reside on a hill, giving the occupants and their visitors a chance to view the countryside around them. What the photographs cannot tell visitors to my blog is the sound of the leaves rustling as the wind blows, scents arriving and leaving, birds chirping and just enjoying the day. A place to stop, ponder and reflect and say a little prayer for the departed and for friends and relatives still toiling on this earth. Just taking a moment to be still, listen to the sounds of silence and enjoy before jumping back into life and the race most of us must run.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Early burials can be found in the Omaha Valley Cemetery off of Highway 77 South near Homer, NE Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Sitting on a couple of hilltops the Omaha Valley Cemetery is off of Highway 77 South near Homer, NE Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Take Me Out to the Ballgame in Siouxland, Omaha, NE

1 May

Creighton University plays University of Nebraska, Lincoln in baseball at the Ameritrade Park baseball stadium Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently a friend invited me and a couple others to take in a college baseball game featuring Creighton University and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, played in Omaha, Ne. It has been decades since I attended a college sporting event for fun. Since graduating college I only attended college athletic events when working for daily newspapers. And I must admit the trip to Omaha was on

 

a beautiful spring day and evening.

A beautiful day and then evening for the Creighton University versus University of Nebraska, Lincoln baseball game at the Ameritrade Park baseball stadium Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Baseball fans attend the Creighton University against the University of Nebraska, Lincoln baseball game at the Ameritrade Park baseball stadium Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There was a good mix of blue and red fans supporting each school, with some Creighton students “dressing” up for the game and showing their colors.

Two Creighton student fans display their colors before the Creighton University and University of Nebraska, Lincoln baseball game at the Ameritrade Park baseball stadium Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when I get students in my Lifelong Learning photography classes I find some students want to acquire new gear, especially lenses so they can photograph their kids playing sports or in school plays or choir. Most of these folk have the kit lenses that came with their camera and sometimes a zoom telephoto. Both are generally variable zooms meaning the f-stops automatically changes as they zoom out to the telephoto end of the lens’ range. I tell them to learn to use the equipment they have and find those moments to photograph that will accomplish what they want to achieve before deciding on spending the big bucks to buy a fast f/2.8 lens. I used the Fuji X kit lens, 18-55 f/2.8-4 for these images of the game and surrounding atmospheric shots.

Creighton University’s mascot greets visitors to the game between Creighton University and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln at the baseball at the Ameritrade Park baseball stadium Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Creighton University players warm up for their game against the plays University of Nebraska, Lincoln in baseball at the Ameritrade Park baseball stadium Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Fans take a selfie of themselves during the Creighton University versus University of Nebraska, Lincoln baseball game at the Ameritrade Park baseball stadium Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

It was a little tough trying to shoot action but it can be done. The head first sliding image was taken at f/4 because I was at the 55mm end of the lens and maybe 1/250th of a second shutter speed. But with the runner coming toward me I figured I would be safe in stopping action without much chance of blur. And it would have been too great a crop to produce a tighter image. Besides, I wasn’t covering the game but more interested in the ambiance of the experience. It makes a difference when as a photographer you know your end usage and what you are trying to achieve.

A Nebraska players makes it safely to third base during a Creighton University versus University of Nebraska, Lincoln baseball game at the Ameritrade Park baseball stadium Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Creighton University plays University of Nebraska, Lincoln in baseball at the Ameritrade Park baseball stadium Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even shooting an overall image of the playing field the movement is minimal during a game as the contest between these two teams revolved around their pitching staff and each team plowed through 4-5 pitchers with some achieving a better result than others during the nine inning game.

A good representation of both Creighton University and theUniversity of Nebraska, Lincoln fans turn out for the rival baseball game at the Ameritrade Park baseball stadium Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And then it was time to go home and taking a photograph of the downtown “skyline” of Omaha from the park was easy with a slower shutter speed and a cement foundation to place the camera on to keep camera shake at a minimum. Baseball is a little like photography and life in that one enjoys those moments like a nice spring day when it happens and a free ticket and worry about the other stuff later.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The skyline of Omaha, NE is seen outside the Ameritrade Park baseball stadium during the Creighton University versus University of Nebraska, Lincoln baseball game Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographing in Siouxland, Durham Museum, Omaha, NE

1 Apr

Descending stairs at the Durham Museum, formerly a Union Station, in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes as one pursues his/hers photographic interests or various endeavors, clicking the shutter can be a leap of faith. Going somewhere while making images but not really certain where that somewhere will lead them.

I enjoy creating images with light and shade. The two work hand in hand to help create an image. To me at times the images can be intriguing and ambiguous, and at other times pretty straight forward.

But unless one clicks the shutter and captures a moment to share with others, one may never know. One foot in front of the other and one click of the shutter at a time. Following the light into the darkness and vice versa. And I guess it is as some folk say, it’s not the destination, but the journey.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying and Preserving Memories in Siouxland, Joslyn Museum, Omaha, NE

18 Mar

A couple of photographers capture their visit by photographing an indoor fountain at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When we all visit places one time, or many, most people these days as before, take a photograph to help remember that trip and today more than ever, share with their friends. And what I find so fascinating is how we all have a different way of seeing such places and remembering them. Each an artist in their own right. Creating an image of what was encountered.

A visitor to the Joslyn Museum records a favorite piece of art while visiting in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

For myself I find it to incorporate all of what is seen within the camera’s frame and try to make it all work together using light and shadow and angles and lines and juxtaposing the various elements.

As well as just documenting what is going on.

A Joslyn Museum curator gives a guided tour to visitors so they may more appreciate the works of art seen in museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A Joslyn Muaeum employee has her photograph taken next to a painting in the museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

We all take away those memories we enjoy and cherish and hopefully will relive by looking at the images we have taken and shared and maybe revisiting the place again. I find traveling to a place more than once becomes the challenge to come away with a different set of images which is possible depending on the time of year and time of day one visits a place. Indoors, things tend to stay the same, but that just proves more of a challenge to become more creative, see familiar objects in a different way and grow as a visual person.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visitors document their visit to the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Architectual aspects of the Joslyn Museum lend to various types of framing opportunities while visiting in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Deciding about Perspective in Siouxland, Nebraska State Capitol, Lincoln

14 Mar

In a hallway in Nebraska’s State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Somedays out photographing while traipsing about Siouxland and nearby destinations I come across scenes that immediately grab my attention. And then later realize what a tough choice to choose one photograph of which basically contains the same elements as the other photographs, but imbue the same sense of place, just differently.

In a hallway in Nebraska’s State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And the use of light and shade can greatly affect how an image is portrayed and received. Each has its own feeling imparted to the viewer. And of course one never has enough people about to sometimes populate one’s photos to help lead the eye through the scene. These images were taken in the state capitol of Nebraska, in Lincoln.

In a hallway in Nebraska’s State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A closer perspective of the scene looks different than one farther away, and yet shifting to one side or another gives yet another variance and fell to the same scene. Of course a body in the hallway helps ring the eye of the viewer into the receding aspect of the hallway.

Even during a legislative break there are folk walking the hallways of power at the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And lastly, those hallways that are not accessible to the photographer except through a window reveal one more way to depict a similar scene with one more variance of the perspective. And I will confess, I like all of the images, each interpreting what is seen in a different manner.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An outside hallway in Nebraska’s State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying a Day out of Siouxland, Joslyn Museum, Omaha, NE

10 Mar

One of the Joslyn Museum’s docents who keeps a roaming eye on exhibits almost seems like one himself while standing in a doorway at the in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy visiting art galleries, museums and other places around Siouxland where the visual arts is on display. Somedays it’s a struggle to leave my camera in the bag as I wonder about looking at various paintings and sculpted pieces, enjoying what’s before my eyes as opposed to making images. The Joslyn Museum is a very pleasant place to visit. Especially on a winter’s day when it’s more inviting to stay indoors.

This particular visit I couldn’t resist the draw to make images. I have visited the museum a number of times and am always inspired by what I see. Works of art dating from the 1600’s with their use of light and shadow to create significant scenes of a time and place that is really no longer in existence. As it once was. And it is through looking at this work that inspires me to create images utilizing light and shadow. Learning to see opportunity, and the museum’s use of lighting to highlight its treasures helps a photographer create his/her own images. This time I strove to do more than what I was seeing, but look a bit further.

A reflection of a sculpted piece of art on marble at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A closer view of a fountain in the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking for details and the seen but not seen images that surrounds one. It’s tough because my eyes kept drifting back to the magnificent images hanging on the walls.

One of the Joslyn Museum’s docents who keeps a roaming eye on exhibits almost seems like one himself as he walks through the exhibit areas in the museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And what a better way to spend a day than immersing oneself in art and all that it has to offer as well as staying out of the cold and snow. As spring gets closer, and hopefully warmer weather with it, I will be spending more time outside driving about Siouxland and exploring other areas I have not been to before. But I will always make time to go to a museum simply it’s always time well spent.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A sculpted stag on display shot with an arrow by another sculpted piece not seen but across the room looks ready to jump away at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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