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Enjoying History and Creating images in Siouxland, Winnebago, NE

30 Oct

Recently I’ve been working on a project photographing a statue garden and attempting to create some imagery to showcase the small, park-like area. This statue garden is in Ho-Chunk Village in Winnebago, NE, home to the Winnebago Tribe.

the Winnebago Clan Statue Garden in Winnebago, NE, Wednesday, Oct. 3 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Statue Garden of Tribe Clans in Ho Chunk Village in Winnebago, NE Thursday, Oct. 11 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have been photographing at different times of the day and using a single light to help light some of the clan statues to being a little more emphasis to the subjects and thereby viewer attention to the park. Some days have been quite windy, others very brick and chilly to downright cold, but in the end, it seems worth it to help highlight a local culture in Siouxland and a proud people preserving their heritage and working toward a better future.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Clan Statue Garden in Ho Chunk Village in Winnebago, NE Friday, Oct. 19 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Statue Garden of Tribe Clans in Ho Chunk Village in Winnebago, NE Thursday, Oct. 11 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Clan Statue Garden in Ho Chunk Village in Winnebago, NE Friday, Oct. 19 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Nature and its Creatures in Siouxland, Winnebago, NE

19 Aug

Recently I did a little work for a friend that required me to photograph some bison near the community of Winnebago, NE. These graceful creatures move fairly swiftly if they want too and are very aware of their surroundings. Trying to get close-up photographs of them was challenging. But also fun to watch them move about within an enclosure near the outskirts of the community. And being patient as they come to realize you mean them no harm.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Bison graze in a field across from a Ho-Chunk housing development in Winnebago, NE Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Bison grazing in a field late afternoon near Winnebago, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Bison grazing in a field late afternoon near Winnebago, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding a quiet corner in Siouxland, Homer, NE

21 Jul

When out driving about Siouxland it’s always the little gems that stick out in my mind. One such place I recently came across was in Homer, NE, a small community of maybe 550 people. I had not been to Homer in a few years, but it was with interest and delight to find someone had created a small quiet zone in the downtown area.

The downtown area of Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A path leads into a quiet space near the downtown area of Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am never bashful in checking out places and I didn’t see anyone on the street as I drove up to park and walk about.  But it is nice that people take the time to create something that they and others can enjoy and give a person a break from a hectic world, no matter one’s occupation or place in the scheme of life. But finding a little solitude and a respite is always a good thing to contemplate and enjoy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A path leads into a quiet space near the downtown area of Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A quiet space near the downtown area of Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A small signpost gives options in a quiet space near the downtown area of Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Near downtown Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 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©)

Summertime and finding fun in and around Siouxland, Omaha, NE

29 Jun

On an earlier outing this summer south of Siouxland traveling down to Omaha, NE I came across a street fair that has been a recurring event there, Summerfest. Sioux City where I live also has an arts festival, generally occurring in early September. As I walked about it also happened to be an extremely hot day, but that didn’t seem to deter people from checking out what was there.

Artists stalls line a street at the Summer Fest arts festival in downtown Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A family poses for a street artist during the Summer Fest arts festival in downtown Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I found myself more interested in the canal flowing into the downtown area, maybe because it was shaded and I had already spent a good part of the day visiting the Lauritzen Gardens.

The Summer Fest arts festival borders a canal located near downtown Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A duck quietly sits in a canal that parallels Summer Fest arts festival in downtown Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

However it didn’t escape my notice that a couple of guys demonstrating black smith technique were taking a break working in the heat and putting their portable furnace to a different use, getting in a bit of lunch.

 

Workers demonstrating black smith techniques take a break during the Summer Fest arts festival to grill some lunch in downtown Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

That is the nice thing about traveling, even just down the road, one can always find something new, to oneself, and enjoy the day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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©)

 

Walking Among History near Siouxland, Mormon Pioneer Cemetery in Omaha, NE

30 May

One day while driving south of the Siouxland area I headed to Omaha, NE and visited the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters.

The Morman Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters tells the story of the Mormon people after they left Nauvoo, IL and headed west eventually reaching Utah and the gives an accounting of the people and the journey to their selected sacred site, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There was a lot of history packed into this facility, not only about the Mormon people and their journey west, but about history in general and what was going on during this time period.

Across the street is a pioneer cemetery for Mormons who ventured West, at that time Iowa and Nebraska was part of the western territory and frontier. The cemetery today a temple as well and is dedicated to those hearty souls who could not complete the physical journey to their home west in Utah. But ended their journey earlier and returned home to their heavenly Father.

A plaque commemorating the Pioneer Mormon Cemetery for those who died as they attempted to read a new promise land, and which now sits across from the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A couple visit a memorial site in the Pioneer Mormon Cemetery and which sits across from the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It sometimes gives me chills to think of others who have walked an area before from another century and the journey they were making in a land that now does not resemble that pioneer period at all.

An entrance into the Pioneer Mormon Cemetery which sits across from the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A grave marker at the Pioneer Mormon Cemetery which sits across from the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A remaining remaining grave markers in the Pioneer Mormon Cemetery for pioneering Mormons on their trek to a new promised land in Utah and which sits behind a Mormon temple and across from the Morman Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters which tells the story of the long journey west, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People of all faiths have at some point in history made a journey to a promised land looking forward to a better life. And some people do not reach their intended destination but are called home to their Lord to begin another journey, one of peace and joy and unfettered by any earthly concerns.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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