Archive | Parks RSS feed for this section

Enjoying a Nice Fall Evening in Siouxland, Onawa

15 Nov

The Fall Photo Safari class taking photographs at night in Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Probably my favorite season of the year, like many Siouxland folk, is fall. Sunset comes a little earlier and the weather is still pleasant. Of course, not so much this year as winter seems to have already arrived and along with it, colder evenings. But recently with a photography class we spend a pleasant evening shooting pictures at sunset and night. Students practicing long exposures and light painting. I enjoy the long exposures. Light painting is a practiced art of science as one learns to determine length of exposure and amount of light to add to a scene.

The Fall Photo Safari class taking photographs at night in Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Fall Photo Safari class taking photographs at night in Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And how one lights a scene or uses the “existing” light to effect determines the outcome of a photograph. These images are taken at the Monona County Memorial Museum and Freedom Rock in Onawa. The placement of the plane with a neighborhood in the background makes it difficult to make a clean photo of the exhibit, especially using a setting sun to accomplish it. So one must take liberties and use selective cropping within the camera for some images. And then find the right exposure to create that image.

The Fall Photo Safari class taking photographs at night in Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But a challenge is always good, especially for students. And to fail a couple of times while learning a new skill only reinforces that skill once success is accomplished and a sweet image produced.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Fall Photo Safari class taking photographs at night in Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Fall Day in Siouxland, Lewis and Clark State Park, Onawa

11 Nov

at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days in Siouxland are so nice one just wants to savor them as long as one can. Recently a fall day had temps finally getting back into the 50’s with sunshine. The weather has been a bit funky this year and what should have been a great year for fall color found many trees getting close, but continued cold nights and rainy days seemed to stopped the color change in progress.

at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People were out though enjoying what they thought might be one of the truly nice days this year before the winter season begins bringing a constant chill to the air in the temperature range of the 20’s and 30’s. Indeed chilly and the cold spell helps the trees to drop their leaves before they can reach that peak of color display.

at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But I enjoy what I can and wandered through the park savoring the sunshine, the golden boughs and hoping for maybe one more day when I didn’t have to throw on a heavy coat to go outside and brave the chill.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Animal Watching in Siouxland, Great Plains Zoo, Sioux Falls, SD

5 Nov

A ring-tailed lemur eats a snack at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As sad as I feel about seeing animals in caged environments where zoo animals live out their lives, I am also fascinated in watching them and their behavior. Just like any creature, four-legged or two-legged we all have certain characteristics.

A ring-tailed lemur eats a snack at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A ring-tailed lemur stares out at a visitor while eating a snack at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And if one isn’t in a hurry when visiting a zoo like the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD, the animals give minor performances as one might like to imagine they do in the wild, albeit for some of this creatures their lives here are safer and out of danger.

A couple of Zodiak bears stand at the entrance of their den at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A snow leopard naps and ignores visitors at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019.

I see these animals sleeping, pacing or eating, which is something we all do. And look out from their enclosures to see who is looking back. I wonder if they wonder what life must be like on the other side of that fence. But for some this home is probably all they know.

A snow leopard looks out visitors at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019.

 

Snow monkeys snack in the morning at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As people we adapt to our circumstances and surroundings, making the best of what we have or attempt to have in the daily lives we pursue. Maybe we ourselves should take a little more time to watch, listen and look.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A king vulture at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A King vulture resettles itself on a branch at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A King vulture checks out visitors at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall is Coming to Siouxland, Stone State Park

22 Oct

at Stone State Park inSioux City, Iowa Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.

Even though weather-wise it feels like autumn has arrived in Siouxland, the weather this year has been so wacky that one day it’s extremely cool, the next hitting the 80’s and 90’s. Recently a Mother Nature mood swing had the area doing a 50 degree temperature swing. Colors are just beginning to show on trees and I am hopeful to get out and see them before more weather makes leaves drop prior to their coming into a full autumn delight.

at Stone State Park inSioux City, Iowa Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.

 

at Stone State Park inSioux City, Iowa Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.

A recent hike through a local state park, Stone State Park, the foliage was still very green. The park is always a nice walk on the roadways or hikes on the trails. After a recent rain I stuck to the roadways as slippery leaves and trails can sometimes add more excitement for my descent down a steep incline that I particularly want to enjoy. Bouncing along isn’t my idea of fun these days, or hobbling back to my vehicle. But fall is a favorite time of year for myself and for others too. Nature gets to display her beauty in ways that are worth waiting an entire year for. Just hoping it’s not a quick view this year.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at Stone State Park inSioux City, Iowa Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.

 

at Stone State Park inSioux City, Iowa Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.

Another Day in Siouxland a Different Scene Unfolds, Mulberry Bend Overlook

10 Oct

at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There is always a good argument for revisiting places one has previously visited and photographed, even in Siouxland. Time, day, time of year, it all changes what was previously witnessed and recorded. And for lucky photographers scenes are mostly not redundant making it more enticing to stop in and take a second, third or fourth look. I previously came across Mulberry Bend Overlook on a warm, humid and sunny day.

at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I never tire of traveling about and seeing places, sharing them with friends on photo outings. One always hopes for optimal days, that is sunshine and blue sky, to photograph in, but weather and other unplanned exceptions can cause one to reevaluate how one sees and learns to adapt to situations that are not always ideal. Simple challenges are good for a photographer in broadening one’s perceptions and images captured. It also makes a hot cup of coffee taste even better on a damp, chilly day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A rainy day at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Human Nature isn’t just for Humans in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo and the Great Plains Zoo

2 Oct

A Siamang gibbon looks at a visitor while trying to nap at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am always amazed at the human-like nature that some animals seem to portray. But then again, maybe the animals think that of us humans, behaving in a manner they themselves exhibit. I visited a couple of zoos near Siouxland recently. It wasn’t an extremely hot day on either visit, but it was quite humid and the temperatures were creeping upwards and I arrived at the zoo toward the end of a feeding period, so maybe a nap wasn’t completely out of the question.

A black and white Colobus monkey peeks at visitors watching it take a nap at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A black and white Colobus monkey peeks at visitors watching it take a nap at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days I myself might be better off with a nap and just enjoying the moment, although these creatures only have so much room to roam about in. They do the best they can. And taking a break and relaxing should be high on their list. Something I might keep in mind myself down the road.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Bornean Orangutan tries to get comfortable on a hot fall day at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A Bornean Orangutan lays quietly on a hot fall day at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A Francois Langur yawns before getting down to the business of taking a nap on a hot fall day at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A Francois Langur relaxes before taking a nap on a hot fall day at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Solitude in Siouxland, Dordt University Prairie, Sioux Center

28 Sep

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I recently found out about a small nature preserve in Siouxland just a few steps away from Dordt University, a Christian college that strives to help students realize faith in their lives is as important as well as preparing them to succeed in life through their academic endeavors. The Prairie is only steps away from the school’s campus and is a nice walk, although probably better on a cooler day than when I visited. I has the look of an earlier century prairies and is large enough that it affords a person some solitude and quiet within its confines, providing space for a person to sit, contemplate and unwind from daily activities and schedules.

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In the interior part of the prairie is a prayer garden where there are rock formations allowing a person to sit and seek spiritual guidance if one wants, or just sit and listen to the immediate surroundings be it the wind, crickets, cicadas or flies. All God’s creatures. It was a weekday morning so there wasn’t anyone else around and I wandered the grounds a bit enjoying what I came across and following a path until I came to the garden.

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Students’ lives are busy enough and I remember my days in college and at times going into the school’s quadrangle at off peak hours to sit and listen to nature. With few people around the birds came alive and there were plenty of trees landscaping the area along with specie names and such to, of course, make it educational. And the small prairie is good for residents as well who also need that occasional down time away from the “white noise” that society and modern day living provides. A neighborhood abuts the prairie and a wide path makes it easy to traverse and enjoy a quick escape before “reentering” the world and again engaging life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Dordt University’s Dordt Prairie is a 20 acre area near the college and also contains a prayer garden located in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

%d bloggers like this: