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Enjoying the Fall Season in Siouxland, Lewis and Clark State Park, Onawa

21 Oct
The look of fall at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Smoke from the western states wildfires has begun to clear in the Siouxland area and fall color pops a bit more while taking photographs. I like others am getting out enjoying it while it lasts. One never knows when a heavy rain and wind storm will come through depositing shimmering gold leaves into a pile on the ground. Where all that glitters turns to a rust color of dried and decaying leaves.

The look of fall at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The look of fall at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Lewis and Clark State Park offers some nice color and with clearer skies the leaves fairly sparkled in the sunlight. Weather prognosticators are calling for colder temperatures coming to the area and some strong winds as the temps begin to drop. Not good sign for folk wanting to enjoy a few fall days of leaf peeping. Some have predicted a rain/snow shower forecast for the coming days. too soon for such a wacky year by my estimation.

So enjoying the days now is important as tomorrow brings something different.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The look of fall at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Refuge in Siouxland, Scatter Joy Acres, Omaha, NE

17 Oct
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This fall I came across a small petting zoo located in a quiet neighborhood outside Siouxland in Omaha, NE. Scatter Joy Acres is a place where people can go and on a much smaller scale than the other local zoo in Omaha see animals and sometimes interact with them.

There are a variety of animals and it seems a very family friendly venue as families roamed the grounds waiting for an event to start just checking out the various animals on the grounds.

Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring and finding new places to check out is always fun and the joy of traveling even if that means driving an hour away. Hidden gems to a visitor not familiar with the area. Sometimes these are overlooked because one is a visitor, but then that just means more exploring closer to home and a chance to spend more time on the ground looking than driving or flying.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Color in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

15 Oct
Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Sept. 28, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I don’t often utilize the filters that are available these days in most digital cameras or apps for phone cameras. But there are interesting effects one can achieve and utilize to either dramatize or bring attention to an image. And the filters these days are pretty amazing and seamless for any level of photographer from beginner to those with more advanced knowledge and skill.

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Sept. 28, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

From my standpoint I just think the filters are fun. I utilize a miniature effect filter that mimics using using a swing on a large format camera of which I previously photographed with and found helpful in in bringing a viewer’s eye to a certain area of a photograph. Sometimes more effective than using shallow depth of field.

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Sept. 28, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This time I used a selective color filter. At one point in my photo career I did color tint black and white photos with oils or colored watercolor pencils depending on the paper the image was printed on. Fine brushes and deft dexterity was needed in being precise. Now it’s done with software. Painlessly and in nano seconds. I am not complaining, I like the results, but it’s a far cry from the skill needed to create a tinted photo in years past. Patience, a steady hand and magnifying glass for some close up work. It was a real skill.

These days it is more imagination and with digital, if you at first don’t succeed, delete and try again. In days past it was toss out the “ruined” print, make another and try again. Slowly, slowly to achieve the affect one wanted.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Sept. 28, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Play of Light in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

13 Oct
Enjoying the light play at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On matter where in Siouxland I find myself walking about, I enjoy the play of light on objects, scenes, or whatever. It’s the interconnectedness of lights and shadows that create images. Seen in only B&W it becomes more apparent, dramatic even. But that interplay creates images that draw attention. Beyond that though there needs to be something about the image that keeps a person’s viewing attention.

Enjoying the light play at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some images work better than others and one can only continue exploring and trying and creating and working to make images he/she believes have merit.

And then continue walking about and enjoying the moments and time spent exploring.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying the light play at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Walk in Siouxland, Preparation Canyon State Forest, Rural Monona County

11 Oct
A couple takes a selfie along a trail in Preparation Canyon State Forest enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall in Siouxland, like elsewhere, is just a nice time to get out and enjoy nature and what’s available. Like many places this year, the colors are a bit muted with western wildfire smoke and haze and from a drought that still continues for western Iowa as rainfall is almost 10 inches shy of normal according to some meteorologists.

A couple finish their hike along a trail in Preparation Canyon State Forest enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A couple check out the history from an information display about Preparation Canyon State Forest enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Preparation Canyon State Forest is a nice place to visit and hike as trails through the woodlands/prairie area. The trails are fairly easy to navigate but become narrow in places so care should be taken. I always enjoy the view from an observation deck on those days I don’t feel like a taking a walk. I had been cruising about the Loess Hills area looking for what fall color I could find. Most of it in yellows and lighter shades of green. Without the extra moisture and no profound cold snap yet, although there have been some cool nights, colors may not be forthcoming this year.

A man walks his dog along a trail at Preparation Canyon State Forest enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Two men check out Preparation Canyon State Forest while enjoying the changing colors of fall leaves in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With possibly some cooler days ahead, and maybe rain, the time for enjoying the changing leaves on trees could be short lived. With such a wacky year already, I guess fall could be just as wacky. I was kind of hoping though that it might be a long, slow one to give folk time to enjoy some more outdoor time before the blast of winter arrives and keeping folk indoors.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Fall Slowly Makes it Way to Siouxland, Oak Grove Park, Hawarden

7 Oct

Even though officially by calendar that fall has arrived here in Siouxland and elsewhere, the colors of the season are slow in coming. Partially due to drought conditions with a lack of rain and a weird climate episode going on with a lot of smoke reaching the area from the western wildfires that are engulfing millions of acres of forest.

Colors are slowly appearing at Oak Grove Park in Sioux County near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A recent trip to a park north had some nice colors developing on the trees, but the smoky, hazy atmosphere somewhat downplayed that “fall look” which a blue sky might have enhanced. Like many folk, I enjoy fall for the cooler temps and seasonal color and other aspects of this time of year.

Colors are slowly appearing at Oak Grove Park in Sioux County near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Knowing full well what comes next which will be pleasant for a while, but not if winter drags on with temperatures constantly below 5 and 10 degrees with wind chills that makes it feel more like -0. No matter how much one enjoys getting out of doors, those days make me more likely to brew more coffee, grab a book and stay toasty as I count the days.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Colors are slowly appearing at Oak Grove Park in Sioux County near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Walk in the Park in Siouxland, Latham Park, Sioux City

1 Oct

People walk around and look at various artistic endeavors for sale at Latham Park’s Art in the Park event, Saturday, September 19, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People in Siouxland are like others and very much like doing things that seem normal again, or some facsimile of such a notion. Latham Park always has a fall art vendor day, Art in the Park, where various folk can sell their wares and others get to peruse and purchase in a pretty environment.

People walk around and look at various artistic endeavors for sale at Latham Park’s Art in the Park event, Saturday, September 19, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People walk around and look at various artistic endeavors for sale at Latham Park’s Art in the Park event, Saturday, September 19, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But thoughts about the virus wasn’t far from some people’s minds and others didn’t seem to mind or care. Which kind of makes returning to normal a mixed bag. Others who think nothing is going on can’t move on because some people wear masks reminding them, and those wearing masks are worried about their health and well being but find others don’t mind or seem to care. A classic Catch 22.

People walk around and look at various artistic endeavors for sale at Latham Park’s Art in the Park event, Saturday, September 19, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And who knows how long and how severe this aberration will continue. But it is nice there are events again for folk to get out to. So many have been cancelled until the following year and hopes the new normal will become normal.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People walk around and look at various artistic endeavors for sale at Latham Park’s Art in the Park event, Saturday, September 19, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summer Days in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

27 Sep

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With Fall officially begun in Siouxland and elsewhere recently, summer days are over, even as warm summer-like weather continues to envelope the area. Cooler temps are predicted in the next couple of weeks, but until then, people will relish these last few days of summer warmth and what they will have to wait and enjoy again next year.

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lauritzen Gardens was ablaze in colorful flowers late summer. Visitors could feast in the summer bouquets walking through the landscape. Light play made the the plants dazzle and come alive in a light breeze, dancing one final jig or waltz, knowing their blooms will fade. As will the light quality that a summer sun washes across the landscape, it’s brightness enhancing shapes and objects it touches and lingers into the final hours of a day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Walk in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

23 Sep

Shady trail lanes are a welcome respite on a hot day at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always nice to get and enjoy the day with sunshine and fresh air in Siouxland. Although lately with western wildfire smoke and haze the air quality has suffered a bit even in Iowa. I can not begin to imagine what it is like on the west coast in those states. Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve is always a nice place to take a walk, giving one a choice of trails, long or short, sunny, shady or a mixture of both. I walked a trail I haven’t been on for a number of years and noticed how it was built out a bit and gave some side trail choices to explore more of the park as well as seeing restoration underway at the Preserve.

Signage helps visitors understand the mission at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The side trail I ventured onto took one into a meadow area and with a little patience, more than I had that particular day, one could find numerous critters traversing the area early morning or late afternoon, early evening as they foraged and meandered themselves around the park.

Signage informs visitors at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A summer’s day at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Prairie restoration in action at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So it was nice to find some added benches along the way for those of us who wanted a break from enjoying all that fresh air and walking. Too much of a good thing? Maybe.

Shady benches are always a welcome sight after a bit of walking on a hot day at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular trail runs along the Missouri River at a couple of points and gives a visitor a chance to check it out as well. I found it nice that along the trail signs of wildlife were about, leaving hints. And also running into some other “hikers” who themselves were out enjoying the day and passing through the preserve.

 

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Souvenirs await for visitors walking a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Deer wander across the trail at a distance at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

On a quiet and cooler summer’s day a young deer approaches a visitor in its neck of the woods along a walking path at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Summer’s Day in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

9 Sep

A summer’s day at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As summer days dwindle here in Siouxland and elsewhere, people try to enjoy its last few days of sunshine and heat. I myself look forward to fall as I enjoy cooler temperatures the change in light as well as nature’s colors. Labor Day is a marker of the change to come as schools generally are back into full swing, all things considered this year.

A summer’s day at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Lauritzen Gardens is a nice place to spend the time. Seeing the changing blooms from spring into summer. Because of travel time I can never arrive early enough to see the gardens in morning light. Not a fan of rising before the sun and driving distances just to make it happen. So I content myself with what I am able to do and the time of day I can do it in.

Enjoying a summer’s day at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And while we humans can relax and appreciate the bounty before us, other guests seem to like the place as well, although shy, they come popping around at times and stroll the gardens area too.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A turkey enjoys a summer’s day as well at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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