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Motion in Siouxland and sometimes it works, Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD

5 Oct

Having a background in news photography I always try to be prepared for the unexpected. During a normal day’s routine one might cover a school student and do a feature photo, or go to a traffic accident and even sometimes a house fire. When I lived in California I covered wildfires there as well as photographing in South Central L.A. during the Rodney King after verdict rioting that took place when four white police officers were acquitted.

Residents hose down their home in the South Central area of Los Angeles, California during fires and looting incidents after the Rodney King verdict, April 30, 1992. (Jerry L Mennenga ©)

A woman loots items from a Von’s Grocery Store in the South Central area of Los Angeles, California after the Rodney King verdict, April 30, 1992. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Los Angeles fire fighter hoses down a burning building in the South Central area of Los Angeles, California after the Rodney King verdict, April 30, 1992, caused by riots and looting. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In doing that kind of photography one reacts and anticipates. These days I am content shooting small community events like fairs or small town museums to share with people. And, I am not always prepared to capture nature.

On a visit to Sioux Falls, SD, I stopped by Falls Park. It is just a nice place to visit. Bring a picnic and a camera. Families, friends and a general assortment of folk come to hang out and enjoy the ambiance. And the Big Sioux River runs through the park and there are some falls there.

Families and friends hang out at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I travel I always carry a camera and maybe a couple of lenses. What I don’t always carry is a tripod and filters. Polarizer, sure, I use it on sunny days with clouds. But neutral density, no. I don’t think about it. And I don’t carry a tripod. My background in news is that you want to travel light and on the down low. So when the opportunity presents itself capture motion and utilize another skill set I always lament, I should have thought of that.

A photographer spends time waiting for that perfect photograph at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But this particular day I did have my polarizer filter and a 2-stop graduated neutral density filter. Although I didn’t have a tripod I attempted some water motion. Many a day shooting news at at 1/30th of a second or slower when it was necessary. So I am a little rusty. But sometimes you do what you can.

Rushing water headed to the falls at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Rushing water headed to the falls at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It is true that slowing the movement of the water is a nice effect. Maybe next time I will try it at the falls with people in the scene to add another element to the image. And try to be better prepared, although I still probably won’t have a tripod with me.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing Nature in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

29 Sep

On a recent visit to Vermillion, SD, I came upon a walking trail of which I wasn’t aware in Cotton Park inside the community. It follows the course of the Vermillion River, is paved and so is an easy walk to enjoy nature and get away from any immediate surroundings of the town itself.

A small river running alongside a walking trail in Vermillion, SD Saturday Sept. 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was pleasant hearing songbirds along the trail and I even noticed some early signs of fall, changing leaf colors, although sadly, I think the leaves belonged to a poison ivy plant, and a wooly caterpillar. I can never remember the old farmer’s tale whether seeing such a critter means an early winter or a colder one.

Nature along a walking trail in Vermillion, SD Saturday Sept. 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A wooly caterpillar predicting winter on a walking trail in Vermillion, SD Saturday Sept. 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding solitude in a city setting is always a plus in my book, even in smaller communities. Sometimes a getaway shouldn’t involve traveling miles, just maybe a few steps outside of one’s doorway. When I emerged back into the more “civilized” part of the town I saw a coniferous tree that with a little imagination would be perfect for tinsel and Christmas balls, as well as an industrious bee working to harvest some remaining nourishment for the months ahead.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Add some tinsel and colored balls and Christmas is just around the corner in Vermillion, SD Saturday Sept. 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Bees still working even in September preparing for winter in Vermillion, SD Saturday Sept. 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

 

Revisiting a state preserve in Siouxland, Gitchie Monitou

7 Sep

This summer I revisited a state preserve in the northern most reaches of Siouxland, Gitchie Monitou. I hadn’t been there for a while and when I returned it was kind of sad because of so much more graffiti on the walls of a former shelter. Plus paint cans dumped around the area. And it wasn’t very good graffiti at that.

Graffiti is sprawled around a former shelter building at Gitchie Manitou State Preserve in Lyon County near Granite, Iowa Thursday Aug. 3, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was a good day to be out, with parts of this summer being very hot and humid, so I though the trip up and a hike would be nice. And the hiking and other aspects of the day and visit were good. Plus I hadn’t seen the preserve during this time of year when it was more green. My last visit was very early in the spring before foliage started leafing out after winter.

Large mansions on the outskirts of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, overlook Gitchie Manitou State Preserve in Lyon County near Granite, Iowa Thursday Aug. 3, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I just find it sad that some folk can’t leave a place as it is for others to follow to enjoy it. I am sure these people have their own residences they could deface with paint or let others deface their residences so those in nature could be spared. But then, I might be a little too old fashioned.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Checking out the riverfront south of Siouxland, Omaha, NE

5 Sep

I made a sojourn down to Omaha, NE recently to obtain a lifetime seniors pass to national parks in the U.S. before a price increase. I didn’t even realize their is a national park office in Omaha or the fact that it is situated along the riverfront in the city.

A walkway spans the Missouri River between Nebraska and Iowa at the riverfront near the Lewis and Clark Landing in Omaha, NE August 24, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Not far from there a pedestrian walkway spans the Missouri River that connects Nebraska and Iowa. Giving views from above of the river and parts of the downtown area of Omaha. The day was pleasant, while warm, had a nice breeze coming off the river. And as I began walking along this river front after obtaining my pass I found it was only a few blocks the Old Market section of the city which contains numerous restaurants and shops. But the way there is filled with its own delights.

A walkway spans the Missouri River between Nebraska and Iowa at the riverfront near the Lewis and Clark Landing in Omaha, NE August 24, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Water spouts at the Heartland of America Park in Omaha, NE August 24, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There is an interesting walkway that takes one above the ground and over various governmental water front areas that is an architectural delight as well as another shade cover further up the way.

Covered bridge walkways connect the riverfront area by the Lewis and Clark Landing and the Heartland of America Park to Old Market in Omaha, NE August 24, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Shade and design are created along the riverfront at the Heartland of America Park in Omaha, NE August 24, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It made walking to the Old Market a nice way to work up an appetite and later check out some of the shops in the area.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Trying to see in Siouxland, Bacon Creek Park

1 Sep

When I am out walking about I always take a camera with me. Most days I shoot at least a few frames. Some days not. I don’t know if I am feeling compelled and it is just habit that I photograph. On a recent walk in Bacon Creek Park I was looking for images while still just enjoying the walk. I felt when I had finished my 3-mile excursion about the water I had photographed a few things of interest, but nothing really compelling and a bit disjointed when take in totality. I sometimes look for themes depending on the day and weather, especially if it is a place I visit often. I think at some times the need to be outside and taking in fresh air as well as some moderate exercise overrides my photography. But then, that may not be a bad thing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Creating images in Siouxland, Sioux City

16 Jul

The other day it was a not, muggy, miserable type of midwestern summer day in July that is probably best spent indoors if possible. But this was a continuation of a few days of hot, muggy and miserable days in Iowa and I needed to get outside and breathe some fresh air even if it was a bit unbearable. I visited Bacon Creek Park and walked its three mile loop. Thankfully there was a breeze and most of the loop passes through a forested area.

Because I chose mid-day to take my walk, not a bright idea on a hot, muggy and miserable kind of midwestern summer day, the light was vary garish. And so I started looking for scenes that would best use this type of light. I tell students you can photograph any time and anywhere. It’s just a matter of being observant. That doesn’t mean mid-day photos are more successful than a nice sunset or evening shot during the golden hour, but the possibilities are still there. And if you’re taking a walk on such a day, it pretty much reflects the experience, maybe.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Spring in Siouxland brings new Arrivals, Bacon Creek Park

10 May

With the arrival of spring and the Siouxland landscape now becoming green and lush after this past winter’s brown tones, there are also other new arrivals. During a recent walk out at Bacon Creek Park I came across a number goose families lounging on the shore with their young brood of goslings. As I approached this gathering which was spread along the walking path, it struck me as reminiscent of a French painting by Georges-Pierre Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”, only instead of people, geese.

As I slowly approached the grouping of geese slowly began to disperse, all being a little wary of the approaching person. Not wanting to disturb them more than I needed, I walked even slower, but one gallant young goose hissed very loudly and slowly began circling me as I tried to get around him and his family, not wanting to startle the little goslings, which I succeeded in not upsetting.

But it was a touching scene, more like a social event for these families of geese and nice encounter, without any biting on their part, as spring continues to unfold.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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