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Enjoying Perspective in Siouxland, Little Sioux

8 Jun

Sometimes it truly is in the eye of the beholder when a person sees something it is very important in how they see something. Perspective gives an individual an “informed” viewpoint, no matter the subject. In photography I believe that is also true. And how one sees subjects to photograph juxtaposed to other elements included in the frame and can interest, or distract.

A ready field for a later in town harvest seen during a Spring Photo Safari outing in Little Sioux , Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

I found it interesting to find a field “in town” ready for planting. I need to go back to see if it is just a large garden, or a corn or soybean crop. Sunflowers would be a fun crop as well and add interest to a small community. Then again, some scenes only occur at certain points in the year as nature takes its course and winter progresses into spring, into summer and then fall. And in that it is up to the one seeing and recording what those scenes might be and of what interest they may hold to other viewers.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Spring blooms during a Spring Photo Safari outing in Little Sioux , Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying the Outdoors in Siouxland, Preparation Canyon State Park

6 Jun

Spring emerges after an Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources burn off recently seen during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Time spent outdoors is always time spent well I believe, barring the fact that it isn’t a blizzard or a -20 degrees temperature with 40 mph wind gusts. And there are many nice places in Siouxland to spend some outdoor time, like Preparation Canyon State Park situated in the Loess Hills area of western Iowa which runs from Sioux City down past Council Bluffs. The Dept. of Natural Resources gives this history of the park, “The 344 acre the park encompasses what was once the town of Preparation. In 1853, Charles B. Thompson broke from the Mormon wagon train to Utah after receiving a message from the “Spirit.” The Mormon leader and elder led 50 to 60 Mormon families to Kanesville, now Council Bluffs. Upon much searching, Thompson and a few select men chose the area called “Monona,” an Indian name meaning “Peaceful Valley.” Here they organized the town of Preparation, complete with houses and schools and started Monona County’s first newspaper which Thompson owned and operated.”

On a recent class outing for my Spring Photo Safari class through a Lifelong Learning program at Western Iowa Tech Community College we spent some time at the overlook, as the actual park with camping sites is down the road maybe 2-3 miles. And not far from here also is a cemetery of early pioneers as well as more recent local residents interred in a bucolic setting with the wind creating a concert of sound along with chirping birds.

A quiet spring day during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was only a week or two earlier that the DNR had done a controlled burn in early spring which I believe is a yearly occurrence. The area had rebounded and spring green was gradually coming to life giving the area a fresh face for another outdoor season, well, an outdoor season that doesn’t include trudging through snow.

A ridge line trail taken during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Spring emerges after an early burn off by Iowa’s Dept. of Natural Resources seen during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

There is a nice trail that leads out from the overlook into the adjoining area that is not overly difficult and gets one into the pastoral setting, giving a visitor a chance to explore and see what is over the next hill and dale without going to far off the beaten path and after some exertion, a chance to return to the overlook, rest, and then continue the journey through the Loess Hills and the chance to find other places to explore and ponder what it must have been like for the early settlers in the later 1850’s as some made their way west and others settled into the area to begin life anew.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Hiking a trail for a better photo perspective during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Pausing to enjoy a nice day outside during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Learning more about the Loess Hills in Siouxland, Pisgah

27 May

 

The Loess Hills State Forest Visitors center gives people a background about the Loess Hills is found in Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Part of Siouxland is comprised of the Loess Hills which begins just south of Sioux City and runs down into Missouri. A Loess Hills State Forest Visitors Center is located in the small community of Pisgah and gives a great background about the surrounding area and information about the Loess Hills.

A scale model of Preparation Canyon State Park is found in the Loess Hills State Forest Visitors center in Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors can learn more about the Loess Hills at the Loess Hills Sate Forest Visitors Center in Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Within the state park there is a camp ground and an overlook not that far away. And trails can lead visitors through the area to enjoy the outdoors and experience a phenomenon that is only found in Iowa and a part of China. Plus getting the chance to enjoy the outdoors on a nice day by yourself or with friends and communing with nature, which is something we all should probably embrace.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Loess Hills State Forest Visitors Center gives a background about the Loess Hills is found in Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Bit and Pieces of History in Siouxland, Little Sioux

3 May

A placard next to Murray Hall tells some of the history of Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A former jail cell now sits alongside a placard with some of the history of Little Sioux City, Iowa Tueday, April 9, 2019, sitting next to Murray Hall. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s surprising sometimes the little bits and pieces of historical knowledge one can find when visiting places in Siouxland. Little Sioux is a small community in southern Siouxland. But a couple of the buildings sport dates harkening back a couple of centuries, and it’s possible the community was settled in the mid to late 1800’s

A brick house which looks like it could date from the late 1800’s sits empty in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

What looks like a former general store or meeting place now houses a small museum about the area in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Inside of what looks like a former general store or meeting place now houses a small museum about the area in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Except for history buffs and those living in the immediate area, it’s sad to me that so much history is being lost everyday because it really has no currency for most people. And today it seems some folk are trying to “rewrite” history because they didn’t like the outcome in the first place an in a few hundred years, who will really know what the truth is. But those who are interested it’s around us in many shapes and forms and only takes a little looking to find it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A former barbershop for sale with a building date of 1891 sits looking for a new occupant in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Another former business in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An abandoned house in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

 

Doors in Siouxland, Little Sioux

23 Apr

An inconvenient doorway in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s been said, one door closes another one opens. But there have been times as I travel about Siouxland that I find doors I simply do not want to open. Call me cautious, but yellow tape and caution signs can sometimes be appropriate.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Spring’s Rebirth in Siouxland, Preparation Canyon State Park, Loess Hills

17 Apr

A turkey vulture soars overly newly burned grass during a control burn by Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes while driving around Siouxland a person gets lucky. And it probably depends on the person how luck is defined. Of course for some there’s this on the one hand, and then that on the other. Tradeoffs happen. As I found out early last week when I came upon a control burn in Preparation Canyon Park by the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources. Giving Mother Nature a little help in jumping into spring. I found some newly sprung wildflowers gracing part of a trail along with a couple of turkey vultures looking for anything of a fricasee nature after the burn.

Turkey vulture getting a close up view on the ground during an Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources control burn at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As ugly as the birds appeared sitting on the ground, they were very graceful gliding over the terrain looking for a meal.

A turkey vulture soars overly newly burned grass during a control burn by Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I will assume the DNR does this type of burn yearly, partially to control undergrowth and well as to rejuvenate what’s there. The trail leading from an observation deck is relatively short and a pleasant hike as long as the temperature is not soaring itself into the high 90’s or 100 with high humidity. During the summer without wind it can be pretty stifling walking the trail with tall grass and trees.

A large swath of land is now barren after Iowa’s Dept. of Natural Resources did a control burn at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources does a control burn at Preparation Canyon Park seen from its observation deck in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The downside of finding the burning going on is that later I found myself with a very sore throat I am guessing irritated by the something burned and taking a couple days off to recover. By this summer though the hilly park will be a pleasant place to spend a morning or afternoon. Although by then the two turkey vultures might be on to another area to look for meals.

Legend at the observation deck tells the history of the Loess Hills at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tueday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A turkey vulture soars overly newly burned grass during a control burn by Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And not far away in the valley below where farmers will soon be preparing their ground for planting, more burning was taking place, whether it was planned or not. The afternoon that particular day was smoke-filled and made breathing difficult. But am guessing someone believes it makes a difference.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A grass fire is seen from the observation deck at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Capturing Moments in Siouxland, Rural Plymouth County

11 Apr

Fields are still flooded along Highway 12 north of Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, March 22, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I recently drove around parts of Siouxland after a weather bomb had visited the area like so many places and flooded fields and communities. Driving along one stretch of road where the water reached up I noticed a driveway into a field, actually two fields, both filled with water. The images taken were literally one minute apart, but yet enough time for wind to effect a scene.

Fields are still flooded along Highway 12 north of Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, March 22, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes in photography it is only moments when the effective image can be taken before something occurs that changes the scene into another scene, different from before. Most times we may think the time of year or time of day will most definitely change what we saw before. But sometimes it’s just moments.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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