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Enjoying the Light in Siouxland, Harrison County

19 Apr

The setting sun is seen through a tunnel on DeSoto Rd. near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As a photographer I enjoy watching light. Whether I have a camera in hand or not. But preferably if out and about in Siouxland I want one for those moments I would like to capture. Recently I tried to photograph the setting sun along with a friend whose work I think outdid mine in this circumstance. He was interested in this tunnel created by a former railroad line and for the most part, the time of year helped bring the setting sun almost into alignment with the road passing through the tunnel.

The setting sun will eventually shine through this tunnel on DeSoto Rd. near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The setting sun is seen through a tunnel on DeSoto Rd. near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I did not do a good job handling the wide dynamic range created with the setting sun and the area around the tunnel that fell into shade. It also didn’t help that it was only 25 degrees out and cold. Patience was the last thing on my mind as the warmth of the sun evaporated and night fell. But the process of capturing a unique image was still invaluable. My friend used science and a sunset forecast to determine when might be an appropriate time to photograph the scene. And it was helpful that on this particular ay the weather cooperated and passing rain and snow showers took a day off.

The setting sun will shine through this tunnel on DeSoto Rd. near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The setting sun shines through a tunnel on DeSoto Rd. near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoy the play of light. And sunrises and sunsets add much to circumstances in creating a dynamic image. Although it can feel like a slow process, waiting for the sun to set and staying warm at the same time. But in the end the result always makes the effort worth it. Even if one isn’t particularly happy with the resulting image, it was still fun to attempt and see if the final result would be a stunning image or a memory of a nice day out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The setting sun is seen through a tunnel on DeSoto Rd. near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The setting sun is seen through a tunnel on DeSoto Rd. near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Backroads in Siouxland, rural Pottawatamie County

15 Apr

A barn in Pottawatamie County near Crescent, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently I did a bit driving some rural, country roads in Siouxland’s southern region. No other vehicles passing by for the most part it was nice to get out and breathe some fresh air and forget about current events. I am still enthralled with the older barns I find in the area, each with history of its own and all past the days of former glory.

A house or small barn on a gravel road near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Siouxland region and country itself has gone through some changes when these places and others like them thrived in their heyday. Some good and others questionable. Time will tell about the end results of changes. In the meantime I just want to enjoy these relics and ponder their time in the sun and continue exploring the backroads.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Detail of a house or barn on a gravel road near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Flight of the Redwing Blackbirds in Siouxland, Rural Harrison County

11 Apr

 

Thousands of Redwing blackbirds in a field near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Nature puts on some amazing shows somedays. Most times those shows might be associated with storms. Thunder and lighting comes to mind. But on a recent outing in Siouxland I came upon a very large flock of Redwing blackbirds in a field as sunset approached. They would settle, then rise up and fly about, sometimes to an adjoining field and then back again.

Thousands of Redwing blackbirds in a field near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Thousands of Redwing blackbirds in a field near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was an amazing sight to watch. A choreographer’s dream as hundreds and possibly thousands of birds flew up and around and never crashed into one another. Moving in unison with like-mindedness. And then it ended as they moved on, tired of a spectator watching and maybe disturbing their ritual as the sun set and the day ended.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Thousands of Redwing blackbirds in a field near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Thousands of Redwing blackbirds in a field near Loveland, Iowa Friday, March 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Birds of a Feather in Siouxland, Hinton

9 Apr

A couple of geese land in a field north of Hinton, Iowa Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While out driving about in Siouxland recently I saw a couple large flocks of turkey in a field and pulled over to see what I might be able to photograph. While waiting a few minutes to see what the birds might do, a couple of geese flew into the field and started making their way to some of the turkeys, much like travelers dropping into a restaurant in a local community.

Turkeys chase geese away from their feeding area north of Hinton, Iowa Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Turkeys chase geese away from their feeding area north of Hinton, Iowa Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I was greatly surprised when I saw the turkeys basically charge the two geese and began chasing them away. I don’t spend a lot of time watching nature other than the cursory look one gives when just outside and you see what you see. Because of my position along the roadway I wasn’t able right away to see the turkeys get so close to the geese. And it seemed they were not going to relinquish their food source very easily. Until the heard more goose calls and a couple of other geese flew into the field and landed in a nearby pond. A smart move considering the welcome their brethren received minutes earlier.

Two more geese land in a field and make for a pond north of Hinton, Iowa Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With the sound of more “honking” filling the air, the “offended” turkeys made their way away from the earlier geese and back to another area of the field. There easily was 4-5 acres of space that would accommodate all of the feathered friends. And upon driving further up the roadway I saw a large gathering of geese in another field. Which left me wondering if the late arriving geese which landed in the pond were sent to retrieve their direction challenged cousins and direct them to the correct field they seemed to overshoot when landing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Turkeys chase geese away from their feeding area north of Hinton, Iowa Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Birding is not for the Weak in Siouxland, DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, Correctionville

14 Mar

Recently I went with some friends to the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge in Siouxland near Missouri Valley. It’s a way stop for a variety of migratory birds that pass through the area during the fall and spring months. Recently bald eagles have been passing through and one couple are nesting across the Missouri River from a bird blind at the park which give people an opportunity to see them.

A bald eagle nesting in a tree along the Missouri River at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bald eagle sits atop a tree at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have not a “nature” or wildlife photographer. Although I like seeing the birds. It’s just impressive. And my poor attempt at capturing images pales severely with many wonderful photos I have seen of these birds in flight, swooping and catching fish out of a river or soaring overhead. And I can’t say I don’t have nice gear to capture such scenes, but we can’t be great in all our endeavors, but it doesn’t mean one can not enjoy being out in warmer temperatures and seeing nature and such majestic birds.

An immature bald eagle sits atop a tree at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A number of bald eagles sit atop trees across from the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But I did kind of catch the “I got to get me a better bald eagle photo” bug and went out again looking and found one along the Little Sioux River near Correctionville. It helps that the sun was shining brightly off and on and I saw the “white cap” before I actually recognized the bird. It was soaring and swooping and checking out the river looking for a meal. Above the tree line and then lost below the tree line as it skimmed the river. I also wasn’t the only spectator watching this bird do its aerial thing. Two onlookers perched on a high line wire were also watching along with some close friends and relatives nearby. They didn’t leave their perches until the eagle flew away looking for another spot along the river then they went out and did their own aerial stunts, but much closer to the tree tops, guessing they wanted to be near something to duck into in case big brother returned.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An eagle sits in a tree top overlooking the Little Sioux River looking for a meal Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An eagle soars over the Little Sioux River looking for a meal Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Two pigeons watch from a high line wire as an eagle soars over the Little Sioux River looking for a meal Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Springing Forward in Siouxland, rural Woodbury County

8 Mar

The sun sets behind a hillside in rural Woodbury County near Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As daylight savings time kicks in here in Siouxland and elsewhere in the U.S., I will have to stay out a little later to capture a sunset, or earlier for that sunrise. Once the last of winter moves on and the temperature stays in the 50’s or higher, it will be more pleasant shooting either time of day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The sun sets behind a hillside in rural Woodbury County near Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The sun sets behind a hillside in rural Woodbury County near Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Godot is Waiting for Spring in Siouxland, rural Monona County

29 Feb

Clouds pass through the area in the Loess Hills area off of the Loess Hills Scenic Byway in Monona County, Iowa Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spring is slowly wending its way into Siouxland. Temperatures fluctuate between cold in the 20’s and 30’s and warmer, high 40’s and into the 50’s. Talking with friends it’s the latter 50’s we are all currently interested in. While driving some country roads recently I had to be careful as normally sound roads were a muddy glaze that would navigate well in a pickup truck, but not so much with other vehicles.

Clouds pass overhead near a weathered building in the Loess Hills area off of the Loess Hills Scenic Byway in Monona County, Iowa Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Clouds pass through the area in the Loess Hills area off of the Loess Hills Scenic Byway in Monona County, Iowa Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The rural landscape is still pretty dull. Browns, shades of brown populate the hills and dales of the Loess Hills region in Siouxland. No early peeking green shoots could be seen by a passing motorist. But hopefully soon. And a chance to wander again on a bright spring day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

in the Loess Hills area off of the Loess Hills Scenic Byway in Monona County, Iowa Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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