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Spending Time at the Lakes in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

14 Aug

As summer winds down in Siouxland the area up around the lakes near Arnolds Park and Okoboji and others will begin to take on their fall demeanor. The trees turn color and it becomes very pretty, but the life begins to slow much like sap running through a tree. The lakes are a summer “thing” and people will begin to pursue other avenues of entertainment away from the lakes, except those who live there and others who like the fall.

The recent day I visited I had the chance to ride the Queen II and enjoy a cruise around West Lake Okoboji and learn more about its history. This was during the week. And while there were people about, the morning was pretty quiet as I made some photos and enjoyed a walk about.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Exploring Light in Siouxland, Lyon County

8 Aug

Some days when I am driving around Siouxland I try to have a destination in mind so I feel I have accomplished something on my excursion. I visit a place and record some images to share here.

And then, there are those days when even after I have visited some place and explored and recorded I become extremely jazzed when after a stormy evening and the weather is changing that clouds become amazing. Add to that the fact that there is still developing weather and then the light becomes amazing.

As clouds pass overhead the scene on the ground changes quickly. Unlike landscape photographers who “camp out” at a specific spot to capture the moment, I drive around the Siouxland area and sometimes am not able to safely pull over to photograph a scene so must sigh and continue on as the clouds continue moving across the sky.

But then, sometimes the “photography god” smiles and gives an image of two to make the day’s driving worthwhile.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Grain bins sit on the outskirts of a small community in Lyon County, Iowa Thursday Aug. 3, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Horses graze in a field in Lyon County, Iowa Thursday Aug. 3, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Watching the Clouds go by in Siouxland, rural Woodbury County

4 Aug

I remember as a kid I would sometimes lie on my back in the yard and just look up and see an expansive sky. Growing up on a farm one didn’t have tall buildings interfering with your view from the yard as one might in a city. The blue sky with clouds overhead sometimes made one think of large wads of cotton candy drifting by in a sea of blue.

I still love seeing clouds fill the sky and on days when I can chase them, I do. To me it makes a nice drive in the country. If I get a little shadow action on the ground to create a bit more mood, all the better. And yes, I will admit I use a polarizer filter. Guilty of sometimes making the sky too dark, too dramatic, but hey, it’s what I see.

Some people I know tsk, tsk the use of that filter, and especially the overuse of it or creating too dramatic a sky. And well, that’s fine. But if you look at some of my photos, you might want to close your eyes.

With clouds in the sky, the day just seems to be endless as they drift by adding something to the landscape and reminding one of childhood.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Cruising Siouxland on the Queen II, Okoboji

2 Aug

On a recent visit to the lake region of Iowa in Siouxland which includes the communities of Arnolds Park, Okoboji and Spirit Lake, I finally was able to take a cruise on West Lake Okoboji on the Queen II. When the lakes region around Arnolds Park and Okoboji became a resort area, a boat named the Queen brought visitors out onto the lake and showed off the region. The Queen II continues that history.

The Queen II prior to leaving for a cruise around West Lake Okoboji in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday July 24, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A passenger gets a better view of West Lake Okoboji from the Queen II during a cruise at Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday July 24, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The cruise gives a nice background history to the immediate lakes region and for those wanting to know more they can visit the Maritine Museum in Arnolds Park.

Capable of holding about 200 passengers, the skipper this day, Lance Freed, gave some general introductions then played some canned information that was informative and effective.

Lance Freed skippers the Queen II during a cruise around West Lake Okoboji in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday July 24, 2017, something he has been doing for 17 years. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Originally owned by farmers, the non-tillable area was sold off to various individuals who began selling plots of land to those who wanted a place on a lake. The then cottages, although still called that, were modest and small. Now some of them are multi-million dollar vacation homes, one is estimated to be worth $12 million. And the land itself around the lake, depending on which side, east or west, can run from $10,000 a square foot to $17,000 a square foot. Not your granddaddy’s little summer getaway.

Passengers taking a cruise on the Queen II around West Lake Okoboji in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday July 24, 2017 can see mutli-million dollar homes, euphemistically referred to as cottages, which line the lake shore. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But for the average Joe and his family, people can bring their boats, fish, waterski and pursue other summertime activities on or around the water and still enjoy a nice day out. I personally like being near the water but am not exactly a water person and not one to get in it and splash about. But on a warmish day with a breeze, it is hard to beat and just fun to learn a little more history about the area.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City,

Siouxland Summer brings Fresh Produce, Sioux City

4 Jun

Last year I was negligent in getting to any of the Farmers Market days in Sioux City. Various projects and it seems other needed agendas kept me away. This past week I visited the market. While technically still in the spring season, the offerings will begin to grow as summer gets even closer and vendors from throughout the Siouxland region bring their items to the market, here and other area towns. And delectable treats and organic food awaits for people to enjoy the fruits of others labor.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Finding a Photo in Siouxland, Sioux City

31 May

The last couple of days I have found myself doing yard work. Sometimes one just has to get some “chores” done as spring moves into summer. With warmer days ahead, now seemed a good time to do some sidewalk repair with a near perfect day with temps in the low 70’s and a breeze. When I finished I took a moment and laid back on the ground to view the sky above and wasn’t disappointed. And I didn’t have to go far in Siouxland to photograph the sky and clouds on a weather perfect day. I just needed to take the time to look up and then go get my camera.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Blue sky and white clouds on a weather perfect day in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, May 30, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Blue sky and white clouds on a weather perfect day in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, May 30, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Blue sky and white clouds on a weather perfect day in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, May 30, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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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