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Enjoying a Nice Fall Evening in Siouxland, Onawa

15 Nov

The Fall Photo Safari class taking photographs at night in Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Probably my favorite season of the year, like many Siouxland folk, is fall. Sunset comes a little earlier and the weather is still pleasant. Of course, not so much this year as winter seems to have already arrived and along with it, colder evenings. But recently with a photography class we spend a pleasant evening shooting pictures at sunset and night. Students practicing long exposures and light painting. I enjoy the long exposures. Light painting is a practiced art of science as one learns to determine length of exposure and amount of light to add to a scene.

The Fall Photo Safari class taking photographs at night in Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Fall Photo Safari class taking photographs at night in Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And how one lights a scene or uses the “existing” light to effect determines the outcome of a photograph. These images are taken at the Monona County Memorial Museum and Freedom Rock in Onawa. The placement of the plane with a neighborhood in the background makes it difficult to make a clean photo of the exhibit, especially using a setting sun to accomplish it. So one must take liberties and use selective cropping within the camera for some images. And then find the right exposure to create that image.

The Fall Photo Safari class taking photographs at night in Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But a challenge is always good, especially for students. And to fail a couple of times while learning a new skill only reinforces that skill once success is accomplished and a sweet image produced.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Fall Photo Safari class taking photographs at night in Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Decking the Halls in Siouxland, Yankton, SD

13 Nov

Feeling the Yuletide spirit in downtown Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In Siouxland like many other places, communities and individuals begin showing their Christmas spirit early, and maybe earlier every year. While I lament the fact that Thanksgiving Day gets short shrift anymore, the intent of the Yuletide spirit and cheerfulness of the Christmas season for the most part is a good reason to celebrate that cheer all year long.

A Thanksgiving window hanging in downtown Onama seen during a Fall Photo Safari class taking photographs at night in Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Christmas cheer in downtown Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

During a recent visit to Yankton, SD, I came upon Christmas decorations, mostly in the downtown area, but also at the walking Meridian Bridge over the Missouri River. And seeing the decorations brought a smile to my face. Especially with all the hate that seems to fill the air these days during such a contentious political climate, and what seems to be never ending lies coming from “authority” figures which becomes apparent more each day who may never have spoken an honest word in their life.

A Christmas wreath decorates the Meridian Bridge, now a walking bridge, in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Window displays with Christmas tidings in downtown Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So seeing the decorations and thinking of the holiday makes me cheerful, hopeful and optimistic that maybe life could be better next year. My cynical side has its doubts, but more now I’ll revel in the thought of true good will to others and not just “political speak” where the words are spoken but not with any affection.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Christmas decorations popping up in downtown Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Another River Town outside of Siouxland, Clinton

3 Nov

A scene along the Mississippi River in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While on a trip I stopped into another river town across the state from Siouxland which I had not visited in many years. Clinton, Iowa is also a river town. The mighty Mississippi River runs along the eastern border of Iowa and gives many communities a nice scene to view. Many communities these days have done work to improve the quality of life for its residents which includes walks and in this case, a river walk for residents and visitors alike to enjoy.

A man gets his coffee and snacks to sit and enjoy the view of the Mississippi River in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The community developed a very nice riverscape along the Mississippi with walking and bike paths. While visiting it one morning I saw people come and go with their coffee, meeting friends to walk, or passing friends who were walking in the opposite direction of others. A nice way to start one’s day and enjoy the bonhomie which this redevelopment seems to inspire.

Friends stop to chat and enjoy the day on a river walk with the Mississippi River in the background in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A memorial ready for unveiling at a park along the Mississippi River walk in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

All citizens should be so lucky that its city leaders keep in mind some quality of life amenities to enjoy, even if it’s simply getting outside for a walk and time to enjoy the surrounding beauty and away from other modern day distractions.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A scene along the Mississippi River in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Light and Shade in Siouxland, Cherokee

28 Oct

Light and shade scene during a Photo Safari outing in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

During a recent class outing with a class I kept coming upon light and shade scenes in the town of Cherokee. I never tire of this particular motif. The day was warm and sunny. Lately the weather is wonky again with rain and overcast skies, making me think that fall will never arrive and winter will sneak in as much as snow and ice and do such a thing. But walking around in a short block or two these images kept popping up and I kept photographing. Even variations on a theme I never tire of them. Works for me.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shade scene during a Photo Safari outing in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and shade scene during a Photo Safari outing in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Another Small Town outside of Siouxland, Morrison, IL

26 Oct

Downtown Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A home under renovation along Hwy. 30 in Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In my youth my family would drive through the community of Morrison, IL on our way to visit relatives using Hwy. 30 which then was a major thoroughfare before the advent  of the many expressways built after the early 1960’s. It has a county courthouse and the county fair is held there. I also remember the grand homes that could be seen on the hill bordering Rte. 30 as vehicles made their way through town. The homes are still there and now that so many years have passed a few are undergoing some renovation. It’s nice to see they have survived and have not been torn down and replaced. The town began in the latter 1800’s and named for a wealthy merchant. And by becoming the county seat with the courthouse made certain the community would grow and survive.

Downtown Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A home on the hill along Hwy. 30 in Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A home along Hwy. 30 in Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The older homes still carry the elegance of the time period they originally were built. Appearing on the hill overlooking the downtown area and more than likely occupied by the the wealthier merchnants of the day. Many homes appear to retain their original character. Bot over time like older brick buildings that went up in the 19800’s and 1900’s, the expertise and construction cost for their material has also grown.

A home along Hwy. 30 in Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Landscaped home along Hwy. 30 in Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I know reading and seeing photos of residences and communities in the East like Boston and others in New York state, there the buildings are maintained and preserved. The Midwest being settled later came to that party later and while it might be possible in larger communities like Chicago or St. Louis, smaller communities can struggle to preserve these homes and commercial properties. A sign of the past that gives a little inkling of what came before present day and a look of life after the first influx of settlers who cleared the land and created those places or communities we now call home.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A home along Hwy. 30 in Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A home along Hwy. 30 in Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Literate History in Siouxland, John G Neihardt and Bancroft, NE

18 Oct

People attend the John G Neihardt Day celebration at the Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The John G Neihardt Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Every year citizens and literary fans of John G Neihardt get together to celebrate his life at a small museum dedicated to him and his writings. Scholars attend and extol his virtue and foresightedness plus his friendship with another culture at the time of his life, Native Americans living in the area.

Pathways of understanding and turmoil in a garden site at the John G Neihardt Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Pathways of understanding and turmoil in a garden site at the John G Neihardt Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The study that Niehardt wrote in is preserved and one can gaze into it and wonder about this person who didn’t dislike his aboriginal neighbors but rather embraced and learned from them. Writing tomes about his friendship and their beliefs. In today’s crazed society to publish every little nuance and inkling at first blush of thought, this man was more introspective and deliberate in putting his thoughts to paper and sharing those insights. Something which seems a little quaint these days.

The John G Neihardt study where he did much of his early writing at the Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The John G Neihardt study where he did much of his early writing at the Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I can’t really assume that simple times meant simpler thoughts. It’s just that maybe folk took a little longer to ponder and consider before engaging. Life was hard then as it is now. It may just be hard in a different fashion. But taking time to reflect and think is something that never really goes out of fashion but seems often overlooked in today’s society.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People attend the John G Neihardt Day celebration at the Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People attend the John G Neihardt Day celebration at the Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The John G Neihardt study where he did much of his early writing at the Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The John G Neihardt study where he did much of his early writing at the Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Small Town away from Siouxland, Mt. Vernon

16 Oct

I enjoy the area of Siouxland in which I live. But it is nice to get out once in a while and visit other places outside of this region. Most places have similarities rather than differences. I enjoy the architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries when many of Iowa’s small communities came into being.

Downtown Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I stopped in at Mt. Vernon because of seeing some architecture along the roadway I was on, historic Rte. 30 or Lincoln Highway. A stretch of roadway that crossed the continental United States giving people with automobiles a chance to see as little or as much of the country without traveling by train. Many of these small communities still have stunning homes and businesses for buildings dating from the mid to late 1800’s. Mt Vernon came into being as a result of the U.S. battle with Chief Black Hawk who fled the area and the tribal lands were confiscated as was the case with many native people’s lands when the expansion west was underway.

A church near downtown Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Downtown Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The community is home to a liberal arts college which keeps it infused with younger people who come and go and possibly stay to raise their own families in a place they call home for at least four years. Quaint with a number of eateries downtown and a short walk from the college.

A mural on a downtown building’s wall in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Historic homes in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The community is extremely walkable and on a nice day it has places to visit and relax and enjoy. I am sure during an academic school year there are many events and other festivities taking place both in town and on the college campus. A nice combination for any community and the possibility to enjoy simple fruits of life in a picture perfect setting.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A city park just off of downtown Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A closed Mt. Vernon visitors center in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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