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Nature in Siouxland and the Enviroment, Yankton, SD

20 Jun

Again on a visit to Yankton, SD in Siouxland, I walked about taking in a nice day and searching for visuals that I didn’t previously see and actually recognized. This time it struck me that many communities, larger ones as opposed to smaller ones, really try to infuse the culture of both an urban landscape and nature. The two are actually competing entities it seems to me. And many studies I am sure have delved into the co-existence of them so that the heat given off by all of the cement parking lots and other structures do not detract from living in a town.

I saw the two co-existing together as well as they could while on my walk in Yankton and tried to isolate them with just the two forms competing within my visuals frame. Good, bad or indifferent, man does what he deems necessary. I just hope nature continues to ride along.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Revisiting Places in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

21 May

As I travel about the Siouxland area I am constantly returning to places that I have previously visited. And when I do so with classes it becomes a challenge to not see the same things either physically or visually. Although it’s hard not too. Vermillion, SD is a small college community. Its college buildings on the University of South Dakota campus there were built in the late 1800’s and then more recently in the 1950’s as it expanded. There are also newer buildings, but sometimes they are not as interesting as the older ones. The same is true in the town itself.

I took my class to a section of town I had been to maybe a month or more previously. The light was different on my return visit with my class. Sunny, a little cool, but pleasant. So I tried to shoot a little differently. I was aiming for darker images than I got. Even after a couple of years working with my Fuji mirrorless cameras I am still trying to get some images I see or “pre-see”. But I was happy with the results. And I saw opportunity in a building shot I did on the university’s campus that I will need to return and explore, probably earlier so I have more of the directional light to work with. Familiarity can help inform one’s shooting and give you a perspective when trying a different approach. Plus, every day is a new day photographically.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying a Spring Day in Siouxland, Sioux Falls, SD

2 May

In early April I took a trip up to Sioux Falls, SD to enjoy lunch at a little eatery I found and to just enjoy a warm day in spring. Currently the weather is much cooler again with rain, and that is too be expected. But the nice day brought like-minded people out as they too came to Falls Park in Sioux Falls to enjoy sunshine, the water and just being in the moment.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Trying new Visual Undertakings in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

28 Apr

One trip I took in early April to Vermillion, SD found me walking around the campus of the University of South Dakota on a grey, cool day. There really wasn’t much in the way of color appearing and lights and shadows were really nonexistent. Because I didn’t like what I saw in color I decided to photograph in B&W. The writing on a sundial was easier to read in B&W and I thought I would see if I could create a little story about a garden area on the campus by continuing to shoot in B&W. There is a little garden called Shakespeare Garden and dedicated I believe to the bard. A snippet I found online says the gardens contains flowers, shrubs and herbs mentioned in Shakespeare’s works.

Shooting in B&W helps me isolate items in a couple of the photos but overall are not stellar images. But without trying, and maybe failing, one never knows if an attempt succeeds or not. But for the gloomy kind of spring day it was, I had a nice cup of coffee and snack in a student center later that hit the spot. Sometimes trips are hard to capture via image through the camera, but can leave an indelible impression or image in one’s mind.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

History in Siouxland, the Pettigrew House and Museum, Sioux Falls, SD

19 Apr

On a trip in Siouxland to Sioux Falls, SD, I stopped by a historical house and museum of one R.F. Pettigrew. This gentleman was the first sitting U.S. Senator from the state of South Dakota. He also sounded like a bit of a rough and tumble character, actually involved in a brawl with another politician, beating someone with his cane. Evidently gentleman were not synonymous with genteel. Pettigrew however did much for the city of Sioux Falls in its early days and was also a world traveler. There is a small collection of items in the museum from Egypt and the Orient from his travels.

It’s fun to learn about local history, even if it is next door and to find out how places were shaped through the actions of its citizens.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Enjoying Spring Colors in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

15 Apr

I as many am waiting for the flowers to bloom and the grass to turn greener in Siouxland. On a recent trip to hear a speaker at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, it was a grey and overcast day. The ground still looking like winter, just without the snow. So I was happy to see a little “artificial” color introduced to the campus by students I am guessing. Their brand new bikes ready for adventures minus the snow and slush to drive through. The bubble gum colors made me smile. And the school’s one color is red, which all the bike stands and other items like benches are painted on campus.

And I only wondered how the individuals were dressed that were riding these bikes. Hopefully not in chic black.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Learning Tolerance in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

9 Apr

This past week I visited the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD. I wanted to hear a child Holocaust survivor speaking there about her experience in a centration camp and get an impression of what life must have been like in the 1930’s and ’40’s for Jews. It was overwhelming. Inge Auerbacher survived the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia where she and her immediate family were sent. Other members of her family, like her grandparents were not so lucky, or other people the family met at the camp. It’s hard to understand the meanness in people’s hearts that force other people into terrible situations or cause them to suffer. And recent world events bring those horrors into focus in current history.

Auerbacher was involved in a short film of her return to where she lived as a young child from birth to maybe 6 years old before being forced into hiding and then to a concentration camp. This piece is only an introduction to the 25 minute one she showed the university students and others who attended. As she stated, she is 82 this year, and soon those affected by the Nazis who killed them and did such harm will soon be dead, and that immediate telling of history will be lost.

The sad thing is the hate that supports such behavior appears to still be alive and well and will probably continue to exist in the current history and foreseeable history until somehow it and the souls who insist on being haters are both eradicated from the world.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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