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Seeing Perspective in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm lake

12 Nov

No matter how many times I visit a place in Siouxland, I always find something I have missed or want to revisit. And sometimes I find myself using the compositional technique of framing to help solidify what I want a viewer to see. Other times its placement of a subject within a frame using negative space to help reinforce where a viewer’s eye should go. But then again, a viewer might disagree with me. But I always enjoy the challenge and better yet, just getting out and revisiting a place and breathing some fresh air and enjoying the day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Checking out views through the Victory Arch of the Schaller Memorial Chapel on campus at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Victory Arch on the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A poem on a bronze plaque affixed to the Victory Arch asking students to do well but be their own beacons of light and freedom as they graduate from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Curiosity always wins while Traveling Siouxland, Lytton

10 Nov

Recently while doing some work in Siouxland I came across the small community of Lytton. Many times traveling to smaller towns requires an effort simply because they may not be on a major roadway that passes through them. And being a curious sort, I always need to stop and walk about. I especially liked the community’s link to an agricultural industry. The small community of no more that a few hundred individuals is anchored by a grain elevator and a farm dealer displays his wares in the downtown area where the business is located.

A grain elevator anchors one end of downtown Lytton, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Farm equipment forsale in downtown Lytton, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I tried finding a bit of history about the community doing an online search, but didn’t find anything that would give a quick cursory look into the community’s past. But it seemed a clean, orderly place to stop and visit and when there is more time, maybe a second look when work doesn’t beckon.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A quiet downtown Lytton, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A street leads out of downtown Lytton, Iowa into the country and a cornfield, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One last Communion with Fall near Siouxland, Hitchcock Nature Center

4 Nov

I’ve only visited Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County just south of Siouxland once before. But it’s a very nice park of just over 1,200 acres situated in the Loess Hills of western Iowa.

A view of the surrounding countryside from a tower at the lodge atHitchcock Nature Center in Pottawatamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 16 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The lodge and lookout tower sits on a hill for excellent views at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawatamie COunty near Honey Creek, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 16 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It has a number of trails and a lodge that sits atop a hill and looks out over the surrounding area. There is also a watch tower at the lodge we allows birders to track the various migration periods when the birds are heading either north or south, depending on the season. The one aspect of the park I like is the elevated board walk which allows some accessibility to those with wheelchairs or walkers to “get into the woods” for a quarter mile or so with stops along the way and picnic tables for those who pack a lunch or want to stay a bit and enjoy the quietude and nature.

Part of an elevated board walk trail at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawatamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 16 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An elevated nature trail at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawatamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 16 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s just a nice way to spend part of a day putting aside the daily rush of events and happenings and imagining what the area must have looked like to explorers and first settlers when the prairie grass still covered a large portion of land before farming began. And it’s nice to know they are concerned enough citizens who have the foresight to set aside parcels of land for others to enjoy and for future generations as well as themselves. A place to reset one’s thoughts and take a pause in life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A valley and farmsteads below a hilltop at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawatamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 16 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Sunshine after a number of days of rainy fall weather made leaves almost sparkle at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawatamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 16 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A view from an elevated board walk trail at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawatamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 16 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Experimenting with Vision in Siouxland, Le Mars

2 Nov

One of the photo sessions I like to do for my Fall Photo Safari class is have the students shoot at night. It requires a little different skill set and makes people stop and think a bit as the sun sets and night comes on. Different white balances, higher ISO’s, faster apertures if the lens allows. But I find it all part of the learning process. But it can also give them a chance to experiment and create more arty photos than strictly documenting. And it’s another way of exploring Siouxland, something I myself don’t do often enough.

Shooting at dusk during the Fall Photo Safari class during the evening in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 27 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Shooting at night during a short rain for the Fall Photo Safari class during the evening in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 27 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Throughout the evening walking about Le Mars it rained off and on. The photo of the Blue Bunny ice cream sign is nice in and of itself, but I really like the drops of rain hitting a puddle with the sign’s reflection showing. These are the kinds of opportunities I like to point out and the fact that I was using one of the florescent white balance settings that enhanced the colors a bit rather than shooting a more traditional documentary image.

Shooting at night one must be a bit patient, because opportunities will avail themselves.

Shooting at night during the Fall Photo Safari class during the evening in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 27 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Shooting at night during the Fall Photo Safari class during the evening in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 27 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I also did a quick demonstration of using off-camera flash than can sometimes help enhance a subject or add a little extra.

Lori poses for a quick off-camera speed lite demonstration while shooting at night during the Fall Photo Safari class during the evening in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 27 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I know I took close to a couple hundred images in the span of one and a half hours. But I like shooting and attempting various possible photographs, some which work, and others that fail miserably. But, it informs me the next time I want to try something similar or find a situation I find interesting.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Shooting at night during the Fall Photo Safari class during the evening in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 27 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Shooting at night during the Fall Photo Safari class during the evening in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 27 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Shooting at night during the Fall Photo Safari class during the evening in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 27 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying History and Creating images in Siouxland, Winnebago, NE

30 Oct

Recently I’ve been working on a project photographing a statue garden and attempting to create some imagery to showcase the small, park-like area. This statue garden is in Ho-Chunk Village in Winnebago, NE, home to the Winnebago Tribe.

the Winnebago Clan Statue Garden in Winnebago, NE, Wednesday, Oct. 3 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Statue Garden of Tribe Clans in Ho Chunk Village in Winnebago, NE Thursday, Oct. 11 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have been photographing at different times of the day and using a single light to help light some of the clan statues to being a little more emphasis to the subjects and thereby viewer attention to the park. Some days have been quite windy, others very brick and chilly to downright cold, but in the end, it seems worth it to help highlight a local culture in Siouxland and a proud people preserving their heritage and working toward a better future.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Clan Statue Garden in Ho Chunk Village in Winnebago, NE Friday, Oct. 19 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Statue Garden of Tribe Clans in Ho Chunk Village in Winnebago, NE Thursday, Oct. 11 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Clan Statue Garden in Ho Chunk Village in Winnebago, NE Friday, Oct. 19 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating Apple Fest in Siouxland, Woodbine

26 Oct

A good crowd braved a soggy day to attend the Apple Festival in Woodbine, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This Siouxland fall has been a bit trying for people. For farmers, some have only started getting their crops out of the field. For others, community celebrations and other events held in the fall have seen cool, wet weather. This was true of Woodbine’s Apple Fest this year.

Enjoying a wet day and checking out the vendors during the Apple Festival in Woodbine, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bit of rain all day long was the order for the day at the Apple Festival in Woodbine, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I did find it interesting for an apple festival there was only one vendor actually selling the fruit, and a church organization selling carmel covered apples. The festival mostly seemed to revolve around the cars people brought to display. A local sheriff’s deputy explained to me on those festival days in past years with sunshine and better weather, they could have been an additional 250 cars sitting around town for people to enjoy.

Checking out the classic cars downtown during the Apple Festival in Woodbine, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

During a soggy day, people tried to keep dry while downtown with the classic car display during the Apple Festival in Woodbine, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Street art on display as well as classic cars at the Apple Festival in Woodbine, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Of course it wasn’t only the traditional four wheel vehicles that got judged for competition. Being an agricultural area, it was nice to see some tractors and admirers taking in the scene.

Some people were not just only enjoying classic cars downtown at the Apple Festival in Woodbine, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The judges seemed to do their best to work with the wet conditions, although I thought wet paper and a bleeding pen would give them “cover” if someone one and someone else complained about it. “I was sure I had written these numbers, but with the wet paper I must have read it wrong.”

Judges try to keeping from getting wet along with their judging sheets during the Apple Festival in Woodbine, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And people did their best to stay dry and enjoy the festivities and walk about the downtown area enjoying themselves on a fall weekend.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Trying to keep dry during a soggy day at the Apple Festival in Woodbine, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A vendor works at keeping rain out of her display area during a soggy day at the Apple Festival in Woodbine, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Art Doubles in Siouxland, Sioux Falls and Vermillion, SD

24 Oct

I was pleasantly surprised while checking out some downtown areas during my outings in Siouxland and nearby locales that I thought I was seeing doppelgangers. And as it turned out, I was in a way. I came across an artist, Will Vannerson, who is creating a series of metal sculptures titled “Borbor” and then numbered. I always find it odd when something in the back of my mind starts getting a sense that I have seen something before, and there it was, just slightly different. It’s also nice to see an artist being successful. Whether or not that is true monetarily I have no idea, but at least his works are being viewed by many in various places.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Artist Will Vannerson Borbor #6 galvanized steel sculpture in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Artist Will Vannerson Borbor #7 galvanized steel sculpture in downtown Vermillion, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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