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Taking a Peek Inside Siouxland, Danforth Chapel USD Vermillion, SD

19 Apr

Working with B&W on a grey day on the campus of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Tuesday, Oct. 2 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and shad on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD, Tuesday, August 16, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have visited the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion a few times, sometimes for events and other times to just enjoy the ambiance. I have walked by the Danforth Chapel numerous times and enjoy the small church. And then recently found that one could actually take a peek inside. A student of a Photo Safari class of mine said a sister was married inside the chapel and it seemed smaller that what she remembered as a young girl.

Light and shade on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But it was amazing walking into the chapel because of the stained glass windows and with bright spring sunshine the inside became alive with color.

Lights filters through stain glass windows on the Danforth Chapel on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Lights filters through stain glass windows on the Danforth Chapel on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always tell students that no matter how many times one may visit a place, there can always be something different or new that pops up. And to me that just increases the joy of photography and what wonders await for a photo adventure.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Spring’s Rebirth in Siouxland, Preparation Canyon Park, Loess Hills

17 Apr

A turkey vulture soars overly newly burned grass during a control burn by Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes while driving around Siouxland a person gets lucky. And it probably depends on the person how luck is defined. Of course for some there’s this on the one hand, and then that on the other. Tradeoffs happen. As I found out early last week when I came upon a control burn in Preparation Canyon Park by the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources. Giving Mother Nature a little help in jumping into spring. I found some newly sprung wildflowers gracing part of a trail along with a couple of turkey vultures looking for anything of a fricasee nature after the burn.

Turkey vulture getting a close up view on the ground during an Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources control burn at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As ugly as the birds appeared sitting on the ground, they were very graceful gliding over the terrain looking for a meal.

A turkey vulture soars overly newly burned grass during a control burn by Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I will assume the DNR does this type of burn yearly, partially to control undergrowth and well as to rejuvenate what’s there. The trail leading from an observation deck is relatively short and a pleasant hike as long as the temperature is not soaring itself into the high 90’s or 100 with high humidity. During the summer without wind it can be pretty stifling walking the trail with tall grass and trees.

A large swath of land is now barren after Iowa’s Dept. of Natural Resources did a control burn at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources does a control burn at Preparation Canyon Park seen from its observation deck in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The downside of finding the burning going on is that later I found myself with a very sore throat I am guessing irritated by the something burned and taking a couple days off to recover. By this summer though the hilly park will be a pleasant place to spend a morning or afternoon. Although by then the two turkey vultures might be on to another area to look for meals.

Legend at the observation deck tells the history of the Loess Hills at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tueday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A turkey vulture soars overly newly burned grass during a control burn by Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And not far away in the valley below where farmers will soon be preparing their ground for planting, more burning was taking place, whether it was planned or not. The afternoon that particular day was smoke-filled and made breathing difficult. But am guessing someone believes it makes a difference.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A grass fire is seen from the observation deck at Preparation Canyon Park in rural Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spring Slowly emerges in Siouxland, Rural South Dakota

13 Apr

Flood water still fills a field bordering a main roadway in rural South Dakota Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finally it seems spring is beginning to flirt with the Siouxland area, some days of sunshine and cloud play with light over the landscape. But that doesn’t mean the area has rid itself entirely of winter or the leftover of bad weather that combined into too much water, liquid and frozen, that overran much Siouxland and others areas bordering it.

One main roadway is still closed because of flood water in rural South Dakota Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Still, it is nice to see sunshine and the light and shadow play that comes with clouds passing through, showing glimpses of what may yet be.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light play from the sun and moving clouds on a farm stead in rural South Dakota Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Nature and Man in Siouxland, Yankton, SD

9 Apr

Pidgeons take flight off of one of the towers at the Meridian Bridge, a long-time landmark, in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy the juxtaposition of manmade objects of whatever and nature and the interaction between. Man’s hand print is everywhere now. Overpowering in some places and definitely taking up space in others. But nature adapts and birds use some objects or structures to their own advantage. And on a beautiful spring day with temps in the 60’s and a little sunshine, what a wonderful time to do a little soaring with your friends and then take a break on a structure courtesy of man.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Pidgeons roosting around one of the towers on the Meridian Bridge, a long-time landmark, also enjoy a nice day in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Experiencing Museums Around Siouxland, Omaha, NE and Council Bluffs

7 Apr

An art installation hanging above the cafe area at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It doesn’t need saying that museums of all stripes are wonderful places to spend time. Whether it’s paintings, sculptures or history, I enjoy how most utilize its art or aspects of telling a story to engage visitors. And around the Siouxland region there are plenty of these places to enjoy. The Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha has art work in a public eating space, so one can marvel while enjoying a snack at the same time. The Union Pacific Railroad museum has an interactive railway agent that talks with visitors through a projection set up.

An almost real life looking ticket teller projection gives some history about the railroad while trying to sell you a ticket for the next train out at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

At the Durham Museum in Omaha there is a trolley display to show visitors what early transportation was like in the community. And a background mural was painted to put the trolly display into context, showing school children how these early day “buses” were used to transport city residents to other destinations. Sometimes it’s in the telling that also helps inform a viewer and put history into a context for understanding past events or experiences.

Replicating what an early days trolley car scene in Omaha appears like at the Durham Museum, formerly a Union Station, in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Understanding the past hopefully will make the future a better place for all of us and a little wiser in decisions going forward.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Looking for the Green in Siouxland, Rural Iowa

3 Apr

As the temperatures in the Siouxland region continue to rise, albeit slowly, I look forward to once again getting into my vehicle and driving about. Seeking whatever is over the next rise or pausing to enjoy the scene just outside my windshield.

Rural Plymouth County, Iowa, Monday, May 25, 2015. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Blue skies will return and the grass and surrounding countryside will begin to green up, leaving behind that barren winter look.

Near Smithland, Iowa rural Woodbury County Thursday, May 28, 2015. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Having grown up in the country, I enjoy tooling down a country road, be it gravel or black top. Not driving especially fast so that I can enjoy what I see and the quiet one generally finds in the country. Stop and listen, and you might hear birds, the wind, crickets, if it’s nearer dusk or evening and what some might call the sound of silence. Well, maybe to a city dweller.

Rural Plymouth County, Iowa, Monday, May 25, 2015. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The view can be expansive, even in the Midwest like in Siouxland, or a closer view of a country scene. While the photos themselves can’t relate all of the experience like freshly mowed alfalfa in a field, a nearby stockyard or the damp smell created by newly plowed earth or after a fresh rain, they can set up the experience to which a viewer if they so desire, then makes an effort to experience the same themselves.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Rural Plymouth County, Iowa, Monday, May 25, 2015. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographing in Siouxland, Durham Museum, Omaha, NE

1 Apr

Descending stairs at the Durham Museum, formerly a Union Station, in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes as one pursues his/hers photographic interests or various endeavors, clicking the shutter can be a leap of faith. Going somewhere while making images but not really certain where that somewhere will lead them.

I enjoy creating images with light and shade. The two work hand in hand to help create an image. To me at times the images can be intriguing and ambiguous, and at other times pretty straight forward.

But unless one clicks the shutter and captures a moment to share with others, one may never know. One foot in front of the other and one click of the shutter at a time. Following the light into the darkness and vice versa. And I guess it is as some folk say, it’s not the destination, but the journey.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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