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Enjoying an Urban Photo Walk in Siouxland, Omaha, NE

22 Jun

Attending a photo walk in the Old Market area during a Rockbrook Camera Urban Walk outing in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A passerby in the Old Market area during a Rockbrook Camera Urban Walk outing in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy photographic outings in and around Siouxland. One never knows what one might come across.  I recently attended a photographic Urban Walk in Omaha with some friends of the local camera club of Sioux City. We and other interested photographers assembled at a camera store in Omaha, NE that provides classes and occasional outings and it was interesting to hear others talk about exploring local landscapes and talk with fellow enthusiasts, most being from the Omaha area. Instructors were on hand to help guide those needing assistance as was a gentleman from Sigma who brought along an assortment of lenses that those attending the class could try out, from extreme telephoto to ultra wide angle. The walking tour centered around the Durham Museum and Old Market in Omaha.

Checking results during a photo shoot in the Durham Museum during a Rockbrook Camera Urban Walk outing in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Photographing historical scenarios in the Durham Museum during a Rockbrook Camera Urban Walk outing in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Many of us just spent the time wandering and looking and taking photos. It was a nice way to spend a day with overcast yet no rain weather. Although at times the skies threatened a downpour judging by the thunder claps, it never happened, or rather, passed by the area we were photographing in.

An early evening stroll seen in the Old Market area during a Rockbrook Camera Urban Walk outing in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Checking image results in the Old Market area during a Rockbrook Camera Urban Walk outing in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As I tell students who attend my photography classes at a local community college, what a great way to spend a day, just taking photos and enjoying the experience.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Attending a photo shoot in the Old Market area during a Rockbrook Camera Urban Walk outing in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Preparing for the next photo shoot in the Durham Museum during a Rockbrook Camera Urban Walk outing in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A View from the Top in Siouxland, Mulberry Bend Overlook

20 Jun

A view of the Missouri River separating Nebraska (this side) and South Dakota and the Newcastle (NE) and Vermillion (SD) Missouri River Bridge at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019. (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

I came across a roadway leaving Vermillion, SD that crosses into Nebraska in Siouxland recently that I wasn’t familiar with but was pleasantly surprised. The bridge crossing brings one to the Mulberry Bend Overlook that sits on the Nebraska side of the Missouri River and looks out over the river and back into South Dakota. It was easy to spend an hour looking over the landscape and hiking a couple of accessible trails that were short but nice.

Information tablets and a rest area at the top of Mulberry Bend Overlook above the Missiouri River near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A family makes it way along a trail above the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

It’s these kinds of excursions that I enjoy coming across when out and about in the area. Something unexpected, although not for locals probably. It will be a great site to revisit during different times of the year as well as the scenery will change with seasons.

A trail leads down below the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019, and a different view of the Newcastle (NE) and Vermillion (SD) Missouri River Bridge. (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A bench and an information tablet in a rest area off of a trail below the Mulberry Bend Overlook overlooking the Missouri River near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

The bridge was only recently constructed within the last decade or so but makes it so much nicer to travel back and forth between the two states without driving miles away to cross over the Missiouri in Yankton, SD. But some history lessons are also included for those so inclined.

The Newcastle (NE) and Vermillion (SD) Missouri River Bridge at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

An information tablet along with others gives background information about the area at a rest point at Mulberry Bend Overlook above the Missiouri River near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

The views and really pleasant and spending time just looking and enjoying and hearing nature without a lot of other “white noise”, at least there were only a few other individuals there when I visited the site.

Possibly another little adventure to add to one of my Photo Safari classes I teach at a local community college, thinking those who attend that particular class will enjoy the views as much as I.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A view from a trail above the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A look at the Missouri River from a trail below the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Hands-on Learning in Siouxland, Young Journalists ply their Craft, Orange City

16 Jun

 

World Journalism Institute summer workshop participants Rebekah, left and Micaela, right, prepare their cameras to interview a subject in Orange City, Iowa Saturday May 26, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Recently I met two young ladies who were “learning” and expanding their knowledge of journalism, studying at Dordt University in Sioux Center, attending the World Journalism Institute workshop. The workshop gives them “real-life” experiences reporting stories about locals through which they write, photograph, collect audio and video and produce different end projects so they get a taste of what the various mediums are available to today’s journalists. And the institute from what I understand does this through a more Christian perspective, as per a description on the Institute’s website:

“Our mission is to recruit, equip, place and encourage journalists who are Christians. Journalism is a high calling. WJI is concerned with covering news that remembers the needs of the “uns”: the unborn, the uneducated, the unemployed, and the unfashionable. At WJI’s summer course, you will learn how to hone your writing skills for God’s glory. Journalists and editors who’ve spent decades reporting at home and abroad will grow and challenge you. You can actually get paid to write history’s rough draft, and WJI prepares you for that experience. You’ll witness firsthand social and political settings you might never have been able to access otherwise.”

I met the women in Orange City where remnants of the recent Tulip Festival was still evident on a nice, finally, spring day. Rebekah and Micaela had many questions to which I probably only had a few answers and hope my sharing stories and experiences benefited them a little bit.

Families take photos of still blooming tulips at Windmill Park near downtown Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

Tulips still bloom a week after the Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Students from the workshop were scattered about the region covering stories of interest, and maybe of near interest as I heard of disappointing almost happened stories that fell through and the students were scrambling to fulfill their assignments.

And there were probably other opportunities for stories in Orange City as it seemed especially busy that Saturday morning I visited with them which is a good thing, because I have been there previously when it was more quiet.

A young boy twirls a flag as he walks in downtown Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A family prepares to take photos of three people inside the Wooden Shoe at Windmill Park in Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Having previously worked for a few different small community newspapers I always enjoyed doing stories in small towns. Again, getting a chance to learn about a place and its residents and sharing their stories with their neighbors and friends. One never knows who one might meet or what story might unfold if you take the time to listen and ask about people’s experiences. And hopefully these two young women and their colleagues spent a fruitful two weeks learning and refining their own skills and creating the kinds of mistakes one only wants to make once as they strive to become storytellers, better listeners, and empathetic to those entrusting them with shared tales.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

World Journalism Institute summer workshop participant, Micaela, photographs a subject she and partner Rebekah just interviewed in Orange City, Iowa Saturday May 26, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

World Journalism Institute summer workshop participants Rebekah, right and Micaela, left, prepare their cameras to interview a subject in Orange City, Iowa Saturday May 26, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Expanding History in Siouxland, The National Music Museum, Vermillion, SD

14 Jun

An expansion project for the National Music Museum on the campus of the University of South Dakota is underway in Vermillion, South Dakota Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

An expansion is underway for the The National Music Museum in Vermillion, SD, where there is a vast collection of musical instruments on display in Siouxland and now with the expansion more will be seen as exhibit space and restoration space grows. The museum won’t be open again until sometime in 2020. I have enjoyed a few musical celebrations in the small performance space which I understand will be enlarged as will an exhibit area to showcase more instruments the museum has acquired and a larger research facility available for those interested.

So for the time being local residents and visitors can only walk by and speculate about the progress and what might lie in store for them once the expansion project is complete.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

National Music Museum staff move items out of the facility on the campus of the University of South Dakota as an expansion project gets underway in Vermillion, South Dakota Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

An expansion project for the National Music Museum on the campus of the University of South Dakota is underway in Vermillion, South Dakota Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

The National Music Museum on the campus of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. where inside members of brass quintet play Christmas music. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and Shadow in Siouxland, Yankton, SD

10 Jun

The Mead Cultural Education Center, a former mental institution for women, now houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy a good light and shadow display no matter how fleeting or seemingly impossible it might appear to be. The interplay and ying and yang of the two opposites can create interesting images and on especially sunny days, the possibilities are endless.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Mead Cultural Education Center is undergoing a restoration before competing exhibits of the Dakota Territorial Museum and other historical artifacts under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The exterior of the Mead Cultural Education Center is graced with many columns that adorned architecture of the period. It formerly was a mental institution for women and now houses area historical content and the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Perspective in Siouxland, Little Sioux

8 Jun

Sometimes it truly is in the eye of the beholder when a person sees something it is very important in how they see something. Perspective gives an individual an “informed” viewpoint, no matter the subject. In photography I believe that is also true. And how one sees subjects to photograph juxtaposed to other elements included in the frame and can interest, or distract.

A ready field for a later in town harvest seen during a Spring Photo Safari outing in Little Sioux , Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

I found it interesting to find a field “in town” ready for planting. I need to go back to see if it is just a large garden, or a corn or soybean crop. Sunflowers would be a fun crop as well and add interest to a small community. Then again, some scenes only occur at certain points in the year as nature takes its course and winter progresses into spring, into summer and then fall. And in that it is up to the one seeing and recording what those scenes might be and of what interest they may hold to other viewers.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Spring blooms during a Spring Photo Safari outing in Little Sioux , Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying the Outdoors in Siouxland, Preparation Canyon State Park

6 Jun

Spring emerges after an Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources burn off recently seen during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Time spent outdoors is always time spent well I believe, barring the fact that it isn’t a blizzard or a -20 degrees temperature with 40 mph wind gusts. And there are many nice places in Siouxland to spend some outdoor time, like Preparation Canyon State Park situated in the Loess Hills area of western Iowa which runs from Sioux City down past Council Bluffs. The Dept. of Natural Resources gives this history of the park, “The 344 acre the park encompasses what was once the town of Preparation. In 1853, Charles B. Thompson broke from the Mormon wagon train to Utah after receiving a message from the “Spirit.” The Mormon leader and elder led 50 to 60 Mormon families to Kanesville, now Council Bluffs. Upon much searching, Thompson and a few select men chose the area called “Monona,” an Indian name meaning “Peaceful Valley.” Here they organized the town of Preparation, complete with houses and schools and started Monona County’s first newspaper which Thompson owned and operated.”

On a recent class outing for my Spring Photo Safari class through a Lifelong Learning program at Western Iowa Tech Community College we spent some time at the overlook, as the actual park with camping sites is down the road maybe 2-3 miles. And not far from here also is a cemetery of early pioneers as well as more recent local residents interred in a bucolic setting with the wind creating a concert of sound along with chirping birds.

A quiet spring day during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was only a week or two earlier that the DNR had done a controlled burn in early spring which I believe is a yearly occurrence. The area had rebounded and spring green was gradually coming to life giving the area a fresh face for another outdoor season, well, an outdoor season that doesn’t include trudging through snow.

A ridge line trail taken during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Spring emerges after an early burn off by Iowa’s Dept. of Natural Resources seen during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

There is a nice trail that leads out from the overlook into the adjoining area that is not overly difficult and gets one into the pastoral setting, giving a visitor a chance to explore and see what is over the next hill and dale without going to far off the beaten path and after some exertion, a chance to return to the overlook, rest, and then continue the journey through the Loess Hills and the chance to find other places to explore and ponder what it must have been like for the early settlers in the later 1850’s as some made their way west and others settled into the area to begin life anew.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Hiking a trail for a better photo perspective during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Pausing to enjoy a nice day outside during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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