Enjoying Light and Shadow in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

1 Sep

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Because of the current virus pandemic sometimes it seems that options for getting out and enjoying nature can be limiting in Siouxland and nearby. But that also means it is just a photographic challenge looking for images when returning to the same venue. The Laurtitzen Gardens in Omaha, NE now has timed entries so the flow of people is controlled and it doesn’t get overly crowded and people are asked to be careful and distance themselves when outside and mask up when inside.

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The garden is all about plants, flora and fauna, green ones and pretty blooming ones. A variety that spans the seasons coming to fruition as those seasons change. However, the settings in which the gardens are placed have their own unique look depending on who is looking.

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The challenge of seeing beyond all the color and greenery can seem daunting. A strong summer sun helps to create those shadows underneath a canopy of green. And maybe taking a little time to enjoy the light play that comes with photographing a stark or near stark image breaks the monotonous of shooting color which can bring its own joy.

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A nice change of pace even for a photographer can be a good thing, learning to “see” differently and creating different results than one might normally obtain. A little variety in life can be good. On hot days, moving slowly and just looking can be rewarding and help reduce some sweat.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shadow at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Perseverance in Siouxland, Orange City

30 Aug

A grasshopper gets nowhere fast as it flies in place for a while before setting down and trying it again within minutes, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020 in Orange City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A motto created somewhere in time concerns perseverance and the continued attempts. I saw this little guy jumping into the air and then buzzing its wings until it fell to the earth again. Repeating the motion time and again, never really getting anywhere. I have no idea if it was something in its nature as an insect or not, but felt sad in that it didn’t appear to be succeeding in its endeavor. I know I will never know, which doesn’t diminish my thought of the grasshoppers continued trying and how life is that way sometimes.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Waiting to Hear the Music in Siouxland, National Music Museum, USD Vermillion, SD

28 Aug

The National Music Museum new wing construction continues on the campus of the University of South Dakota (USD) Vermillion, South Dakota Thursday, July 30, 2020.
(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It will be going on two years now that a new addition to the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD has been under construction. The museum houses a multitude of instruments from various centuries that covers a wide expanse of music that includes, classical, world and modern pop.

The museum also held various concerts depicting styles as well as an annual Christmas homage that was always well attended. Music and its appreciation is a nice thing, no matter one’s tastes and I look forward to once again wandering about looking at new additions as well as ones that may not have been previously displayed  because of space.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The National Music Museum which houses various types of instruments some dating from the 15th century to the present. The new wing construction continues on the campus of the University of South Dakota (USD) Vermillion, South Dakota Thursday, July 30, 2020.   (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The campus of the University of South Dakota (USD) in Vermillion, South Dakota Thursday, July 30, 2020.  (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Outdoors in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve

26 Aug

People enjoy a day out through various ways at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the hot days of summer linger and the heat and humidity once again ratchets up people still make some time to get out and enjoy the outdoors in Siouxland. One activity to get a little exercise and still feel safe in a large environment because of the virus. Mornings are generally best before the heat sinks in and each footstep feels a little heavier when the heavy air really hits one.

Signage added to trails help visitors understand more about Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Trails beckon at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a few different paths to take although most runners and bicycle enthusiasts stick to the gravel path. Although on more than one occasion I was almost hit as the bikes glide silently up on you and no one rings a bell or calls out until it’s almost too late. Call me grumpy, but courtesy in avoiding a disaster doesn’t seem too much to ask.

People maintain distance while exercising at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Just a nice day to take a walk in nature at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s nice to see some animal friends as well and also to make new ones while out walking. But the latter while curious, are still cautious and young enough to encounter a friendly person who bores them no harm, just delighted to see them out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

One of the donkeys that resides at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Curious young deer check out a visitor in their neck of the woods at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Soaring in Siouxland, Snyder Bend Park

24 Aug

 

A raptor soars above the earth at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days are just fine days, even in Siouxland, with a blue sky and sunshine, although the recent heat and humidity has made them a little less enjoyable. But then I look up and see a raptor or some bird soaring above enjoying the thermals and just taking in the sights. I pause, and realize I need to do the same, minus the soaring, but take in the sights and enjoy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Riding the thermals at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying Summertime at the Lake, Gull Point State Park, Milford

22 Aug

Gull Point State Park near Milford, Iowa Tuesday, July 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes a photo is worth a thousand words, or a few anyway. With one’s head in the clouds or cloud, and enjoying a nice summer’s day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Little bit of Sweden in Siouxland, Oakland, NE

20 Aug

Historically populated by immigrants from Sweden who settled the area in and around Oakland, NE Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Everyone comes from somewhere, even the people of Siouxland. The region is a bit of a European melting pot. I haven’t spent a lot of time exploring the smaller communities of Nebraska but finding some interesting places and people need to do a little more exploration.

Graduating seniors photos are displayed in the downtown area of Oakland, NE Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Downtown Oakland, NE Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Each community has its own charm and history. But the community itself is quaint and only requires a short walk about to see it the downtown area and some of the surrounding neighborhoods.

A colorfully painted scene on a building in downtown Oakland, NE Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A colorfully painted scene on a building in downtown Oakland, NE Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As fall gets closer it will hopefully become a little cooler and more inducement to walk about on a bright sunny day. And maybe other aspects of life will become a little safer as well for those wanting to explore a bit.

A posted sign in a grassy area in downtown Oakland, NE Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Older buildings are getting some makeovers in downtown Oakland, NE Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always fun and nice to “see” what’s around the corner or up the road a bit. I do miss popping into small cafes for lunch or coffee, preferring these days to carry a thermos and snack, which doesn’t replace the sometimes homemade pies and other goodies one might find at a cafe and a chance to chat with the folk there and learn a bit more about their community.

 

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A boarding house in downtown Oakland, NE Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Curbside Food to go in Siouxland, Rural Cherokee County

18 Aug

A turkey vulture swoops in to join some friends in a roadside meal in rural Cherokee County and near Quimby, Iowa Monday, July 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The advent of the coronavirus and its ancillary effects on people’s lives in Siouxland and elsewhere has been somewhat profound and probably the full extent will not be known until the virus is under control. People’s lives have changed including eating habits. Folk used to go out for meals but now many are dialing and asking for delivery or doing a pickup themselves. This kind of behavior I believe has been ongoing for years if not decades or longer in the animal world.

A turkey vulture looks up the roadway before feasting on some road kill in rural Cherokee County and near Quimby, Iowa Monday, July 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Raptors, especially turkey vultures, have been enjoying “curbside meals” for as long as I have seen them. Sometimes I have to be cautious driving in the country because these birds are reluctant to leave their meal once they found it alongside the roadway and I don’t want them flying up and into my vehicle when I pass by. These creatures would probably turn their heads and wonder why these two-legged creatures haven’t been doing this previously.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Turkey vultures find their meal interrupted as a car approaches their road kill dinner in rural Cherokee County and near Quimby, Iowa Monday, July 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Day Out in Siouxland, Snyder’s Bend Park, Woodbury County

16 Aug

Enjoying a walk with a friend at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursday, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) 

It’s always nice to get out and enjoy fresh air and a little exercise in Siouxland, and summertime is perfect for that. The outdoors can offer difference experiences to those who pursue them. No matter the age.

Making a catch at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursday, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) 

And enjoying oneself should not only be relegated to humans. Four legged friends also should enjoy themselves and then sharing that experience after the fact.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying a dip in the water at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursday, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Sharing with friends after a little dip at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursday, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Sharing with friends after a little dip at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursday, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) 

Missing Friends in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

14 Aug

 

One could almost hear hear this gorilla asking if closing time is near while visitors try to get its attention at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It would probably be an understatement that during this pandemic that people miss seeing their friends, even here in Siouxland. I read a recent feature story in a Nebraska newspaper where a zoo official said that while the zoo itself has been impacted with layoffs and less revenue coming in because of it like other businesses was shut down a number of months, this zoo official also thought some of the animals had missed seeing their human friends.

Two young boys get a closer look at one of the gorillas in the gorilla valley exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An orangutan rests in its exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Most people have had a pet in their life at one time or another, either as a child or later in adulthood. Or if not, certainly a friend. And while folk gov overboard at times for their pets, they each fill a space in one’s life that most people can appreciate. I would guess the same is true of animals at the zoo. Seeing hundreds, probably thousands of people pass by their exhibits. Some times when I have visited the zoo previously the gorillas seem distant or even a little annoyed at their human cousins by turning their backs to them and even hiding out of view of the windows there for people to see through. People staring, making gestures and of course trying to capture that perfect selfie.

Children check out a gorilla in the gorilla valley exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Maybe showing off a bit as this gorilla relaxes in the gorilla valley exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A gorilla checks out visitors during a family day in the gorilla valley exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This time I found most all of the gorillas interacting, as much as that is possible, with the humans passing through the exhibit. Some even showing off a bit as they lolled about in their enclosure, sometimes feigning awareness but warily watching. Although some, mothers in particular, kept trying to find someplace away from prying eyes as it fed its young, moving the little guy to different locations but not avoiding those damn tourists. And there were a number of young gorillas in and about the enclosure which also drew people’s attention as they watched them behave like any child.

A mother gives her child an close encounter with a gorilla in the gorilla valley exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

No privacy blankets for this mother trying to feed her young in the gorilla valley exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Although I did spy what I thought was an unusual addition to the exhibit as personnel did a little house cleaning. Also ignoring those prying visitors’ eyes as she went about her work.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A different species does a little house cleaning in the gorilla valley exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An entry point into the gorilla valley at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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