Seeing Color in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

1 Aug

Some days during the summer it can be just a nice day to be out and seeing nature. On a recent visit to Arnolds Park I tried not to take in a broad view of places I have seen a few previous times, but looked for something photographically that appealed to me yet was something I had not really pursued. It seems easy to get caught in the same wagon train rut and ride along just trying to photograph something familiar but differently. And sometimes when relaxing and not really thinking about what it is exactly that you want to do differently, ideas appear. And the days seems all the brighter for it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Looking for color in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Looking for color in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Getting the Flutters near Siouxland, Butterfly House in Sioux Falls, SD

30 Jul

A photographer gets more of a close-up of a butterfly than he anticipated during the Summer Photo Safari class at the Butterfly House and Marine Cove in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday, July 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I had an opportunity to take some students to Sioux Falls, SD recently and visit the Butterfly House and Marine Cove. The Butterfly House can be challenging to photograph inside, where it is hot, humid (naturally) and the little creatures flutter and alight and leave within the blink of an eye. To the amusement of some and some consternation on the part of the others.

A young boy tries to convince the hitchhiking butterfly to leave his cap along while visiting the Butterfly House and Marine Cove in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday, July 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The little creatures number a variety of species and flutter about oblivious to their human visitors while just feeding or drifting on the inside air currents. A bit of nature up close and personal which doesn’t seem to bother the delicate creates.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Two women enjoy their close-up encounter with a butterfly at the Butterfly House and Marine Cove in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday, July 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A butterfly takes a break from flight during the Summer Photo Safari class at the Butterfly House and Marine Cove in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday, July 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Moment in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

28 Jul

Sitting on a dock and soaking in a summer’s day in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Many times when I am out and about in Siouxland, most times looking for photographic opportunities, there are times when I just stop and enjoy the moment. Some one I read along the way said how can a person really enjoy photography if they don’t enjoy the view, or something to that effect. And most assuredly this person was not talking about war photography or human life crises. But nature, where it’s possible to be in one’s own zone and embrace what’s there. There is truth to another older saying that if one doesn’t stop to smell the roses at some point, the beauty and inspiration gets passed by.

Jerry L Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Celebrating History, 150 years worth in Siouxland, Washta

25 Jul

Recently the small community of Washta celebrated its sesquicentennial or 150 years of being a community. It’s a small community of a little over 200 people who came together and had three days to commemorate its being in existence. I attended the day the small town had a parade and even though the temperatures were hitting high notes that day, people came out to enjoy the festivities and enjoy themselves.

Classic cars lined the downtown street prior to the parade for the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People line up for a box lunch of pulled pork and sides during the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have visited a number of small communities since starting this blog and some after 100 years are faring better than others. With changing times, demographics  and employment, small communities sometimes find it hard to continue. So it’s a blessing and a joy seeing people revel in their community’s existence and enjoy the day. Small town festivities are like no others that one will encounter. During the parade a man yelled out to someone in the parade asking if he still had seen corn to sell. With the current heavy rains, some farmers are having to replant some fields which were drowned out. It’s that kind of atmosphere and closeness that is nice to see. As well as people who probably have lived their entire life there remembering past times as they watched the parade.

An older farmer watches the parade and probably remembers years past during the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A small band plays during the parade at the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With a number of smaller communities losing young people to “big” cities it’s nice to see a slice of Americana that still exists in a small way and for people to still enjoy a slower and more quiet way of life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A grain elevator can be seen in the background during the parade of the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Only in smaller farm communities will children wave at farm implements participating in a parade like the one for the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Zen and Photography in Siouxland, Hillview Park

23 Jul

Sometimes when I am out driving around Siouxland I have no set destination but am just looking. Looking at vistas or clouds if they happen to be in the sky that particular day. Clouds and light, and how the two interact. My mind kind of goes onto autopilot and I chase the light and the clouds and try as best as I can to combine the two. Some days are better than others, but each day is another day enjoying what is there to see.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Clouds appear to be rising up in the sky in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Tuesday June 26, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Plants near the edge of a small manmade lake at Hillview Park in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Tuesday June 26, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding a quiet corner in Siouxland, Homer, NE

21 Jul

When out driving about Siouxland it’s always the little gems that stick out in my mind. One such place I recently came across was in Homer, NE, a small community of maybe 550 people. I had not been to Homer in a few years, but it was with interest and delight to find someone had created a small quiet zone in the downtown area.

The downtown area of Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A path leads into a quiet space near the downtown area of Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am never bashful in checking out places and I didn’t see anyone on the street as I drove up to park and walk about.  But it is nice that people take the time to create something that they and others can enjoy and give a person a break from a hectic world, no matter one’s occupation or place in the scheme of life. But finding a little solitude and a respite is always a good thing to contemplate and enjoy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A path leads into a quiet space near the downtown area of Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A quiet space near the downtown area of Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A small signpost gives options in a quiet space near the downtown area of Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Near downtown Homer, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Color or B&W in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve

19 Jul

When I am out photographing in Siouxland my mind jumps back and forth between taking photos in color and B&W. People who attend my courses sometimes wonder about taking pictures in B&W and I firstly just encourage them to try it. Most cameras have a monochrome setting that allow users to take photos in B&W. This pics will not look like the black and white of yesterday, not without a bit of tweaking in a post processing software like Photoshop, Lightroom, Silver Efex Pro or Alien Skin.

I personally shoot with a Fuji X series camera that has excellent film simulation setting allowing me to shoot in a B&W setting.

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The question though that a person needs to ask is when is the appropriate time for using B&W. In the above example either color or B&W works as a medium since both has contrast within the image that makes either work. But mostly it comes down to whether or not a color photo or scene will render well in B&W. One has to think tonally in making that judgment call.

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The flowers on this plant stand out against the green foliage but get lost in the grey tonality of the second image. Sometimes color is a better choice. One needs to make certain the subject matter is “clean”, or able to stand out against a background. Leading lines, use of thirds and a host of other compositional techniques will also make a B&W photograph stronger just as it does in color, but one really needs to make certain the subject matter that might pop in color will stand out in B&W.

A little practice, a little perseverance and an eye detail will get a person started on the right track.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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