Mother Nature in Siouxland, Rural Plymouth County

5 Apr

Fields are still flooded along Highway 12 north of Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, March 22, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Mother Nature recently seems intent on reminding people in Siouxland that maybe winter isn’t yet over, but that spring is very close. A couple weeks ago the ground was still frozen with snow, and then the temperature warmed up enough that the snow began melting but also started raining. The combination of the rain and melting plus the frozen ground didn’t give the wet precipitation any place to go, but where it really wasn’t wanted.

Trees are reflected in flooded fields along Highway 12 north of Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, March 22, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Reflections of trees sitting in flooded fields along Highway 12 north of Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, March 22, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fields in many places were flooded and still water is found in some of them although it has receded. It’s interesting that Mother Nature can create what might seem like beautiful images but reap such a terrible price. Many roadways that were inundated still need to be checked out and in some cases rebuilt. Interstate highways passing through Siouxland are still closed in places and only recently opened in others. Farmers are paying a heavy price and some may not be able to plant a crop this year because of the heavy flooding that occurred.

Fields are still flooded along Highway 12 north of Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, March 22, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It seemed that only the passing water fowl moving through the area as they fly north ending another winter season enjoyed the bountiful water landing spots and didn’t have to perch on frozen waterways on the way to their summer home. Time will tell how the flooding has affected the area which now seems like a distant memory.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Geese float in a flooded field along Highway 12 north of Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, March 22, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Low flying geese look for a place to stop as they fly over flooded fields along Highway 12 north of Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, March 22, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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

Looking up in Siouxland Reaps Reward, Rural Iowa

30 Mar

A bald eagle glides past treetops along Highway 12 north of Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, March 22, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always nice when I am out and about to sometimes find an unexpected photographic pleasure in Siouxland. As the weather warms and driving conditions become easier, at least no ice on the roadways, I am venturing out to see how things have changed with the current flooding and to photograph the area. On a recent and somewhat short drive north I saw a railroad crew working on a track line that was crossing the Little Sioux River from Iowa to South Dakota. And then I saw them.

Bald eagles sit in treetops along Highway 12 north of Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, March 22, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

These days the photographic gear I carry is not what I used when working for newspapers, at least not telephoto gear, and one works with what one has on hand. I saw the two bald eagles sitting in a tree top. Guessing that they were eyeing the flooded river below and looking for a meal. What caught my attention was what looked like a flash of white. One of the heads. Some friends of mine from the local camera club are nature enthusiasts and spend time searching for these majestic birds and capture photographically some very compelling images. My background as a newspaper photographer is dealing with the moment that arises, and in seeing these two lovely creatures spent some time to get a few shots at quite a distance.

 

Geese are on the move in the background, right, as a bald eagle glides over the Little Sioux River running parallel to Highway 12 north of Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, March 22, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Both of the birds alighted at some point while I watched and photographed easily gliding over the river and through the tree line and then back again to the tree they were using at a stopping point. I know eagles populate the area and others have captured some very nice images. I settled for what I could get. Happy that I got a couple “action” photos while enjoying the grace of flight these two birds exhibited.

I know this outing these are fine photos for my blog, but nothing stellar to hang on a wall. But like most outings, it’s nice to return home with images that one enjoys making or able to create, but it’s more of a pleasure for the experience encountered while making the photos.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

a bald eagle comes in to perch in a treetop along Highway 12 north of Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, March 22, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Learning to See Around Siouxland, Joslyn Museum, Omaha, NE

28 Mar

Visiting students view a painting at the Joslyn Museum as a museum employee talks about the art work and the artist during a tour in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have made a few visits to the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE in the last couple of years. I enjoy its art collection and the general ambience of its facility. As a photographer I am always trying to see in a “new or different” way. Not always successfully, but I guess that is how one grows. The museum has host tour guides to take groups through and explain about the art work there, the artists and help put into perspective what a visitor sees and how it all fits together.

It’s wonderful to learn more about periods of art and the influences various artists had in either helping them produce the vision they acquired in making their art or in getting to somewhere in mind and place where they produced these works that now grace the walls of the Joslyn Museum and other museums throughout the world. But I like to challenge myself and see if in looking at works of art will help me expand my vision and embrace a different way of photographing subjects and places that I might not have thought of before. As always, what is produced and accepted is in the mind of the beholder. Some things work, some things don’t, but not trying is never an option.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Looking at a work of art juxtaposed with another display at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Looking at a work of art juxtaposed with another display at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Wacky Weather in Siouxland as Winter Leaves and Spring Enters, Sioux City

26 Mar

The recent weather in Siouxland has been generally wacky. Winter held on for much longer than most folk would like and spring just hasn’t been pushing hard enough to bring people relief. But sometimes for images resulting from Mother Nature’s mood swings create some different results.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Fog envelopes trees near Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, March 22, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Fog envelopes trees near Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa, Friday, March 22, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Siouxland’s part of the Presidential Horserace Begins

24 Mar

Sen. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MASS), center, talks to reporters after her organizing event in the Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I recently wrote about the 2015 Iowa caucus campaigns that Republican presidential hopefuls pursued starting around April of that year. This time around the Democrats have started even earlier, beginning in January and most hopefuls have appeared in Siouxland which is a bit more red than a more purplish/blue hue found more in the central and eastern part of the state of Iowa. All are doing “exploratory” visits to see if folk in Iowa actually like them and would support a run for the office of president.

New York City Mayor BILL DE BLASIO, center, a Democrat, shares a joke with VLADIMIR LANDMAN, left, of Sioux City and formerly from Brooklyn and TISHA DUMKRIEGER, right, also of Sioux City, at a meet and greet with local Democrats at Rebos restaurant on Historic 4th Street in Sioux City, Iowa, Saturday evening February 23, 2019, as he explores entering the 2020 presidential race.

 

Former Maryland Congressman JOHN K DELANEY, center, opens a campaign office in Sioux City, Iowa, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019 and greets supporters and others who attend. Delaney has visited all of Iowa’s 99 counties through his 23 trips to the state. THis week Delaney also opened a campaign officein Council Bluffs , did meet and greets in Ft. Dodge and Glenwood and a town hall meeting in Dennison as he pursues a 2020 presidential campaign.

Early on many of these meet and greets happen in local residents’ homes where people get a chance to listen to those politicians visiting and ask questions. Some questions can be softballs, but others prod visiting presidential hopefuls into expanding their comments even though it’s still early in the process. Those very active in Iowa politics, even on a local level get the chance to really learn more about these people and see what they are like. Sometimes it feels a little like a show and tell party, but local, retail politics is just that.

Rep. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), center right standing, and an Iowa native, talks with members of the Truman Club of the Woodbury County Democratic Party in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday evening, Feb. 16, 2019 as he explores his potential in running for President in 2020.

 

Former San Antonio, TX, mayor JULIAN CASTRO,left, meets and talks with members of the Democrat Woodbury County Truman Club in Sioux City, Iowa, Friday evening, February 22, 2019, as he explores entering the 2020 presidential race.

 

Now that spring seems like it has arrived, hopefully these potential candidate visits will become a little more fast and furious as they try to prove themselves within a crowded field, as yet there are still a few folk deciding still if they will be running. But it seems politicians are always running. It just depends on whether you believe what they say, or not.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

U.S. Sen. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), reacts to an attendee during a Woodbury County, Iowa, Democrats first time meet and greet at the residence of a local couple in Sioux City, Iowa Friday evening Jan. 18, 2019, as she explores running for the office of the President.

 

Former Colorado Governor and businessman JOHN HICKENLOOPER, a Democrat, talks members of the public at the Coffeeworks in Sioux City, Iowa, Saturday morning February 23, 2019, as he explores entering the 2020 presidential race.

 

Author and spiritual guru MARIANNE WILLIAMSON speaks at the Donna Reed Theatre and talks about poverty in America, in Denison, Iowa Saturday, March 2, 2018, while exploring a presidential run for 2020.

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