Holiday Celebrations, Christmas too, in Siouxland, Adams Homestead

4 Dec

As the Christmas celebrations get geared up for surrounding communities and organizations it’s always fun to visit and see what if anything has changed from year to year. And it’s a nice break from the relentless political news that fortunately deserves to be covered but a break from is always good too.

The Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve is always fun to attend as its outbuildings are open to explore and their are carolers and activities for kids and adults to enjoy.

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

I personally like Christmas. The holiday and its sentimental depiction. When I lived in northern California and got the chance I would go into San Francisco to enjoy the ostentatious window displays that the large stores would put up. These days I enjoy a simpler look at Christmas decorations.

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And of course no Christmas celebration is complete for kids without a visit with a jolly old elf and a chance to drop a line asking for those soon to be opened gifts.

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And it’s a time for friends to get together and family to celebrate and create memories.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Festival of Trees in Siouxland, Cherokee

2 Dec

Sometimes revisiting places in Siouxland leads one to pleasant little surprises. One such visit to Cherokee recently I dropped by the Sanford Museum and Planetarium and came upon its Festival of Trees.

A house from across the street is reflected in the windows of the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Small Christmas trees decorated by a variety of groups from the area each giving their own tree a special spin and unique look.

Each of the Festival of Trees entries have unique aspects about them during the exhibit at the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Sometimes those decorating exercise their sense of humor as well.

Playing on words for one Festival of Trees entry at the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

So it’s fun to visit different communities this time of year to see what is going on, even though the theme of Christmas is the same. Pleasant surprises await the person willing to make the time to visit.

The museum and planetarium provides the community and surrounding area residents a place when there are art shows and history programs. A small display with the history and information about the museums’s benefactor plus a room with some items from a founding community family gives visitors a little background. Just another reason to do a bit of local travel to explore areas in Siouxland.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A decorated tree in the “Sanford” room at the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

History about the Sanford family at the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Enjoying the Light in Siouxland, Woodbury County

30 Nov

The other day I saw part of a gorgeous sunset from my backyard. I only saw part of it because the sky is partially obscured by neighboring homes. The sky still had some clouds, blue sky and such the beginning hint of red. I really should have been out taking photographs. But I contented myself with just watching. With cooler temperatures I need to force myself outside nearer sunset to enjoy the sights of nature and God’s work. Beautiful etchings in the sky. And a moment of  quietude as night comes on.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sun setting behind a cloud near Sergeant Bluff, Iowa off or County Road D45 Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Lighted Parade in Siouxland, Sioux City

28 Nov

Every year most communities have their own Lighted Parade to kick off the Christmas holiday season. Some start a little earlier than others, but work to help its residents to enjoy the coming days that are festive and mostly filled with good cheer. And people attending the parade as well as parade goers get into the holiday spirit themselves.

A woman wears her “antler ears” for he Christmas season kick off at the Lighted Parade in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday Nov. 20, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Children spread the Christmas cheer as the season kicks off with the Lighted Parade in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday Nov. 20, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And these communities also have areas with decorated Christmas trees done so by various organizations or individuals and then auctioned off to raise money for a local nonprofit.

People view the decorated Christmas trees inside the Ho Chunk Building on view before the Lighted Parade in Sioux City, Iowa Monday Nov. 20, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

People view the decorated Christmas trees inside the Ho Chunk Building on view before the Lighted Parade in Sioux City, Iowa Monday Nov. 20, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

The events just brighten and heighten the anticipation of Dec. 25 when for some Santa arrives bearing gifts for the “good” kids and others for the celebration of the birth of Christ and his message of redemption and the possibility of Peace on Earth, even if only for a few hours.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Lights and Shadows in Siouxland plus effective composition, Omaha, NE

26 Nov

Sometimes when I am out and photographing I know I shoot too many images. It’s just easy to do with digital. In the film days I would shoot more judiciously because I didn’t want to process more than a couple rolls of film. Those days I primarily shot B&W. I would look a scene over and judge what I thought would give me the best result. Now, I shoot more liberally and decide when I look the pics on a large display monitor.

Fall color hangs on in Elmwood Park in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Do I like this crop, the tonality, the road veering away from the scene.

Fall colors hang on in Elmwood Park in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Or does this crop feel more intimate bringing the viewer into the image more quickly if at all. But then, I liked a third take.

Fall colors still appear in Elmwood Park in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And pretty soon I have a dozen photos or more as I make slight variations.

But there are other times when I see and know what I like, especially shooting lights and shadows. I like the ying and yang of the images and their overall feel. And it’s nice to have choices when creating images.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Afternoon sun creates a shadow in Elmwood Park in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A tree retains its fall leaves in Elmwood Park in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Outdoor Research in Siouxland, Iowa Lakeside Laboratory

24 Nov

Sometimes as I travel about Siouxland I come across places that make me wonder what life may have been like had I chosen another path. Especially when I visit the Iowa Lakeside Laboratories in the Iowa Lakes Region which was created to study nature in nature as it is noted. I stopped by there this fall as the stone buildings built during the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corp sit atop a hill and gives a nice view of the surrounding area.

Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The labs are dedicated to various types of studies under the auspices of the University of Iowa and was founded or received its impetus from a former professor.

A bench dedicated to a former Iowa State University professor, Dr. Lois Tiffany, sits on the grounds at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The grounds are well maintained and trails leads one in and around Little Miller’s Bay which the facility sits along and is open for research from those interested from a variety of places, high school and college students as well as instructors themselves looking to further their own knowledge or research. Aside from hot and muggy days, or colder  ones, the chance to explore and learn outdoors seems tempting. Communing with nature to me seems a great way to pass the time.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bench dedicated to a former Iowa State University professor, Dr. Lois Tiffany, sits on the grounds at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Christmas Season begins in Siouxland, Le Mars

22 Nov

Recently I participated in an artists’ open house in Siouxland, at the Le Mars Art Center. A number of artisans displayed their wares that included paintings, jewelry, pottery, pen and ink and even a gentleman who creates pen barrels for both ball point and fountain pens. I had a few prints hanging.

The Le Mars Art Center is decked out for the Christmas holiday during an open house for artists at the Art Center in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Photos of the author hanging on the wall during an open house for artists at the Le Mars Art Center in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

An open house for artists to kick off the Christmas holiday season at the Le Mars Art Center in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

I stayed for about an hour and then needed to leave to meet a class for an outdoor photographic session for my Photo Safari class through Western Iowa Tech’s Lifelong Learning program. Which was fun in and of itself because a local nature preserve held its Christmas holiday celebration. So the seasonal fun begins as various organizations and places hold lighted parades, open houses and a joyful celebration of Christmas and the birth of Christ. And yes, all before we have celebrated Thanksgiving. And sometimes it seems these start earlier in the season but then as more are added to local calendars time is needed to allow people to attend. And they are always fun.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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