Rescuing Raptors Near Siouxland, Fontenelle Forest, Bellevue, NE

2 Feb

A recent visit south of Siouxland took me to the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE. A nice park with plenty of trails and some easy board walks for everyone to easily navigate and enjoy the outdoors.

The visitor center contains a wealth of information before checking out the trails at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Another interesting aspect of that park/preserve is there is a raptor rescue center which helps rehabilitate wild birds.

A raptor refuge can be found at the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A raptor refuge can be found at the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There were only a few birds there when I visited but the set up for the center was similar to a large tree house, or collection of a few tree houses that housed the creatures and situated visitors on a hillside overlooking the park.

A raptor refuge can be found at the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A raptor refuge where a variety of birds are rehabilitated and cared for can be found at the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It made an enjoyable experience to see such birds of grandeur up close and the fact that if successful, most, if not all, would be returning to the wild once their medical situations were over. A nice way to enjoy nature for part of a day and something to look forward to again once warmer temps arrive this spring.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A raptor refuge can be found at the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors are given a tour of the raptor refuge at the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Making Photo Choices in Siouxland, Lincoln, NE

31 Jan

Traveling around Siouxland and points thereabouts I find there is always a photographic opportunity. Some opportunities are better than others, but there are images to be made if one looks. I sometimes think I photograph too much, but if one is someplace, I remind myself that it might be sometime before I return again. Erring on the side caution I will photograph the same scene in different ways and sometimes using different white balances.

Plenty of outdoor seating available on the walkway up to Nebraska’s State Capitol this time of year in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently on a visit to the state capitol of Nebraska, in Lincoln, I found the architecture absolutely stunning. The inside was gorgeous with various motifs and use of architectural elements. But of a concern to a photographer was the lighting. Pushing the ISO and using a fairly wide aperture and slow shutter speed and deciding which white balance. As a former newspaper photographer I strive to get it right in the camera, mostly shooting jpegs these days rather than raw. From the film days, unless using B&W film, I strove to photograph scenes using film tailored to the situation. Inside like in the capitol would require tungsten film because the lighting was warm and one might want to present the scene as neutrally as possible as seen by the human eye.

Daylight film would turn the scene orangish.

In a hallway in Nebraska’s State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Whereas a tungsten white balance setting or film would approximate it more the way the eye sees it.

In a hallway in Nebraska’s State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And yet, sometimes there is an in between. Maybe not a great difference, but subtly some areas take on a cooler look in areas.

In a hallway in Nebraska’s State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So I photographed with a white balance of daylight, and later do slight adjustments to cool the scene while leaving it mainly warm in tone and feeling.  I also chose to use the incandescent white balance setting to render the image in a neutral (subjective as to what an individual considers neutral) representation.

And as stated centuries before, it’s in the eye of the beholder, in this case the photographer, to decide what to present to a viewer.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Grandeur on the Prairie near Siouxland, The Joslyn Castle, Omaha

29 Jan

George and Sarah Joslyn completed their home in 1903 and became known as the Joslyn Castle and at one time was at the edge of the town of Omaha, NE with only country surrounding it west, seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Traveling outside the “defined” boundary of Siouxland is always an exciting prospect in that opportunities for exploring new areas are endless. On a recent jaunt down to Omaha, NE I visited a former estate and at the time of its building it was definitely a grand undertaking as well as breathtaking for such an estate located in the prairie and at the time.

George and Sarah Joslyn built a 35 room Scottish Baroninal mansion on a hill at what at the time was the outskirts of Omaha. Information provided alludes to the fact that the estate is Scottish more because of the fact that the architect was Scottish himself and created a magnificent piece for a home that was built in a mere 11 months.

A photograph of George and Srash Joslyn seated on their horses in the early 1900’s on acreage that surrounded their home, the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

George and Sarah Joslyn completed their home in 1903 and became known as the Joslyn Castle and at one time was at the edge of the town of Omaha, NE with only country surrounding it west, seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A carriage sits near the former home of George and Sarah Joslyn who completed their home in 1903 and became known as the Joslyn Castle and at one time was at the edge of the town of Omaha, NE with only country surrounding it west, seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Servants quarters and a carriage house was also completed in a style replicating the main house. The original estate covered a number of acres most of which had been sold over time and now only the main house and carriage house and immediate grounds remain. The couple originated from Vermont and moved west after the completion of the transcontinental railroad. George Joslyn was involved in the printing business and settled in Omaha in 1880 to build more clientele for a printing firm located in Des Moines. Joslyn eventually bought the firm and created a business that supplied ready print newspapers to an estimated 70% of the population in the early 1900’s.

A grand staircase and a variety of wood is part of the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A group tours the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE led by guide Keith Hart, center, Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The home contains a grand foyer, a music room, ballroom, library and a drawing room. Atone time the basement contained a bowling alley, a billiards room and a gymnasium. The couple also loved their horses and road them throughout the acreage that surrounded their estate.

A photograph showing what a sitting room looked like of the Joslyn Castle when the Joslyn’s resided there in the early 1900’s in Omaha, NE seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A photograph from the early 1900’s showing tornado damage to the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The house is full of architectural delights that include wrought iron, chiseled stone from Kansas, stained glass, ornately carved wood and mosaic tiles.

The Joslyn Castle was completed in 1903 as a residence for George and Sarah Joslyn who resided there until each’s death in Omaha, NE seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A view of a carriage house completed before the main home of George and Sarah Joslyn in 1903 and became known as the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The couple never had children of their own, but adopted a daughter from a local agency. Tour guides say the couple opened their home often to underprivileged children to come play and enjoy the grounds. After George died his wife Sarah continued to host community events and eventually willed that the estate should be used for community functions which it still does to this day, after a few detours of usage until present.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Joslyn Castle was built in 1903 by architect John McDonald and with Kansas silverdale limestone that was delivered by a special rail line to the site in Omaha, NE seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The dining area of the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The construction of the Joslyn Castle utilized very special wood and craftsmanship in the 11 months it was constructed in Omaha, NE Monday, seen Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A tour of a Christmas decorated Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Shapes in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

27 Jan

While driving about Siouxland I always enjoy looking at architecture. I have never taken an appreciation class, like is offered for art (although I never took one of those either) but enjoy the symmetry that is visually there. And I tend to like more traditional architecture than ultra modern, but it depends on the day, the amount of coffee I have consumed and my mood. Siouxland is defined by more traditional architecture than larger American cities having developed in those formative years of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when that architecture was popular. But it all has it’s place and it is nice to have a smorgasbord of building types to view. And maybe I just need to get out more.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Nature and man’s buildings on the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Repetition in arches at the Estelle Siebens Science Center on the campus of the Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking to Backroads in Siouxland, Rural Clay County

25 Jan

As January heads towards the end of the month and the next wave of cold with teens and below zero readings popping up on weather prognosticators radar I start daydreaming of “warmer” days ahead, 40’s and 50’s are good, and hitting the road looking for images throughout Siouxland and areas surrounding it. I travel a number of the roads numerous times but never seem to tire of seeing familiar places and never of new places. So many places to explore, and such limited time. The next hill, summit and bend or curve in the road can be a splendid surprise. And I am hoping this year delivers in many ways.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A country road runs through rural Clay County, Iowa Saturday Oct. 8, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History outside of Siouxland, The Haymarket, Lincoln, NE

23 Jan

The Siouxland area and points west were part of a territory in the late 1800’s that comprised of Iowa, Nebraska, Utah, Montana and part of Idaho and patrolled by Fort Omaha. During those early days decisions were made by those in power where specific seats of power would reside. The Haymarket in Lincoln, NE was one such place. Lincoln, formerly known as Lancaster, eventually became the state’s capitol. And it was in and around The Haymarket where the community of Lincoln grew up and commerce commenced.

Remnants of the historic Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Part of the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Haymarket is an important historical part of the community of Lincoln, NE and in 1982 a eight-block section of the market received a historic landmark designation. Today there are many retail and restaurant shops around The Haymarket which makes it a fun place to hang out and walk about to learn more about the history of the area and indirectly the country itself.

Historical artifacts and items on display at a coffee shop in the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A chiming clock in the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The area has its own charm and sites that make for an enjoyable walk, even on a blustery and cold December day.

An unusal pedestrian walkway between buildings in the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Distortion in a shop window in the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

For me, seeing new places and learning history simultaneously is a fine way to spend a day. Throw in a couple of nice coffee houses for morning and afternoon breaks, and a restaurant for lunch, and it’s a good day spent learning more about an area while enjoying what’s there to see.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Shadows and lines in the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Celebrating the history of the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History in Siouxland, Communication Breakdown and the Inkpaduta Tragedy, Rural Woodbury County

21 Jan

A stopping place for Inkpaduta before he and his Indian band in rural Woodbury County, Iowa before he and his group later moved north to an area near the Iowa Lakes where the group killed white settlers and kidnapped young girls, seen Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s probably been long stated that communication is key in any context. Even in today’s vitriolic political stalemate. People just don’t listen to one another and take offense at what is said. So history repeats itself. And a bit of history in Siouxland informs a person that communication between native Americans and the early settlers did not always garner the clarity that would have prevented violence and misunderstanding.

A plaque commemorating a stopping place for Inkpaduta before he and his Indian band in rural Woodbury County, Iowa before he and his group later moved north to an area near the Iowa Lakes where the group killed white settlers and kidnapped young girls, seen Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In 1857 a band of renegade Sioux Indians were wandering what is now the rural Woodbury and Monona Counties and places north. Settlers were pushing the Native Americans off their former land to live their own version of paradise and renewal, starting life in a new place. Inkpaduta was a tribal chief of this small band of Sioux and his name became infamous in what was to become northwest Iowa when later in the same year he and his band killed settlers and kidnapped young girls from the Spirit Lake area. It’s hard to imagine even what the area looked like in the late 1850’s compared to now, with farming of the area continuous since that time period, and probably even more expanded as technology allowed farmers to cover more ground with tractors and other mobile equipment.

Terraced corn crop in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Horses grazing in a field in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And whatever few trails carried travelers through the area probably still exist as one or many of the current roadways that traverse the area. What was probably idyllic looking then is probably the same as now, only with fields rather than prairie grass. Over so many decades one would hope people would learn that it is better to communicate and find a way forward than repeating past mistakes than generally never end well.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A gravel road running through a part of rural Woodbury County, Iowa Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An area in rural Woodbury County, Iowa near an Inkpaduta plaque marking a place where he and his tribe camped prior to heading north to the Iowa Lakes they later killed white settlers, seen Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

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