Tag Archives: Arnolds park iowa

Spending Time at the Lakes in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

14 Aug

As summer winds down in Siouxland the area up around the lakes near Arnolds Park and Okoboji and others will begin to take on their fall demeanor. The trees turn color and it becomes very pretty, but the life begins to slow much like sap running through a tree. The lakes are a summer “thing” and people will begin to pursue other avenues of entertainment away from the lakes, except those who live there and others who like the fall.

The recent day I visited I had the chance to ride the Queen II and enjoy a cruise around West Lake Okoboji and learn more about its history. This was during the week. And while there were people about, the morning was pretty quiet as I made some photos and enjoyed a walk about.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Cruising Siouxland on the Queen II, Okoboji

2 Aug

On a recent visit to the lake region of Iowa in Siouxland which includes the communities of Arnolds Park, Okoboji and Spirit Lake, I finally was able to take a cruise on West Lake Okoboji on the Queen II. When the lakes region around Arnolds Park and Okoboji became a resort area, a boat named the Queen brought visitors out onto the lake and showed off the region. The Queen II continues that history.

The Queen II prior to leaving for a cruise around West Lake Okoboji in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday July 24, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A passenger gets a better view of West Lake Okoboji from the Queen II during a cruise at Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday July 24, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The cruise gives a nice background history to the immediate lakes region and for those wanting to know more they can visit the Maritine Museum in Arnolds Park.

Capable of holding about 200 passengers, the skipper this day, Lance Freed, gave some general introductions then played some canned information that was informative and effective.

Lance Freed skippers the Queen II during a cruise around West Lake Okoboji in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday July 24, 2017, something he has been doing for 17 years. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Originally owned by farmers, the non-tillable area was sold off to various individuals who began selling plots of land to those who wanted a place on a lake. The then cottages, although still called that, were modest and small. Now some of them are multi-million dollar vacation homes, one is estimated to be worth $12 million. And the land itself around the lake, depending on which side, east or west, can run from $10,000 a square foot to $17,000 a square foot. Not your granddaddy’s little summer getaway.

Passengers taking a cruise on the Queen II around West Lake Okoboji in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday July 24, 2017 can see mutli-million dollar homes, euphemistically referred to as cottages, which line the lake shore. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But for the average Joe and his family, people can bring their boats, fish, waterski and pursue other summertime activities on or around the water and still enjoy a nice day out. I personally like being near the water but am not exactly a water person and not one to get in it and splash about. But on a warmish day with a breeze, it is hard to beat and just fun to learn a little more history about the area.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City,

Enjoying the Lake in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

12 Jul

Recently I took a drive up to West Lake Okoboji at Arnolds Park and spent the day walking about enjoying a cooler day. Temps were in the 60’s with a pretty good gusts coming off the lake.

Choppy waters in West Lake Okoboji at Arnolds Park, Iowa Friday, June 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoy cooler days than hotter ones personally, although some younger people bemoaned the fact they couldn’t soak up any sun, of which there was little that day. The water on the lake was also pretty choppy which figured into my plans for taking a tour on the Queen II, an excursion boat that spends about 1.5 hours on the lake giving the riders a bit of history. And the Queen in one of its iterations has been providing this service for decades.

The Queen II dock side in Arnolds Park, Iowa Friday, June 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I stopped by the office to buy a ticket and heard a couple employees talking about the choppy water and the possibility the ship may not go out. I took that as more probability than not, so found myself a coffee shop for a cup and a snack. And while enjoying myself with a book I had brought along, The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux, I heard the Queen’s whistle blow and knew I had miscalculated. But, with an entertaining read, coffee and a scone I sacrificed. I later found a small art gallery, Summerwind Gallery, and had a nice chat with the proprietor, Roberta, who also paints and explained she is currently working with pastel as her medium of choice.

So I felt my day was still spent well. Not too hot, a bit of a walk, and some really nice artwork to check out. Some days go as planned and some days one makes up as the day progresses. Both types of days are good and I hope to enjoy a few more of them.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Fall in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

5 Oct

It is hard to realize that fall is officially here. The days have much less humidity and the sky is a bright blue and the temperature cooler, which I personally like. But summer seemed to pass quickly with fleeting moments that are gone. A few classes for me start around this time that I teach at a local community college and it is fun to see people get excited about getting out with a camera and shooting better photos and enjoying themselves. Even though I enjoy the fall season most, I will miss summer only because I know winter will be here even quicker.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa


Shooting with a “toy camera” in Siouxland, Okobokji

27 Sep

On an outing in the Okoboji and Iowa Lakes region recently, I tried out the “toy camera” setting on my Fuji mirrorless camera. I previously have used a Holga toy camera shooting film and loved the effect although the end result was never predictable. The toy camera effect gives a nice feel to some photos, taking whatever focal length lens one is using and enlongating it and foreshortening the perspective all at the same time. I like the effect, but know what should be a little judicious in using it. Still it forces the viewer of your photographs to see what you want them to see. And it is nice for a change of pace to experiment a bit.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Summer Time in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

19 Jun

I hadn’t had the chance to get up to visit the Lakes area of Siouxland in recent weeks. Some work kept me busy, but I always like to get away and explore, even if it is somewhere I have been a few times. Away from home, the senses kick in and one gets a chance to just enjoy the moment. Unfortunately it was a warm moment for that day. The area has been suffering like much of the country with high temperatures. I got to Arnolds Park early in the morning and so was able to enjoy comfortable weather and a walk until it began heating up.

I tried a couple settings on my Fuji XT-1 that I had not used before. In addition to bringing along a plastic Holga lens that I used to use with a Canon camera. I used an adapter to fit it to the Fuji in addition to using the “plastic lens” or “toy camera” setting and the “minature” setting, which is like shooting with a 35mm tilt lens. I liked the results. Shooting with the Holga lens and adding the minature lens effect created images I was really pleased with and will probably use again. It’s nice when something unexpected works out when shooting pics. And gives one faith to experiment and see where it takes you.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Winter Hanging On in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

11 Mar

Made a trip up to the Iowa Lakes region over this past weekend and was hoping to photograph some clear water and spring-time looks around the lake area, but was brought back to reality by Mother Nature when I found a lot of ice still on the lake and people still ice fishing around Arnolds Park and Okoboji. The last few days have been sunny, warm, with temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s. It has been very nice. But spring is taking its time catching its stride and I must be patient to realize that winter has finally passed.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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