Tag Archives: black and white

Revisiting Calliope Village in Siouxland, Hawarden

6 Jul

As I drive about Siouxland I have certain haunts I like to revisit if I am in the area, or out photographing with a friend to introduce them to a place and to also see how how I can create new or different images than previously done. The Calliope Village is one such place I like to revisit again and again. Memorial Day and Labor Day the village is open and people show up to check out the local history and listen to some entertainment if there is a local string band playing. But this year the village will not be hosting any events like many places. And to many organizations like the Hawarden Historical Society they miss that opportunity to showcase their local pride and joy and to share with people something of a community’s past they themselves enjoy and hope others will as well.

Taking a walk around the Calliope Village in Hawarden, Iowa on a spring day Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So this particular day I work with some “art filters” that are part of an Olympus OMD E M1 II camera to see how I can change up what I photograph. This particular filter reminds me of my time photographing with a 4X5 view camera and using the tilts and swings to help focus a viewer’s attention on certain aspects of an image. When I previously photographed with Fujifilm’s XT-1 and 2 I used a similar filter to achieve a “look” that is similar to the Olympus’ filter.

Sometimes they can be a bit kitschy but if it works for me, why not. And as I tell students who take some photography courses I teach at a local community college, there are times when less is more.

Taking a walk around the Calliope Village in Hawarden, Iowa on a spring day Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One wants the viewer to take in a scene and wonder a bit about it sometimes. Other times you want an image to hit them over the head and get the message right away. Journalism can be like that, but journalism can also portray subject matter in a way to get people to slow down and ponder.

Taking a walk around the Calliope Village in Hawarden, Iowa on a spring day Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And maybe some people who see the photographs and are able will stop by and visit the place you share and take the time to see a bit of local history and understand what life was like a couple centuries ago and read short synopses and stories about those who originally settled the area. And it’s the latter I hope for sometimes for people to find and enjoy those gems in their own backyard.

 

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Taking a walk around the Calliope Village in Hawarden, Iowa on a spring day Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Shadows in Siouxland, Calliope Village in Hawarden

16 Jun

Light and shade at Calliope Village in Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

For the most part life is pretty straight forward for most individuals, even in Siouxland, and the same could be said for photographs. What you see if what there is. But sometimes I wonder if there are exceptions in those perceptions of various individuals and how they respectively see the world compared to others witnessing the same scene.

I like working with light and shadow in photography. The dynamic between the two is pretty straight forward, utilizing one to focus a viewer’s point of view to another aspect of a photograph. But sometimes it’s not always so straight forward. When color is introduced to a photo of light and shade a viewer’s interest in in shapes is “colored” (pun intended) by whatever actual color is introduced into the image.

Light and shade at Calliope Village in Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When B&W images are used the starkness of light and shade without color allows a viewer to see “less” and respond to only those subjects or objects within the frame, not “shaded” (again, pun intended) or influenced by another element within the photograph.

Light and shade at Calliope Village in Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The starkness of an image simplifies it for a viewer. The individual sees only two objects as it were, competing against one another for attention. And eyes generally are drawn to the light. But both are needed to make an image, and make it compelling.

Light and shade at Calliope Village in Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But depending on the subject matter and when more shades of grey are introduced into an image, it becomes a bit murkier, as with life, the shades of grey mute into one another at times without a stark contrast and an individual must begin discerning what about the image that is important and where along that light to dark spectrum does that person’s  interest lie and how is the individual affected in what is seen.

One could only wish images, like life, could be simple and straight forward. To some people it probably is. They like what they see or don’t like it, and already have minds made up and interpreted as to their own aesthetics. Not able to adjust or change or perceive anything else even when there are so many shades along the spectrum that to enjoy. B&W white only illuminates so much and much could be lost in the shadows when there is so little light.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shade at Calliope Village in Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Architecture in Siouxland, University of South Dakota, Vermillion

20 Oct

Working with B&W on a grey day on the campus of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Tuesday, Oct. 2 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As I explain to students who take some of the photo courses I teach through the Lifelong Learning program at Western Iowa Tech in Siouxland, sometimes the weather, time of year, and other factors will nudge my shooting style on a particular day. On a trip to Vermillion, SD it was an overcast day. No bright blue skies, the leaves not yet turning and apparently more rain on the way. But it didn’t deter me from shooting a few images.

Working with B&W on a grey day on the campus of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Tuesday, Oct. 2 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Working with B&W on a grey day on the campus of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Tuesday, Oct. 2 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I photographed in B&W, working with tonality and lines and form. Not all images are competition winners, most in fact are not. But still they achieve the effect I was looking to create and help tell their own story. Color isn’t everything, and at times can detract from an image. So one must rely on other ways to relaying to the viewer what they the photographer is trying to share. Light and shadow, form and shape, etc.

Working in B&W on a grey day on the campus of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Tuesday, Oct. 2 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Working with B&W on a grey day on the campus of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Tuesday, Oct. 2 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Working with B&W on a grey day on the campus of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Tuesday, Oct. 2 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I visited it had been after a rather contentious fight in the U.S. Senate about the newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice. Some remnants of students’ thoughts remained, although many were fading from the sidewalks they were expressed on. And here again, I felt B&W was a better way of expressing the students’ written thoughts rather than color and the colorful chalk used. It provided a more stark presentation of a tough topic that is only now gaining mainstream attention.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The #MeToo movement seen on the campus in the form of sidewalk chalk writing about sexual assault at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Tuesday, Oct. 2 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The #MeToo movement seen on the campus in the form of sidewalk chalk writing about sexual assault at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Tuesday, Oct. 2 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The #MeToo movement seen on the campus in the form of sidewalk chalk writing about sexual assault at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Tuesday, Oct. 2 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Day in Siouxland, Stone State Park, Sioux City

24 Sep

Some days are just to be enjoyed. A walk in a local state park, taking in the sights and natural sounds, and just enjoying the moments of solitude, beauty and contemplation.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Siouxland’s Tonality of Summer, Le Mars Bike Trail

17 Aug

Some days you feel like a nut, some days you don’t, to borrow a jingle from a candy bar commercial. Walking the Le Mars Bike Trail is always pleasant. More pleasant when the weather is cooler, but I like the route and depending on whether one is a nut one day or not, a person can see something numerous times and yet see it differently.

Light and shadow involving a highway bridge and supports along the Le Mars bike path in Le Mars, Iowa July 20, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have traversed this route numerous times. And I always try to see it differently. This time I looked at it through tones, as in black and white tones. My first few photographic jobs as a newspaper photographer involved shooting B&W for these various publications. And it is through the tonal variety within an image as well as the subject matter that creates the photograph which people may remember. Color does not help here. And if one looks at color when shooting B&W it may even skew results because those bright reds will be surprisingly dark shades of grey. And to differentiate a person in similar color that seems apparent in the “real” world we live in, is not in B&W. One must be a little more deliberate in the execution of creating a photograph.

Light and shade along the Le Mars bike path in Le Mars, Iowa July 20, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

You want highlights to draw a viewer’s attention and lead them merrily through your photograph to a destination that can be mysterious or in plain sight. But in black and white it still must deliver a final effort or effect which is what hopes all photographs will do.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shade along the Le Mars bike path in Le Mars, Iowa July 20, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Learning to see in Siouxland, Yankton, SD

14 Sep

When I teach an introductory photography course to people I try to gently suggest they experiment and learn to open they eyes and see the world they know in different ways. And more importantly, to record what they see in different ways. On a recent trip to Yankton, SD I walked around the town and saw a plant that would look good photographed either in color or in black and white. Some subjects work well in one medium or the other. And sometimes in both. It depends on what you the photographer wants his/her viewer to see.

And that is what I try to impart on people taking my Lifelong Learning photo course. You the photographer are sharing what you see and witness at that moment in time, and so what is it that you want your viewers to see. And the scene you photograph may change over time, and you as an individual and as a photographer may see differently over time. But it doesn’t mean what you see and what you share is of any less significance.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Nature in Siouxland, Rural South Dakota

8 Aug

Some days just don’t turn out as you expect sometimes, but then again, one should just enjoy the moment for what it is as to what you would like. I took a trip up to Vermillion, South Dakota today to eat a small restaurant that serves Asian food. It has a buffet that while small is always good and affordable. But today is the day that this restaurant is closed. So I had lunch at another place which serves good food, but I believe is a bit over priced for its offering.

That said, the drive up was gorgeous. Blue sky, white puffy clouds. I got a late start. I decided to continue being healthy and went to my gym then showered, talked with a neighbor and took off. I didn’t reach Vermillion until after 1 p.m. But focused on the lunch I didn’t stop to photograph any of the scenes on my way up with the light playing off corn tassels in the fields and the white clouds accentuating the blue sky. I did have my polarizer with me and thought the afternoon was going to be great for shooting photos.

After lunch, I squeezed off a few frames in the downtown area, then went for a walk around the surrounding neighborhoods, looking for a vantage point overlooking the Missouri River. And as I was walking, the clouds began moving in. The weather was changing and the overcast grey clouds was pushing away the white clouds and covering the blue and my plans went awry. The day didn’t become picture perfect as I had expected, but on my way home I didn’t feel the day a complete loss. One just never knows how something may turn out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City

Horses grazing in rural South Dakota Monday, August 8, 2016.       (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Horses grazing in rural South Dakota Monday, August 8, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

%d bloggers like this: