Tag Archives: hawarden iowa

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©)

Venturing out into Siouxland, rural Sioux County

12 Jun

Venturing out in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the state of Iowa slowly opens amid the coronavirus so does areas of Siouxland. Although some areas, like parks were never really closed, it hasn’t been until recently that nature is dressing its season, such as spring with summer hot on its heels if one consider recent over the top temperatures the region has recently endured.

Making a trip back to Oak Grove Park to which I have traveled a few times, mostly during the fall. It’s a nice park, but it was nicer still to get outside and enjoy nature and take a walk, much to the chagrin of friends who know I like to walk about when photographing an area.

Venturing out in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Venturing out in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The sun this day was high overhead filling a blue sky and its light created deep shadows in areas with trees which made it fun and challenging to photograph.

Light and shade brings out details on a rail fence in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bee seeks pollen from a flowering bush in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes photographing detail is easier in harsh light helping the sculpt and shape the image so the subject matter stands out. Then again, a light and airy approach can also be effective depending on what the photographer wants a viewer to concentrate on. Perspective and mystery can make an interesting photograph. Then again maybe not.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Forested acres in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Form in Siouxland through Light and Shade, Calliope Village

14 Oct

While visiting the Calliope Historical Village in September I looked for other ways in making images as I walked about the small historical complex. Visiting places again and again breeds familiarity and comfort and I always keep that in mind when thinking about photographing a place. And many times the kind of day, weather and light plays a part in making those decisions.

An indoor water pumpjack is silhouetted by a window at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Lights and shadows at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was a stormy kind of day that day and the light was soft and even and so my photographs reflected some of that aspect as I walked among the buildings looking at form and lines and whatever other notions caught my attention. Photography is limitless in subject matter, and highly personal as well. Two persons standing next to one another will see a scene differently and make different kinds of photograph depending on how they personally see and feel, as I sometimes think photography is as much intuitive as it is a thought process. Trying to fore a viewer’s eye to see what you see, sort of walking a quarter mile in someone’s shoes.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Lights and shadows at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and shadows at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating Labor in Siouxland, Calliope Historical Village, Hawarden

6 Oct

Siouxland is home to a number of a number of historical significance to the region, much like many early settlements in many locations around the country. Calliope Village, according to an official listing at the site of the city of Hawarden where the village is located, came into existence in 1860. “History reports that Sioux County, Iowa was founded January 20, 1860, on the banks of the Big Sioux River on the north edge of what is now Hawarden. Our “founding fathers” were Frederick Hubbell, W.H. Frame, Joseph Bell, and E.L. Stone who founded the settlement of Calliope (Kal’ e ope) for the express purpose of receiving a regulation count salary for organizing a county in Iowa.

In 1869, Calliope consisted of a courthouse, three log homes and about 10 residents. The infant town was driven back to the safety of Sioux City by Indian uprisings. In 1871, the Indians calmed down and the few rugged individuals who were willing to brave the wilderness returned to the settlement to find the original courthouse standing. By 1872 Moses Lewis bought out the remaining initial investors and used the office to issue fraudulent bonds. It wasn’t until 1874 that the settlement of Calliope was actually home to the earliest settlers. Progress came with a hotel, cabins and finally viability was enhanced greatly by the formation of a stage coach line to transport people to and from Sioux City.”

Calliope Historical Village open Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

That history and the historical village is all that remains of that early settlement. Fundraising and area residents made the village possible to remind current and future residents of the community’s historical background.

So it’s nice to visit the village on a holiday and see people stroll the grounds and check it out. Or relax and enjoy some music provided by a washtub band whose creation was musician’s Jerry Toft.

People celebrate Labor Day visiting the Calliope Historical Village in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Musician Jerry Toft plays a washtub bass and performs standards for visitors along with his friends at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People celebrate Labor Day visiting the Calliope Historical Village and listening to a washtub band in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©

I visit the place from time to time. Sometimes with a class I teach and other times during the holidays or when I am passing through the area. The days are always different and so is the light. The village isn’t always open but it’s still nice to stop by and see. Of course the side attractions that come during days like Labor Day are not always present, and are a look back into time itself, and just fun to photograph.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Antique tractors carry a shine while on show at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Collectible farm tractors for some, on display at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Someone with a bias toward red tractors as a number of
Allis-Chalmers are on display at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Siouxland Community Celebrations, Hawarden

20 Sep

Celebrations at various Siouxland communities continue unabated. Sometimes I think there are not enough free time to get to them all. But one does what one can. Recently Hawarden, Iowa held its annual Big Sioux River Days. Of course there was a parade and later other activities. I wasn’t able to stay later, but enjoyed the parade along with a few hundred residents and guests.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Calliope Village in Siouxland, Hawarden

12 May

With Memorial Day nearing and the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, there are a number of travel destinations in the Siouxland region that is a short drive, fun to see, and educational at the same time. But that last part probably depends on your age and definition of summer fun. The replica of Calliope Village in Hawarden, Iowa, is regarded as the first community and first county seat of Sioux County, Iowa. A number of buildings, original or replicas are on display and open during the summer season for people to take a step back in time.

And if you get to talking with any of the docents who are on hand, many can help people understand what life was like during that time period in the late 1800’s. Even a little gossip about another Sioux County community who stole a safe and became the county seat because of it.

Summer is a nice time to get away, even if only for a day or two, and a chance to explore one’s surroundings and see what is there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Siouxland Tale of 2 Cities

13 Mar

Sioux City, Iowa is the county seat of Woodbury County. The courthouse located downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places as a National Landmark which happened in 1973, and was built in the early 1900’s by a local architect named William Steele. Mr. Steele also was architect of a city hall built in Hawarden, Iowa in the early 1900’s as well. The county courthouse was built with a lot of style and flare. City hall appears to be a utilitarian style of building that is not on the list of the National Registry and is not in use today. Although signs in a window from a few years ago talk about a fundraiser to try and save the non-used building. A tale of two cities? At the time the Woodbury Courthouse was built, it was a thriving city of 80,000 and growing according to recorded history. Possibly Hawarden was not as thriving although the citizens there may not have been less enthusiastic about their community as those living in Sioux City. Jerry Mennenga Sioux City, Iowa

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