Tag Archives: jerry l mennenga photographer

Home is Where the Heart is in Siouxland, Council Bluffs

2 Jun
An entrance to a home in the historic district in Council Bluffs, Iowa Saturday, May 1, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes not a lot needs to be said about a person’s home, in Siouxland or someplace else. If folk are comfortable somehwere or it is a place that provides shelter not withstanding circumstances, home is where one hangs their hat.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Mary Poppins Proud in Siouxland, Laurtizen Gardens, Omaha, NE

27 May
Umbrellas on display at a garden exhibit at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting various places in and around Siouxland I always delight in fantastical exhibits and the imagination and inspiration of folk who create these exhibits. Seeing a recent one at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE I could only imagine that Mary Poppins would be proud, and most certainly I and others would have been delighted had she dropped in for a “spot of tea” and a song. But maybe that is my imagination running away with me, as a lyric to some now forgotten song plays in my head. Still, exhibits should elicit responses from those seeing them and enjoy them for what they are and represent.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Nine Lives in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

25 May
A young cheetah looks for a squirrel who scampered up a tree in its enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday, April 5, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As I visit a zoo just outside of Siouxland and focus more on observing behavior of the animals and folk around them, the more human nature and animal nature seem to show through. On a recent visit when the animals were a bit more active on a cool, yet sunny day, a number of people were gathered about a cheetah exhibit. As I was walking up I saw two younger animals quickly encircle a tree. While not quite fast enough to raise my camera even though I was still a bit too far away to capture a decent image, a squirrel scampered up the backside of a tree escaping for another day and expending one of its nine lives and out of the reach of a couple of “curious cats” that tried climbing the tree but were foiled because of a metal barrier around the trunk. Guessing in place for this explicit purpose as all cats like to climb trees.

A young cheetah sniffs for the now scared witless squirrel that escaped up a tree in the enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday, April 5, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A cheetah pauses before laying down for a mid-morning nap at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday, April 5, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Ever vigilante, it took a while before the younger cats decided they expended enough energy on this fleeting morsel and hopefully the squirrel realizes that this particular enclosure is not a good place to store nuts for the winter or any time of year. And probably thankful for another nearby tree with limbs reaching into the exhibit compound and giving it a chance to enjoy another day of life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A young cheetah relaxes after chasing a squirrel up a tree within its enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday, April 5, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating Heritage in Siouxland, Tulip Festival in Orange City

23 May
Two young parade participants appear tired as thousands of people gather at the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With recent announcements about “life returning to normal” occurring even in Siouxland, the Tulip Festival held annually in Orange City had recently what some are saying is a historic turnout of crowds visiting the festival over its three days of a community celebration.

Thousands of people gather at the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Thousands of people gather at the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Because of a prior engagement I didn’t get to spend as much time wandering about the festival in the town as much as I might have liked. I will admit I was in a very small minority of people wearing a mask, maybe 5-6 others that I saw along the street during the parade the day I attended. Expecting people to be honest about getting vaccinated and no concern for new variants being discovered overseas and now again in the U.S. doesn’t appear to bother folk much.

A family poses for a photo at a tulip bed as thousands of people gather at the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A family takes photos near a tulip bed as thousands of people gather at the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I, like many, look forward to life pre-pandemic, but sometimes I think actions can be a bit premature and previously when caution was thrown to the wind, like the college spring breakers in Florida a year ago that led to a resurgence of the virus throughout the country, I wonder if the tulip festival and other events in various locales is a giant petri dish. I sincerely hope not, but caution can be a prudent thing.

It was nice to see people enjoying themselves and having fun as the weather becomes increasingly summer-like. I too enjoy getting out and visiting places again, but will hope for the best and remain cautiously optimistic.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Two festival participants pose for a photographer as housands of people gather at the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A couple takes a keepsake photo near a tulip bed as thousands of people gather at the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Parade participants wait for their float to begin moving as thousands of people gather at the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Observing the Lines in Siouxland, Laurtizen Gardens, Omaha, NE

21 May
Jet trails create streaks in the sky near flag poles at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when photographing in Siouxland my mind’s eye sees images that I consciously think won’t pass muster. But nothing ventured….

Simple images, few distractions, hopefully will help and not hurt. And maybe the spark of an idea will be fruitful, or something to file away for another attempt with another subject.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Jet trails create streaks in the sky near flag poles at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Cruising in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

19 May
A muskrat nibbles on a snack at Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a few places in Siouxland one can go to and watch nature. Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve is just a few minutes north by vehicle and most days affords one an opportunity to watch and photograph nature unfolding, with creatures cruising the park. There are a few blinds set up along one of the small lakes found there that water fowl, shore birds and other creatures frequent.

A muskrat tries to slip away after being seen by a visitor at Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A friend who is a avid birder generally arrives pre sunrise to see as many species and identify them for a local club. I admire his determination to get out early and enjoy the sunrise and day’s activities beginning. I on the other hand need some caffeine to get my day started a wee bit after sunrise.

And then there are those creatures who value their privacy, and when spotted by the occasional visitor leave before one has a chance to see what they are doing. Evidently shy by nature, and probably with good reason, fleeting glimpses are all one sometimes gets before realizing what it was that one saw.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A muskrat makes its way to to the other side of Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Siouxland Day at the Zoo, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

17 May
A young giraffe eating a morning snack at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday, April 5, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when I want to get out and about in Siouxland and yet not certain where I should go, I go long. Taking a drive down to Omaha and then visiting the zoo. The Henry Doorly Zoo has quite an extensive array of animals in its keeping and is laid out fairly nicely, both for the visitors and the animals themselves. I find it fascinating, yet sad, to see these creatures in captivity. Although I know many are born other places as well as locally, and returning them to “the wild” is not feasible. It is an opportunity to watch them though, and folk who come to visit and see them.

Taking a pause in a morning snack at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday, April 5, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Parents and children abound during a public school spring break at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday, April 5, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Because of the drive I never arrive too early, as that would require seeing the sunrise on the drive down. And I would miss my second cup of coffee. Going midweek I find the crowds are a bit less, unless of course one happens to go during a public school break. But one does what one can. Not all creatures at the zoo are confined. Some drop by to snack while others preen a bit. It’s a fun place to stroll, relax and observe.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Even local sparrows look for snacks at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday, April 5, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A couple take a selfie in front of a large elephant statue at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday, April 5, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Day in Siouxland, Not to be Wasted, Sioux City

15 May
Cat napping in Sioux City, Iowa , Sunday, March 28, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As summer approaches and hopefully warmer weather, as spring time has been a bit wacky, I know two little guys who will spend their days relaxing outdoors, enjoying the sunshine, or shade by product, as they refine the art of “cat napping’. Something not to be taken lightly.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing new Visitors in Siouxland, Sioux City

13 May
A House Wren visits a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, May 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s kind of fun to see visitors in Siouxland, checking things out, even the fine-feathered ones. A friend who is quite the birder told me such a creature I spotted in a backyard recently was probably a Ruby Crowned Kinglet migrating through the area and heading to its natural habitat for the summer months. He said they prefer wooded areas and such, but any port in a storm.

A Ruby Crowned Kinglet visits a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, May 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A Ruby Crowned Kinglet visits a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, May 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A house wren visits a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, May 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But sometimes seeing new visitors gives me a little trepidation depending on their intentions, especially when it comes to my cats sunning themselves in the backyard. Any temptation is just that, especially to the young and those learning to survive in the “wild”.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A small raptor hanging out in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, May 10, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking up in Siouxland, Omaha, NE

11 May
Looking up in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I remember so many years ago before living in Siouxland and visiting relatives in a larger city than where I lived people reminded me not to look up. They said doing so would make me stand out as a tourist. While I understood what they were getting at, the advice belied the fact that I was indeed, a tourist. And looking up just naturally comes with that territory.

Walking around downtown Omaha, NE one can play tourist. The small city has a interesting mix of buildings and styles. While not a student of architecture or the history of that medium, I know there is a mixture of various architectural styles found there and the tall buildings naturally invites one to look at and admire their grandeur..

Looking at taller buildings in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing shapes in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But it’s not just the buildings seen outside, but sometimes it’s also what is seen inside. While I didn’t photograph the front of the Douglas County Courthouse in Omaha, I did pause to photograph the ceiling inside. Older courthouses have a style and decor that is wonderful. And as many were built early on, sometimes in another century, what is seen helps tell the history of a place, although that history was generally told through the eyes of those wielding power at the time, mainly the movers and shakers of the day. Monied people who settled the area and controlled that through their wealth and influence.

Inside the Douglas County District Courthouse in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Inside the Douglas County District Courthouse in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But the architecture is to be admired, if not the message through the murals that adorn the spaces. The style is grand, elegant and formal. Many times constructed with marble that today would be beyond the reach of many communities and sensibilities and styles change. No longer harkening back to those European roots per se, but looking to create a statement of the those who craft the structures today making their own mark and not wanting to continue a traditionalist look created many centuries ago.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A portrait of a forebear hanging inside the Douglas County District Courthouse in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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