Tag Archives: lifelong learning

Translating what you see in Siouxland, Black and White, Western Iowa Tech

8 Nov

This past session I taught an introduction course into photographing black and white using a digital camera. In the days of film of which I started with Tri-X and then went on to use other films and film-types while working for newspapers, it’s not an easy to always see black and white in a color world. One needs to think about tonality. And how color transforms, or not, when switching to black and white.  Some images of subjects work better than others, but without seeing what works and what doesn’t, will not help a person learn.

Tree line on the campus of Western Iowa Tech Thursday, Oct. 11 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Clouds that could llo like waves washing onto a shoreline above the trees taken at Weestern Iowa Tech Thursday, Oct. 11 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The shimmer off the trees was fairly pronounced with the yellow leaves and soft sun peeking through the clouds, but doesn’t quite translate without maybe a darker background to make a more striking difference. The wispy clouds however with dark tree in foreground and deeper (blue) sky makes the cloud photo more striking and dynamic. But there are scenes when less contrast works just as well, especially when photographing people. But taking the photo and then studying it and deciding what one likes is all part of that journey a photographer may take in figuring out what kind of photographer he/she wants to be when they grow up.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Experimenting with Vision in Siouxland, Le Mars

2 Nov

One of the photo sessions I like to do for my Fall Photo Safari class is have the students shoot at night. It requires a little different skill set and makes people stop and think a bit as the sun sets and night comes on. Different white balances, higher ISO’s, faster apertures if the lens allows. But I find it all part of the learning process. But it can also give them a chance to experiment and create more arty photos than strictly documenting. And it’s another way of exploring Siouxland, something I myself don’t do often enough.

Shooting at dusk during the Fall Photo Safari class during the evening in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 27 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Shooting at night during a short rain for the Fall Photo Safari class during the evening in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 27 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Throughout the evening walking about Le Mars it rained off and on. The photo of the Blue Bunny ice cream sign is nice in and of itself, but I really like the drops of rain hitting a puddle with the sign’s reflection showing. These are the kinds of opportunities I like to point out and the fact that I was using one of the florescent white balance settings that enhanced the colors a bit rather than shooting a more traditional documentary image.

Shooting at night one must be a bit patient, because opportunities will avail themselves.

Shooting at night during the Fall Photo Safari class during the evening in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 27 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Shooting at night during the Fall Photo Safari class during the evening in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 27 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I also did a quick demonstration of using off-camera flash than can sometimes help enhance a subject or add a little extra.

Lori poses for a quick off-camera speed lite demonstration while shooting at night during the Fall Photo Safari class during the evening in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 27 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I know I took close to a couple hundred images in the span of one and a half hours. But I like shooting and attempting various possible photographs, some which work, and others that fail miserably. But, it informs me the next time I want to try something similar or find a situation I find interesting.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Shooting at night during the Fall Photo Safari class during the evening in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 27 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Shooting at night during the Fall Photo Safari class during the evening in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 27 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Shooting at night during the Fall Photo Safari class during the evening in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 27 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An outing of out Siouxland, Henry Doorley Zoo Omaha, NE

11 Jul

A recent outing for a Summer Photo Safari class I teach through Western Iowa Tech’s Lifelong Learning program took us to the Henry Doorley Zoo in Omaha, NE. It also happened to be the opening day for the NCAA College World Series held in Omaha and one of the hotter days at that point in summer that it was an interesting day of shooting.

People enjoy zoos. As hard as it is sometimes to see the animals caged and pacing or simply ignoring the humans staring at them, people are still drawn to go and see the animals that only see in pictures in a book or magazine.

A young girl poses for a picture inside a viewing area as a Lowland Gorilla sits outside in the shade during a hot day at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And sometimes people receive lasting impressions as they are able to interact with some of the animals and it makes an impact.

A visitor gets a personal experience as she feeds a giraffe at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Children the antics of one of the Lowland gorillas at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But the heat that day definitely made an impression and people took advantage of mist stations along the way to stay cool and have some fun at the same time.

A family cools off under a misting station on a hot and humid day at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

By and far though I found the best way of staying cool was to visit the indoor exhibits which were as fascinating as the outdoor ones.

A visitor takes photos of fish swimming overhead in the Aquarium at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But I think it’s not only the guests visiting the zoo that enjoy it as do the individuals who work with the animals and care for them and bond with them on a daily basis much like many of us do with our own pets. Sometimes visiting and seeing something exotic doesn’t necessarily have to take one to the other side of the world, but it is a nice first step in that direction.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A parrot gets cozy with its trainer at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Framing a view in Siouxland, Grand Meadow Heritage and Storm Lake

30 Dec

Sometimes trying to capture images in Siouxland I struggle to see what is before me and really strive to make an image that reflects what I see. Some images jump out at you and others you have to work a bit. When it comes to framing, does one need to be literal all the time and really “frame” your subject matter, or can one be a little less rigid in how the framing is done and does it still work. Some images work regardless of the artifice used in making them stand out on their own. Others not so much. But the more one attempts I believe the better one begins to see the possibilities.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Photo Safari class at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center near Washta, Iowa Saturday Oct. 21, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A short walk on a short pier into the lake at Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday Sept. 6, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring Siouxland not for the Faint of Heart, Smithland

16 May

When I find places I like to use for my Lifelong Learning Photo Safari class I teach at Western Iowa Tech I like to explore the places in Siouxland prior to bringing students there. And exploring places to photograph to me is have the fun. I generally try to find places that as a class we can walk around and explore for a couple hours. On a last outing recently in Vermillion, SD, one of my students mentioned that we had walked quite a bit this particular day. I did say that the class description does mention having comfortable shoes to wear in signing up for the class. He laughed.

When photographing and getting to know a place I find it difficult to see things if I am just driving about. Now I do that when cruising back roads in the country, but in a lot of small communities I find a place to walk and then explore. I don’t exercise as much as I used to when my knees were a little better, but walking out, unless it’s a tornado or blizzard, is doable in any type of weather. And again, what’s a better way to spend a day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Weighing Options in Siouxland, Woodbury County

12 May

I try to impress on those folk taking my photo classes through Western Iowa Tech Community College that when taking photographs it’s always a decision. A decision of what to leave in the photo and what to exclude. Painters start with a blank canvas as many others have stated, and add to the canvas what they want the viewer to see. Photographers start with a frame and need to exclude information to compose a better photograph to help inform the viewer what exactly it is they as the photographer want the viewer to see. An oft bantered phrase, “Less is More” is at times appropriate. Don’t include too much information in your photo if you want a viewer to see details.

On a drive back home from an outing with a class I came across this barn in Siouxland in rural Woodbury County. I just liked its appearance. But then I thought maybe I should isolate some various aspects of the bar to force the viewer to see what I was looking at that day. A viewer may or may not agree with me about what and how I photographed something, but c’est la vie.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Hints of color on a barn off of County Road D-54 near Danbury, Iowa Saturday, April 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The door of a barn off of County Road D-54 near Danbury, Iowa Saturday, April 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The door of a barn off of County Road D-54 near Danbury, Iowa Saturday, April 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Gold in Siouxland, Le Mars

11 Nov

I always like little finds that are just pleasant. Places that I visit time and again can pleasantly surprise you with a “new addition” that wasn’t previously there. I have walked around Le Mars, Iowa alley ways and downtown area numerous times. And yet I can still be surprised, such as finding a yellow door accompanied by a blue wall. I was with a class and when we came upon this everyone took a collective breath. It isn’t ideal with a cable and another electrical pipe running across the wall, but still, it did “brighten” our day, pun intended.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A colorful entryway in an alley in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Oct. 22, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A colorful entryway in an alley in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Oct. 22, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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