Tag Archives: nature

Exploring with a “toy camera” in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

17 Oct

With the Fuji X series cameras that I use to photograph with I enjoy sometimes “playing” with some of the special features. Especially the “toy camera” feature. It is reminiscent to me of using a Holga plastic camera when I previously shot film. This setting augments reality and with some subjects add a little something to the image. At least I think so.

Pigeons take flight around a grain elevator in Vermillion, SD Saturday Sept. 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It creates a bit of a vignette and softens the image and sometimes adds a bit of color saturation. Walking around Vermillion where I have been numerous times I enjoy changing up the types of images I might capture. And sometimes I believe it depends on the type of day and weather with how this effect interacts with the subject in creating the image. I think one should always continue exploring how one sees and within limits and a budget limit if one needs too, how to photograph subjects and they sharing that different view with others.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing Butterflies in Siouxland, Sioux Falls, SD

15 Oct

I visited Sioux Falls, SD recently, a northern neighbor to Siouxland and quite the bustling metropolis. Always looking for something new to visit I found out about a butterfly house and aquarium marine cove hidden in a park. The Butterfly House and Aquarium was a bit of a delight. There are roughly 800 butterflies from Central and South America, Asia, Australia and Africa that fly freely about in the butterfly house which makes it an interesting walk about in the small enclosure.

A mom and her daughter check out a butterfly that landed on her are in the Butterfly House of the Butterfly House & Aquarium in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Roughly 800 butterflies from Central and South America, Asia, Australia and Africa fly freely within the Butterfly House of the Butterfly House & Aquarium in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The particular I went was not extremely warm so I personally didn’t find the temperature inside with the butterflies to be overly stifling due to high humidity which I assume these particular species of butterfly enjoy.

A small waterfall adds to the ambience in the Butterfly House at the Butterfly House & Aquarium in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Roughly 800 butterflies from Central and South America, Asia, Australia and Africa fly freely within the Butterfly House of the Butterfly House & Aquarium in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was fun to watch people’s reactions as the butterflies landed on one or swooped nearby chasing one another. One also had to be mindful of some small “button” quail a docent had told me also live there and brought in to deal with an ant problem.

The Butterfly House also has a few “button” quail, an Asian variety, a docent called them to help with an ant problem at the Butterfly House & Aquarium in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s fun to study nature up close that you know won’t readily hurt you and to watch these graceful creatures fly about their habitat.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Taking a Drive in Siouxland, Cherokee County

11 Oct

Whenever I can I just like driving around the Siouxland area exploring and crisscrossing places I have previously been. And on those days following a storm I find it all the more fascinating as the light play can sometimes become incredible to see and photograph.

A summer scenic in rural Cherokee County, Iowa, Wednesday, August 19, 2015. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©

I like strong light filtering through clouds or lighting objects with a darker, stormy sky behind them. It has intensity and creates a bit of drama.

A summer scenic in rural Cherokee County, Iowa, Wednesday, August 19, 2015. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©

 

A stormy day scenic in rural Cherokee County, Iowa, Wednesday, August 19, 2015. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©

And as I tell people that attend my photo classes through a Lifelong Learning program at the local community college, what’s a better way to spend a day than taking photographs.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Motion in Siouxland and sometimes it works, Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD

5 Oct

Having a background in news photography I always try to be prepared for the unexpected. During a normal day’s routine one might cover a school student and do a feature photo, or go to a traffic accident and even sometimes a house fire. When I lived in California I covered wildfires there as well as photographing in South Central L.A. during the Rodney King after verdict rioting that took place when four white police officers were acquitted.

Residents hose down their home in the South Central area of Los Angeles, California during fires and looting incidents after the Rodney King verdict, April 30, 1992. (Jerry L Mennenga ©)

A woman loots items from a Von’s Grocery Store in the South Central area of Los Angeles, California after the Rodney King verdict, April 30, 1992. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Los Angeles fire fighter hoses down a burning building in the South Central area of Los Angeles, California after the Rodney King verdict, April 30, 1992, caused by riots and looting. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In doing that kind of photography one reacts and anticipates. These days I am content shooting small community events like fairs or small town museums to share with people. And, I am not always prepared to capture nature.

On a visit to Sioux Falls, SD, I stopped by Falls Park. It is just a nice place to visit. Bring a picnic and a camera. Families, friends and a general assortment of folk come to hang out and enjoy the ambiance. And the Big Sioux River runs through the park and there are some falls there.

Families and friends hang out at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I travel I always carry a camera and maybe a couple of lenses. What I don’t always carry is a tripod and filters. Polarizer, sure, I use it on sunny days with clouds. But neutral density, no. I don’t think about it. And I don’t carry a tripod. My background in news is that you want to travel light and on the down low. So when the opportunity presents itself capture motion and utilize another skill set I always lament, I should have thought of that.

A photographer spends time waiting for that perfect photograph at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But this particular day I did have my polarizer filter and a 2-stop graduated neutral density filter. Although I didn’t have a tripod I attempted some water motion. Many a day shooting news at at 1/30th of a second or slower when it was necessary. So I am a little rusty. But sometimes you do what you can.

Rushing water headed to the falls at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Rushing water headed to the falls at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday Sept. 23, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It is true that slowing the movement of the water is a nice effect. Maybe next time I will try it at the falls with people in the scene to add another element to the image. And try to be better prepared, although I still probably won’t have a tripod with me.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing Nature in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

29 Sep

On a recent visit to Vermillion, SD, I came upon a walking trail of which I wasn’t aware in Cotton Park inside the community. It follows the course of the Vermillion River, is paved and so is an easy walk to enjoy nature and get away from any immediate surroundings of the town itself.

A small river running alongside a walking trail in Vermillion, SD Saturday Sept. 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was pleasant hearing songbirds along the trail and I even noticed some early signs of fall, changing leaf colors, although sadly, I think the leaves belonged to a poison ivy plant, and a wooly caterpillar. I can never remember the old farmer’s tale whether seeing such a critter means an early winter or a colder one.

Nature along a walking trail in Vermillion, SD Saturday Sept. 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A wooly caterpillar predicting winter on a walking trail in Vermillion, SD Saturday Sept. 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding solitude in a city setting is always a plus in my book, even in smaller communities. Sometimes a getaway shouldn’t involve traveling miles, just maybe a few steps outside of one’s doorway. When I emerged back into the more “civilized” part of the town I saw a coniferous tree that with a little imagination would be perfect for tinsel and Christmas balls, as well as an industrious bee working to harvest some remaining nourishment for the months ahead.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Add some tinsel and colored balls and Christmas is just around the corner in Vermillion, SD Saturday Sept. 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Bees still working even in September preparing for winter in Vermillion, SD Saturday Sept. 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

 

Light Play in Siouxland and the Loess Hills, Monona County

23 Sep

I like driving around the backroads or county gravel roads in Siouxland. Better when it has not recently rained. Nothing like getting stuck to make one appreciate cement roadways. But it’s the backroads where one can find some nice images as you meander around.

Fast moving clouds play and hide and seek with the sun and ground below them in the Loess Hills in Monona County, Iowa Tuesday August 29, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In the Loess Hills in Monona County I keep switch back driving these roads and find myself driving through natural or agricultural settings. It’s especially fun after a recent storm or change in weather when the clouds fill the sky. As they move about they create a lot of light play on the ground and finding oneself in the right place at the right time can create nice images. But, one also has to be patient and wait for the clouds to pass below the sun. And at times it feels like forever.

But it really is worth it and then comes trying to decide which images best describe the scene one photographs. And how the light plays on the ground and what visually is appealing to you. That can be tough, but well worth the time spent enjoying the day, nature and seeing what scenes God displays for you.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Revisiting a state preserve in Siouxland, Gitchie Monitou

7 Sep

This summer I revisited a state preserve in the northern most reaches of Siouxland, Gitchie Monitou. I hadn’t been there for a while and when I returned it was kind of sad because of so much more graffiti on the walls of a former shelter. Plus paint cans dumped around the area. And it wasn’t very good graffiti at that.

Graffiti is sprawled around a former shelter building at Gitchie Manitou State Preserve in Lyon County near Granite, Iowa Thursday Aug. 3, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was a good day to be out, with parts of this summer being very hot and humid, so I though the trip up and a hike would be nice. And the hiking and other aspects of the day and visit were good. Plus I hadn’t seen the preserve during this time of year when it was more green. My last visit was very early in the spring before foliage started leafing out after winter.

Large mansions on the outskirts of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, overlook Gitchie Manitou State Preserve in Lyon County near Granite, Iowa Thursday Aug. 3, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I just find it sad that some folk can’t leave a place as it is for others to follow to enjoy it. I am sure these people have their own residences they could deface with paint or let others deface their residences so those in nature could be spared. But then, I might be a little too old fashioned.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

%d bloggers like this: