Tag Archives: nature

Exploring Summer in Siouxland, Lakeside Lab in Milford

11 Aug

Clouds dot the sky on a perfect summer’s day at the Iowa Lakeside Lab off of Millers Bay at Lake West Okoboji near Milford, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

One of the stone hut labs built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s at the Iowa Lakeside Lab off of Millers Bay at Lake West Okoboji near Milford, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy stopping by the Lakeside Lab near Milford up by the lakes when I get the chance. Every season of course brings a different look to the place. Summer has its own bit of color, although in places one has to look closely.

Except for those extremely hot and humid days, hanging out near the water is a delight. As is exploring the area looking for various subjects and just seeing what is there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Boats sit stacked and waiting for use at the Iowa Lakeside Lab off of Millers Bay at Lake West Okoboji near Milford, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of plants decorate the grounds of the Iowa Lakeside Lab off of Millers Bay at Lake West Okoboji near Milford, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Flowering plants that maybe part of the study mission dot the area at the Iowa Lakeside Lab off of Millers Bay at Lake West Okoboji near Milford, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Flowering plants follow the sun at the Iowa Lakeside Lab off of Millers Bay at Lake West Okoboji near Milford, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing Color in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

1 Aug

Some days during the summer it can be just a nice day to be out and seeing nature. On a recent visit to Arnolds Park I tried not to take in a broad view of places I have seen a few previous times, but looked for something photographically that appealed to me yet was something I had not really pursued. It seems easy to get caught in the same wagon train rut and ride along just trying to photograph something familiar but differently. And sometimes when relaxing and not really thinking about what it is exactly that you want to do differently, ideas appear. And the days seems all the brighter for it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Looking for color in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Looking for color in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Getting the Flutters near Siouxland, Butterfly House in Sioux Falls, SD

30 Jul

A photographer gets more of a close-up of a butterfly than he anticipated during the Summer Photo Safari class at the Butterfly House and Marine Cove in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday, July 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I had an opportunity to take some students to Sioux Falls, SD recently and visit the Butterfly House and Marine Cove. The Butterfly House can be challenging to photograph inside, where it is hot, humid (naturally) and the little creatures flutter and alight and leave within the blink of an eye. To the amusement of some and some consternation on the part of the others.

A young boy tries to convince the hitchhiking butterfly to leave his cap along while visiting the Butterfly House and Marine Cove in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday, July 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The little creatures number a variety of species and flutter about oblivious to their human visitors while just feeding or drifting on the inside air currents. A bit of nature up close and personal which doesn’t seem to bother the delicate creates.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Two women enjoy their close-up encounter with a butterfly at the Butterfly House and Marine Cove in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday, July 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A butterfly takes a break from flight during the Summer Photo Safari class at the Butterfly House and Marine Cove in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday, July 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Moment in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

28 Jul

Sitting on a dock and soaking in a summer’s day in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Many times when I am out and about in Siouxland, most times looking for photographic opportunities, there are times when I just stop and enjoy the moment. Some one I read along the way said how can a person really enjoy photography if they don’t enjoy the view, or something to that effect. And most assuredly this person was not talking about war photography or human life crises. But nature, where it’s possible to be in one’s own zone and embrace what’s there. There is truth to another older saying that if one doesn’t stop to smell the roses at some point, the beauty and inspiration gets passed by.

Jerry L Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Color or B&W in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve

19 Jul

When I am out photographing in Siouxland my mind jumps back and forth between taking photos in color and B&W. People who attend my courses sometimes wonder about taking pictures in B&W and I firstly just encourage them to try it. Most cameras have a monochrome setting that allow users to take photos in B&W. This pics will not look like the black and white of yesterday, not without a bit of tweaking in a post processing software like Photoshop, Lightroom, Silver Efex Pro or Alien Skin.

I personally shoot with a Fuji X series camera that has excellent film simulation setting allowing me to shoot in a B&W setting.

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The question though that a person needs to ask is when is the appropriate time for using B&W. In the above example either color or B&W works as a medium since both has contrast within the image that makes either work. But mostly it comes down to whether or not a color photo or scene will render well in B&W. One has to think tonally in making that judgment call.

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The flowers on this plant stand out against the green foliage but get lost in the grey tonality of the second image. Sometimes color is a better choice. One needs to make certain the subject matter is “clean”, or able to stand out against a background. Leading lines, use of thirds and a host of other compositional techniques will also make a B&W photograph stronger just as it does in color, but one really needs to make certain the subject matter that might pop in color will stand out in B&W.

A little practice, a little perseverance and an eye detail will get a person started on the right track.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Nature around Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE

13 Jul

Visitors enter a formal garden at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always with a bit of anticipation when one enters a new area what a person will find on the other side. Laurtizen Gardens in Omaha, NE has a number of gardens to visit within its 100 plus acres of landscape. From formal and informal gardens to other little gems with artwork.

Visitors explore a formal garden setting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A visitor could spend 2-3 hours just wandering and enjoying the beauty that unfolds before one’s eyes.

Light play illuminates a plant at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A rose garden at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While the time of day, mid to late morning when I visited in June might not be an ideal time to photograph a perfect garden scene, it was still pretty spectacular. I especially enjoyed the Lithuanian and Baltic folk tales garden area one walks into just strolling down a path.

One garden pathway revisits Lithuanian folk tales and Baltic mythology at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

One garden pathway revisits Lithuanian folk tales and Baltic mythology at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

One garden pathway revisits Lithuanian folk tales and Baltic mythology at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The interpretive signs are handy in putting into perspective a visual artist’s rendition of the folk art one encounters.

A Baltic myth tells of a young sea-goddess who lived in the Baltic Dea and fell in love with a young fisherman. One garden pathway revisits Lithuanian folk tales and Baltic mythology at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Egle is the Queen of Serpents who was a young girl who married a serpent prince. One garden pathway revisits Lithuanian folk tales and Baltic mythology at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And after walking a few trails there are places to take a break and just view the activity or scenes of beauty that surrounds, astounds and trail into another area for more exploration.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Pathways lead visitors through wooded areas and into garden settings at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Benches in shaded areas give visitors a feeling of seclusion when stopping to rest or admire the view at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A brick fence sets off a formal garden setting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Garden Surprise near Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE

27 Jun

On a recent trip with a south of Siouxland I visited the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, Nebraska. Although it was a very hot day, the gardens visit was truly wonderful. A few different gardens, some formal and others not, with a variety of plants. But what truly caught my eye was a model train setup in the gardens with tracks and wooden trestles made from twigs and branches with plants growing around and within the train tracks.

People watch a model train cross a trestle bridge overhead at the model train exhibit at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

There are a number of trestle bridge configurations for the several running trains at the model train exhibit at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The train master Bill Willis explained that the setup was commissioned and built by Paul Busse, a model railroad enthusiast, who has built other such models in other cities. Willis maintains and sees that repairs as needed are done as well as checking tracks for overgrown plants.

A plaque at the explains how the train exhibit originated at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Bill Willis oversees the model train exhibit set up at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Bill Wilis, trainmaster and dispatcher clears a track area of debris at the model train exhibit at the Lauritzen Gardensin Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Such a setup was thing I never really imagined finding in a garden setting. But it is so beautifully entrenched and appears almost out of nowhere until you walk right up on it. It was just a delight.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visitors wait for one of several running model trains in an exhibit at the Lauritzen Gardensin Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

There are various trestle bridge configurations set up for the model train exhibit at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One of several running model trains crosses a trestle bridge at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

There are numerous trestle bridge configurations at the model train exhibit at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Besides the wooden branch and twig train track configurations, there are also a number of buildings representing different aspects of the city of Omaha built of wood at the model train exhibit display at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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