Tag Archives: old barn

Enjoying History in Siouxland, Without Knowing it, rural South Dakota, Beresford

20 May

Older barns in disrepair seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I traverse various parts of Siouxland while driving about I find that I see fewer and fewer older wooden barn. The rustic look, even in disrepair, hail to an era that has for the most part passed. Farmers or those farming ( industrial operations) no longer erect the wooden structures that at one time housed animals, harvested crops and machinery. As the bigger is better mantra continues to envelope America and it’s ideal of business the small farmer also has disappeared and the structures now that house equipment is metal or fiberglass. More cost effective, less maintenance and all of those things that attribute to the bottom line.

But I miss seeing the structures. And most times I happen upon them at the wrong time of day while out driving around. Maybe seeing them in passing. Sometimes stopping, sometimes not, depending on if I am time constrained to arrive someplace.

Two older barns seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The rustic nature appeals to my visual sense, but the use and disuse and decay speaks to another passing of an era where form and factor are no longer valued. That thought could be addressed to a lot of areas and state of affairs these days. When at a small time museum a few years ago a docent was showing school children and older wall phone which had the spin knob to wind it up and get a connection along with the ear piece held to one’s head and the extended speaker you had to lean into to speak with the operator, as well as the desk top model with the rotary dial.

The children had no idea what the two items were, and were quite astonished when they learned that what they carried in their pockets and took for granted was large, non moveable and didn’t have a screen. Advances in technology is marvelous with many wonderful inventions, but sometimes I wonder at what loss does this occur without the accompanying history that brought the state of humanity to this next level of achievement and the effort to get there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An older barn in disrepair seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An Oddity in Siouxland, rural South Dakota

26 Mar
A tree grows out of a silo near a barn off of Highway 4 in South Dakota not far from Akron, Iowa Tuesday, February 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always fun when driving around Siouxland to come across what one might think of as an oddity of nature. When driving in rural South Dakota just over the Iowa border coming across a tree growing out of a silo made me think of a very large potted plant.

A tree grows out of a silo near a barn off of Highway 4 in South Dakota not far from Akron, Iowa Tuesday, February 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Somehow I am doubtful that a farmer planted this tree in the silo and possibly was as surprised as his/her neighbors when it finally topped the structure. I had to admit it did put a bit of a smile on my face when I saw it from a distance and then decided to drive a bit closer to see if it was real or not. Somehow I think it would make a great decorated Christmas ornament, but won’t hold my breath to see if the owner thinks that as well. But it does make a great country scene.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A barn off of a gravel road near Highway 4 in South Dakota not far from Akron, Iowa Tuesday, February 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A tree grows out of a silo near a barn off of Highway 4 in South Dakota not far from Akron, Iowa Tuesday, February 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Simple themes in Siouxland

21 Jul

When I teach some of my photo courses at the local community college I tell students that at times, most times really, it is better to keep things simple than trying to be too complex. I “give assignments” to those taking my classes so they can concentrate on executing some simple tasks, like making photographs with leading lines or color or using thirds. I tell them that most photographs have a number of intersecting compositional techniques. But the most important thing is to make your subject matter, no difference what it is, the dominant element in your photograph so that whatever compositional technique is utilized, the viewer knows what they should be seeing or getting their attention. Less is more, or the more adroit saying, KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) which is probably not politically correct anymore.

Too many times I see a good photograph, or the possibility of one, but there are too many competing elements within the frame, so the viewer is not quite certain where their attention should be focused. That is where the dominant element should always come into play.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Exploring Siouxland’s back roads

17 Apr

With nicer weather comes the opportunity to explore some more of the backroads of the Siouxland area. During the winter months and again in early spring and sometimes summer, the weather conditions can make driving dirt and gravel roads at times almost perilous. The roads tend to shift underneath your vehicle’s wheels even if you are only driving 3o mph or less.

But it’s on the backroads where history lies for a state like Iowa. Old abandoned homesteads and equipment remain there unused. Sometimes collected, other times discarded. The history behind these places and items have their own stories that would be insightful at best and informational from a time period that no longer exists.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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