Tag Archives: omaha nebraska

Seeing Humanity in All in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

28 Nov
A silver back gorilla makes his way in its enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some anthropologists and behavioral scientists talk about we humans are close in nature to the primate, maybe even descending from the creatures millions of years ago. Of course folk will debate that scenario until the end of time. But it is fascinating that there are quite similar traits between humans and other creatures. Even if we don’t admit it. And finding that observation in Siouxland just reinforces my notion that all living creatures and interconnected at some point. For good or bad.

On a recent visit to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE I saw what I believes to be an all too common trait of humans, Children especially, but I have seen a few humans behave this way as well. And it reminded me of the cereal commercial, and the siblings exclaiming, “Mikey likes it!” And with Thanksgiving recently occurring I am sure there were a few sceptical humans wondering if they wanted to try something new at the dinner table.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A silver back gorilla checks out a possible snack left in its enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A silver back gorilla eyes a possible snack in its enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
When in doubt, a silver back gorilla checks out a possible snack in its enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Humans honestly come by their scepticism to food if a “distant” cousin also seems suspicious at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A sliver back gorilla decides this snack may not be so bad afterall at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Choosing an Image in Siouxland, Omaha, NE

14 Nov

When out photographing in and around Siouxland I am conscious most times of making images I think will work best for the subject. And more often I photograph in color.

The students I teach photograph in color and it’s how they see. But I do make them think about taking photos in B&W and choosing what works well for the subject and image they want. And sometimes choosing becomes a no-brainer. Some images just stand out in one medium, and then get lost in the translation when choosing another.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A train bell on display at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A train bell on display at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Refuge in Siouxland, Scatter Joy Acres, Omaha, NE

17 Oct
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This fall I came across a small petting zoo located in a quiet neighborhood outside Siouxland in Omaha, NE. Scatter Joy Acres is a place where people can go and on a much smaller scale than the other local zoo in Omaha see animals and sometimes interact with them.

There are a variety of animals and it seems a very family friendly venue as families roamed the grounds waiting for an event to start just checking out the various animals on the grounds.

Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring and finding new places to check out is always fun and the joy of traveling even if that means driving an hour away. Hidden gems to a visitor not familiar with the area. Sometimes these are overlooked because one is a visitor, but then that just means more exploring closer to home and a chance to spend more time on the ground looking than driving or flying.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Play of Light in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

13 Oct
Enjoying the light play at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On matter where in Siouxland I find myself walking about, I enjoy the play of light on objects, scenes, or whatever. It’s the interconnectedness of lights and shadows that create images. Seen in only B&W it becomes more apparent, dramatic even. But that interplay creates images that draw attention. Beyond that though there needs to be something about the image that keeps a person’s viewing attention.

Enjoying the light play at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some images work better than others and one can only continue exploring and trying and creating and working to make images he/she believes have merit.

And then continue walking about and enjoying the moments and time spent exploring.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying the light play at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Revisiting Joslyn Castle near Siouxland, Omaha, NE

9 Oct

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa, a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Making a return trip to see a place in another season is always fun. Places look different at different times of the year especially without white stuff on the ground. The Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE is a good excuse to get outside of Siouxland and do a road trip south. The grounds were nice to visit and the interior of the historic home this time was not decorated for the Christmas season and exuded another look in a way.

A docent shows off original tile work of the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa, a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903.Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa, a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Timbers in the ceiling of the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020, Omaha, NE a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903.

The couple who built the home had material shipped in from around the world, the man having created a printing empire where he sold completed inserts into smaller surrounding communities’ newspapers with features and other world news not always available to small town papers. And in those days every small town had at least one newspaper, and larger communities sometimes had 2 or 3 newspapers, both morning and afternoon editions.

George and Sarah Joslyn rode their horses on their small estate, the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Omaha, NE and lived in a a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A photograph of the former glory of a dining room in the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020, Omaha, NE a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
The dining room in the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020, Omaha, NE a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020, Omaha, NE a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Care was taken in the details of the home with timber shipped in from a specific region of Russia, other material from Italy and also Scotland.

The home didn’t suffer from conveniences either as it had “running” water and even electricity along with gas lamps should there be a power outage.

Great care was given to the details in furnishing the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020, Omaha, NE a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Gas fixtures and electricity were both available to the original owners of the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Omaha, NE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A sitting room in the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020, Omaha, NE a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903.

At this time the Joslyn’s lived on the western edge of Omaha beyond which was prairie, which has since long disappeared as the community grew to become the small/larger city it now is.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A detail of a wall mounted lamp at the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020, Omaha, NE a 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion completed in 1903. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting a Museum near Siouxland and missing the Exhibits, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE

29 Sep

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s a silly thought but sometimes when visiting museums and other attractions in and around Siouxland I miss seeing the attraction. That happens when one becomes too focused on photographing something, anything and not taking a moment to enjoy what is in front of one.

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The architecture of the Joslyn Art Museum is fascinating and the light play inside and out is a feast for visual people as are the works hanging in the museum. I did walk through a current traveling exhibit exploring visuals in today’s society. How some of the visuals are contrived to reflect what may naturally be there but set up, indistinguishable from actuality. It was thought provoking and fascinating. Not the first time, and with today’s political scene, not the last where someone will take images, still or moving, and try to create a narrative, generally false, to make a point or to attack someone or some thing because they don’t agree or approve. Sad.

But once through viewing the exhibit I walked around various galleries I have seen previously still enjoying the permanent collection of art and trying to create my own imagery within the confines.

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I will return again and try to be conscious the next time of stopping, maybe sitting, and looking and pondering those lovely works before me and the creativity these artists who have long since passed using paint, brushes or other means to share their vision with generations to follow and the foresight of someone to collect, display and share these works with others.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summer Days in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

27 Sep

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With Fall officially begun in Siouxland and elsewhere recently, summer days are over, even as warm summer-like weather continues to envelope the area. Cooler temps are predicted in the next couple of weeks, but until then, people will relish these last few days of summer warmth and what they will have to wait and enjoy again next year.

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lauritzen Gardens was ablaze in colorful flowers late summer. Visitors could feast in the summer bouquets walking through the landscape. Light play made the the plants dazzle and come alive in a light breeze, dancing one final jig or waltz, knowing their blooms will fade. As will the light quality that a summer sun washes across the landscape, it’s brightness enhancing shapes and objects it touches and lingers into the final hours of a day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Summer days at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking for Normalcy in Siouxland, Old Dominion Dance Company, Omaha, NE

25 Sep

 

During this long coronavirus pandemic people are looking for some kind of normalcy even in Siouxland to keep themselves from going bonkers. The Old Dominion Dance Company which promotes English country dancing held its first event in six months recently, giving members and others interested in dance a chance to enjoy a friendly activity and company of like-minded folk. Held at the Scatter Joy Acres it was just a nice fall evening with hints of a lingering summer where visitors could relax, see friends, and have a nice night out.

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There seems to always be an equal amount of people who know the country dances and those who are wanting to learn. A couple practice run throughs and soon folk are “flying” over the grass reaching for a hand and performing a “line dance” albeit 17th and 18th century style.

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And as night settled in and the band was reaching its stride the dancers persevered, although some took a break, dancing into the evening. No worries about tomorrow, or the fact that life is now a bit different than a year ago. Cares and thoughts were replaced remembering the left or right foot, first couple or second couple and enjoying the evening.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Light and Shadow in Siouxland, Joslyn Castle, Omaha, NE

15 Sep

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always like revisiting places I have previously been to, in Siouxland and elsewhere. Different time of year gives a different look to the area or place itself, such as the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE. The grounds are very nice and the tour inside was again informative as a different docent volunteer led this tour. Because of the coronavirus fewer people gives those on the tour more of an opportunity to ask questions. And having visited previously ask questions with some knowledge about the history of the place.

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Having been here before I looked differently at the former residence of a prominent family and because the season was more summer than winter as last time the lighting inside was also different. Lights and shadows are always fascinating, at least to me. Enjoying the play of light inside a room. Of course one has to be content with how the sun is when on a tour. Planning for optimal light is never going to happen without unfettered access, and that is not going to happen either.

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But it’s always nice to spend a day out, hearing about an area and wondering how it looked in early pioneer days for those folk who lived there then. The castle at the time was on the western most edge of the community of Omaha with prairie beyond its borders, that is now occupied with homes, many homes. But as I listened I was looking, seeing those little things of interest to me, in my own reverie and speculating how many footsteps had passed these simple areas on how many years and if they appreciated where they were or were just busy with life around them to consider much else.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Summer’s Day in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

9 Sep

A summer’s day at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As summer days dwindle here in Siouxland and elsewhere, people try to enjoy its last few days of sunshine and heat. I myself look forward to fall as I enjoy cooler temperatures the change in light as well as nature’s colors. Labor Day is a marker of the change to come as schools generally are back into full swing, all things considered this year.

A summer’s day at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Lauritzen Gardens is a nice place to spend the time. Seeing the changing blooms from spring into summer. Because of travel time I can never arrive early enough to see the gardens in morning light. Not a fan of rising before the sun and driving distances just to make it happen. So I content myself with what I am able to do and the time of day I can do it in.

Enjoying a summer’s day at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And while we humans can relax and appreciate the bounty before us, other guests seem to like the place as well, although shy, they come popping around at times and stroll the gardens area too.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A turkey enjoys a summer’s day as well at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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