Tag Archives: outdoors

Enjoying Fall’s Light in Siouxland, Gull Point State Park

6 Dec

I love the play of light when I am out photographing in Siouxland and elsewhere. I don’t always capture what I see, but it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the effects of light and shadow play or the interaction of color say between water and foliage. And then I try to amuse myself taking a self-portrait via a reflection and getting results that might be questionable but still fun nonetheless.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Woodlands near Gull Point State Park in Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A short pier at Gull Point State Park in Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Self-portrait at Gull Point State Park in Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lights and Shadows in Siouxland plus effective composition, Omaha, NE

26 Nov

Sometimes when I am out and photographing I know I shoot too many images. It’s just easy to do with digital. In the film days I would shoot more judiciously because I didn’t want to process more than a couple rolls of film. Those days I primarily shot B&W. I would look a scene over and judge what I thought would give me the best result. Now, I shoot more liberally and decide when I look the pics on a large display monitor.

Fall color hangs on in Elmwood Park in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Do I like this crop, the tonality, the road veering away from the scene.

Fall colors hang on in Elmwood Park in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Or does this crop feel more intimate bringing the viewer into the image more quickly if at all. But then, I liked a third take.

Fall colors still appear in Elmwood Park in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And pretty soon I have a dozen photos or more as I make slight variations.

But there are other times when I see and know what I like, especially shooting lights and shadows. I like the ying and yang of the images and their overall feel. And it’s nice to have choices when creating images.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Afternoon sun creates a shadow in Elmwood Park in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A tree retains its fall leaves in Elmwood Park in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Outdoor Research in Siouxland, Iowa Lakeside Laboratory

24 Nov

Sometimes as I travel about Siouxland I come across places that make me wonder what life may have been like had I chosen another path. Especially when I visit the Iowa Lakeside Laboratories in the Iowa Lakes Region which was created to study nature in nature as it is noted. I stopped by there this fall as the stone buildings built during the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corp sit atop a hill and gives a nice view of the surrounding area.

Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The labs are dedicated to various types of studies under the auspices of the University of Iowa and was founded or received its impetus from a former professor.

A bench dedicated to a former Iowa State University professor, Dr. Lois Tiffany, sits on the grounds at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The grounds are well maintained and trails leads one in and around Little Miller’s Bay which the facility sits along and is open for research from those interested from a variety of places, high school and college students as well as instructors themselves looking to further their own knowledge or research. Aside from hot and muggy days, or colder  ones, the chance to explore and learn outdoors seems tempting. Communing with nature to me seems a great way to pass the time.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bench dedicated to a former Iowa State University professor, Dr. Lois Tiffany, sits on the grounds at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Playing with Light in Siouxland, Iowa Lakes Region

18 Nov

This fall I made another trip to the Iowa Lakes Region and explored some more around the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory area. The stone buildings were constructed during the 1930’s with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corp and was the idea of University of Iowa professors to study nature while in nature. I however just like to explore shapes and light sometimes when I am there.

A play of light, lines and shadows at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes one is not always able to “shoot cleanly”, that is without other forms interfering with what you as the photographer wants to tell with an image. But I don’t let that deter me.

A stone built laboratory at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Light and shadow play at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I like the interplay of the light and shapes that I see through my viewfinder and try to isolate those areas that I show the viewer. Some may like it and others, not so much. But for me the joy is the mostly the light and its effect on illuminating objects and places. It constantly changes, sometimes by milliseconds. And within any given space of time can create many more “images” than I could probably capture in my lifetime.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shadow play on the library at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Books lining shelves seen through a window at the library are a collection of journals, information and other research collected by participants at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In Remembrance in Siouxland, West Lake Okoboji

14 Nov

I find that history appears in all sorts of ways when I travel about Siouxland. I may not always grasp what it is behind the meaning, but sometimes one doesn’t really need to. Driving a number of backroads one will always find memorials to people who most probably died in a traffic accident along that stretch of highway. Off to the side of the road, in a ditch, or up a hillside is a small cross. It is a sad reminder of an event, but also dangerous in a way in that it could very well distract other drivers looking at it. And generally, there is no place to pull over to really look and spend some time.

I came across another memorial recently at West Lake Okobji in the community of Wahpeton.

A bench in honor of Beverly Zahrt Jeppeson gives visitors a view of West Lake Okoboji from Wahpeton, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This person may not have died under as tragic a circumstance as a road side remembrance. I don’t really know. But I found that the remembrance itself was carefully thought out and sharing something of this person who probably enjoyed this spot an entire lifetime.

A bench in honor of Beverly Zahrt Jeppeson gives visitors a view of West Lake Okoboji from Wahpeton, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A simple bench with a rather spectacular view probably encapsulates this woman’s lifetime and her love of the outdoors. It reminds of a scene in a movie called Notting Hill with the actors Julia Roberts and  Hugh Grant. A rather unlikely love story with a scene of a park bench honoring the love of two people in a lovely spot hoping that other passersby might find the same peace and contentment as those whose memory is honored.

So I took advantage of the day, spent some time enjoying the view, listening to nature and watching time pass and contemplating if my life is as content as the woman honored with this memorial. It was a nice way to spend a day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A view of West Lake Okoboji from Wahpeton, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A boater makes his out into West Lake Okoboji seen from a bench in honor of Beverly Zahrt Jeppeson that gives visitors a view of what she must have witnessed over the years in Wahpeton, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Loess Hills in Siouxland, Harrison County

23 Oct

Driving around the Siouxland area of Iowa I am many times drawn to the Loess Hills region. The compacted earth created by an earlier ice age created these specific deposits of earth. It is the rolling hills that I enjoy enjoy driving about in and sitting on the top of one such hill and looking into the valley below. People think of fly-over Iowa as flat corn field, but corn fields are found in the hills as well.

A summer’s day driving through the Loess Hills in Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday August 29, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A summer’s day driving through the Loess Hills in Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday August 29, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But there are also those picturesque barns and vistas that can bring simple joy when out driving about and enjoying nature. Being outdoors being the key aspect.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A summer’s day driving through the Loess Hills in Harrison County, Iowa Tuesday August 29, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Overlooking a valley floor from the Loess Hills in Monona County, Iowa Tuesday August 29, 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

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