Tag Archives: outdoors

A Warm-up in Siouxland, Bacon Creek Park, Sioux City

14 Feb

A runner takes advantage of a warm day at Bacon Creek park Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

During a recent change in weather in Siouxland, I ventured out to a local park, Bacon Creek, to enjoy some breathable fresh air without my lungs freezing. And I wasn’t alone. The recent extreme temperatures that with windchill was well below zero, approaching almost a -40 degrees. But people with their dogs or by themselves getting some exercise were enjoying the 40 degree weather, practically a 100 degree swing from the couple days previous.

On a warmer day than normal people walks the path at Bacon Creek park Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A runner and her dog enjoy the warmer than normal day at Bacon Creek park Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

More snow and cold is expected in the forecasts which is not to be unexpected for this time of year. But it is nice for a respite from the very cold weather and a chance to enjoy nature again without feeling the need to hurry from one indoor location to the next.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Someone left a Christmas ornament hanging on one of the trees at Bacon Creek park Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A warm day at Bacon Creek park Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Rescuing Raptors Near Siouxland, Fontenelle Forest, Bellevue, NE

2 Feb

A recent visit south of Siouxland took me to the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE. A nice park with plenty of trails and some easy board walks for everyone to easily navigate and enjoy the outdoors.

The visitor center contains a wealth of information before checking out the trails at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Another interesting aspect of that park/preserve is there is a raptor rescue center which helps rehabilitate wild birds.

A raptor refuge can be found at the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A raptor refuge can be found at the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There were only a few birds there when I visited but the set up for the center was similar to a large tree house, or collection of a few tree houses that housed the creatures and situated visitors on a hillside overlooking the park.

A raptor refuge can be found at the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A raptor refuge where a variety of birds are rehabilitated and cared for can be found at the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It made an enjoyable experience to see such birds of grandeur up close and the fact that if successful, most, if not all, would be returning to the wild once their medical situations were over. A nice way to enjoy nature for part of a day and something to look forward to again once warmer temps arrive this spring.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A raptor refuge can be found at the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors are given a tour of the raptor refuge at the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing the Forest’s Trees near Siouxland, Fontenelle Forest

1 Jan

During a recent excursion down into Nebraska I visited the Fontenelle Forest located in Bellevue, NE and couldn’t believe such a place existed within a city.

The visitor center contains a wealth of information before checking out the trails at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Fontenelle Forest is an ongoing project in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The visitors’ center has a wealth of information and exhibits on display and is a nice place to just sit and watch the outdoors from an enclosed area. But the network of extensive board walks was really very nice helping a person traverse a large area and enabling one to see more of the park.

Miles of boardwalk allow easy access to see various areas at the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Miles of boardwalk allow easy access to see various areas at the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Boarded walks head out in a myriad of directions for easy access in Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Their was also convenient benches along the way that allows one to sit and just enjoy the quiet and nature’s sounds or view the surrounding area at one’s leisure.

Convenient seating along a boardwalk is available to visitors to sit and enjoy the views a while, such as the Missouri River at the Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While walking about I found signage that informed me about the park and certain aspects of what inhabits the area. Talking to another visitor who was carrying a camera with a long lens and a monopod, he mentioned that a few weeks earlier during a migration period a particular species of bird (of which I have forgotten) had to stay grounded because of wet weather passing through interrupting its migration south, and he said there were so many that it was impossible not to photograph them within an arm’s length.

Signage helps explain to visitors various aspects of the park so one is more informed about the area when visiting Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Signage along the paths help inform visitors what they might see in the immediate area at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The day I was out there were families walking about enjoying themselves, trying to outdo one another in spotting birds they recognized.

A family stops to enjoy a view at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Paths make their way up and down the hillsides in Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And from the board walks steps descending into valleys brought one to more trails and other delights making wandering around the park a pleasant and almost timeless visit, time slipping by without realizing it had. Some days should be so carefree and unencumbered. Nature, the outdoors and a peaceful place to enjoy it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Acres of forested land can be accessed at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Sunshine and a few lingering leaves makes the Fontenelle Forest sparkle in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Some interesting trails with starts and stops at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, NE Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Siouxland’s Tonality of Summer, Le Mars Bike Trail

17 Aug

Some days you feel like a nut, some days you don’t, to borrow a jingle from a candy bar commercial. Walking the Le Mars Bike Trail is always pleasant. More pleasant when the weather is cooler, but I like the route and depending on whether one is a nut one day or not, a person can see something numerous times and yet see it differently.

Light and shadow involving a highway bridge and supports along the Le Mars bike path in Le Mars, Iowa July 20, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have traversed this route numerous times. And I always try to see it differently. This time I looked at it through tones, as in black and white tones. My first few photographic jobs as a newspaper photographer involved shooting B&W for these various publications. And it is through the tonal variety within an image as well as the subject matter that creates the photograph which people may remember. Color does not help here. And if one looks at color when shooting B&W it may even skew results because those bright reds will be surprisingly dark shades of grey. And to differentiate a person in similar color that seems apparent in the “real” world we live in, is not in B&W. One must be a little more deliberate in the execution of creating a photograph.

Light and shade along the Le Mars bike path in Le Mars, Iowa July 20, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

You want highlights to draw a viewer’s attention and lead them merrily through your photograph to a destination that can be mysterious or in plain sight. But in black and white it still must deliver a final effort or effect which is what hopes all photographs will do.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shade along the Le Mars bike path in Le Mars, Iowa July 20, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter wonderland in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserver

3 Mar

As March nears and winter, hopefully, begins receding in Siouxland, and with what little snowfall occurs, people are quick to get outside and enjoy themselves before the sunshine and warmer temps remove all the snow.

Cross country skiers getting in a morning’s workout at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City grooms its trails over the winter time for people to cross country ski and hike. Recently I tried using my snowshoes but the snow was too compacted. Great for skiing, not so much for the shoes. But the trails are nice to traverse and enjoy the winter season.

The sun would occasionally appear from behind clouds casting shadows that was a welcomed sight even as the temperature was still cold at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Except for the small birds that nest in trees, especially if they don’t fly south for the winter. Their nest laid bare in open branches until Mother Nature signals the cycle to continue and the sun warms the earth and green once again covers the area.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A naked bird’s nest getting buffeted by winter’s whims at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Blue Winter Skies in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

23 Feb

As winter inches toward spring in Siouxland, or at least it feels that way, nature occasionally teases us with what looks like a nice day. Sunshine, blue sky and only a little snow.

A wintry blue sky day with chilly temperatures at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But looks can be deceiving. And on a walk out at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve I was heartened by a flock of geese flying overhead. There appeared to be too many for it to be a local grouping. And then later I saw more. If our fine feathered friends are on the move, I can only hope that winter is as well and these trails and grasslands will be greening up and moving into that next cycle of life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The sign of geese flying over the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD may be a sign that spring is nearing, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A wintry blue sky day at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sun and Shade or Light and Dark in Siouxland, Rural Iowa

29 Jan

Some days when I am out driving about Siouxland I don’t always have an objective in mind for what I want to photograph, other than when I see something I like I stop and take a photograph. It isn’t until sometime later that themes, or my perception of such emerge from my images. I enjoy photographing contrasts, lights and darks. The ying and the yang competing against one another within an image.

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

It’s helpful if there are other elements that pull the viewer into it and make the image more compelling. But sometimes you settle for what you have and call it a day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A nice image with a leading line and shapes and angles on a freezing day at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Shadows and leading lines on a freezing day at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Shadow play off of a main downtown street in Blair, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

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