Tag Archives: parks

Taking a Stroll in Siouxland, Trolls included, Oakland NE

8 Jul

A little troll acknowledges an entrance to a path near a park in Oakland, NE where one can find the No Toll Troll Stroll seen Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes it is surprising was pops up when traveling about Siouxland. A friend from the local camera club told me about this trail in the small community of Oakland, NE. The No Toll Troll Stroll itself has seen better days, but is still a fun little adventure outdoors and a chance to laugh at the short trail creation local residents created for a little amusement. A short walk through the woods and over some bridges, but no grandmother in sight. The Troll’s Stroll abuts another park that is a bit more clear cut maybe adding to the drama as one “enters” the forest. Lions, tigers and bears? No. But little people that bid one welcome.

A local park in Oakland, NE near the No Toll Troll Stroll seen Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A little troll and friend sits at the base of a tree along a path near a park in Oakland, NE where one can find the No Toll Troll Stroll seen Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a hot, muggy  day the short walk might feel a little overbearing, but still pleasant even if the path is a little worn over the years. I am not certain about its origins, but stopping to ask someone in town and a smile comes to their face and they immediately know what you are looking for with quick directions.

A tree-lined path way in Oakland, NE where one can find the No Toll Troll Stroll seen Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A little troll sits at the base of a tree along a path near a park in Oakland, NE where one can find the No Toll Troll Stroll seen Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was easy to walk past these little fellows as all are places near the base of trees, except for one at the end of the trail, which might be a good clue that the adventure is over and there is no more to the stroll.

A troll hangs from a tree along a path near a park in Oakland, NE where one can find the No Toll Troll Stroll seen Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A wooden bridge crosses a small stream in a park in Oakland, NE where one can find the No Toll Troll Stroll seen Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A few additional wooden bridges will take one to another path, much less traveled these days and a bit more overgrown. But the birds were chirping and a light breeze didn’t make finding the creatures too intimidating. And just in case one might feel a little claustrophobic, one only had to look up and realize, that Oz was not too far away.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A sunny blue sky greets visitors overhead along a path near a park in Oakland, NE where one can find the No Toll Troll Stroll seen Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Venturing out into Siouxland, rural Sioux County

12 Jun

Venturing out in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the state of Iowa slowly opens amid the coronavirus so does areas of Siouxland. Although some areas, like parks were never really closed, it hasn’t been until recently that nature is dressing its season, such as spring with summer hot on its heels if one consider recent over the top temperatures the region has recently endured.

Making a trip back to Oak Grove Park to which I have traveled a few times, mostly during the fall. It’s a nice park, but it was nicer still to get outside and enjoy nature and take a walk, much to the chagrin of friends who know I like to walk about when photographing an area.

Venturing out in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Venturing out in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The sun this day was high overhead filling a blue sky and its light created deep shadows in areas with trees which made it fun and challenging to photograph.

Light and shade brings out details on a rail fence in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bee seeks pollen from a flowering bush in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes photographing detail is easier in harsh light helping the sculpt and shape the image so the subject matter stands out. Then again, a light and airy approach can also be effective depending on what the photographer wants a viewer to concentrate on. Perspective and mystery can make an interesting photograph. Then again maybe not.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Forested acres in Oak Grove Park near Hawarden, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Siouxland Fall in Preparation Canyon State Park, Moorhead

29 Nov

Taking a look around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A sign provides visitors with a history about the area of Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes it’s just nice to get out of doors and enjoy a walk, even a short one, in nature. Preparation Canyon State Park is one area I had not done much hiking in. And it was still pleasant enough of a fall day one could enjoy a walk and not be cold and still see some color in the Loess Hills region of Siouxland. As the cold settles in and the precipitation turns to snow all the color in this and surrounding areas will disappear until next year.

Taking a look around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a look around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Looking out onto surrounding farm land near Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And because this area along with others in Siouxland were settled in the 1850’s or so there is history to be found if one can find it and help you understand a bit more about the area. All of which must look a lot different than the prairie that the first settlers laid eyes on before the invention of the plow changed the landscape.

The vegetation and animal life has changed a great deal over the centuries around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Taking a look around the forrested area of Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am hoping for a few more days of pleasant fall weather and maybe a milder winter without days of cold and windchill with a minus 5 or more below zero temperatures for a little more exploration before any ideas of hibernation set in.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Taking a look around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Taking a look around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying a Fall Day in Siouxland, Lewis and Clark State Park, Onawa

11 Nov

at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days in Siouxland are so nice one just wants to savor them as long as one can. Recently a fall day had temps finally getting back into the 50’s with sunshine. The weather has been a bit funky this year and what should have been a great year for fall color found many trees getting close, but continued cold nights and rainy days seemed to stopped the color change in progress.

at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People were out though enjoying what they thought might be one of the truly nice days this year before the winter season begins bringing a constant chill to the air in the temperature range of the 20’s and 30’s. Indeed chilly and the cold spell helps the trees to drop their leaves before they can reach that peak of color display.

at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But I enjoy what I can and wandered through the park savoring the sunshine, the golden boughs and hoping for maybe one more day when I didn’t have to throw on a heavy coat to go outside and brave the chill.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding the Rustic in Siouxland, Rural Iowa

1 Nov

A weathered barn near Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Driving around the Siouxland area that I live in, there are many “rustic” scenes one can find without much effort. Weathered barns are a bit of a staple in rural Iowa. But over the course of the years these barns have begun to diminish as farmers put up more durable buildings that are made of metal. And as the “family farms” that dotted the rural landscape in Iowa for decades get swept up into ever larger conglomerations if just for survival or bought by corporations, these scenes will probably disappear entirely. Many I have seen over the years and able to revisit have fallen into disrepair. And the need for such buildings has disappeared as well as small farms or farms in general no longer have the variety of livestock (milk cows, pigs, chickens, some steers, etc.) there is no need. Another American icon that will eventually fade into memory for those who can remember such scenes.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Tractor parked near Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Changing Seasons in Siouxland, rural Monona County

30 Oct

Colors are appearing in Monona County, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall colors this year have been a bit spotty. Appearing here and there, just getting started and making one wonder if the colors will mature. Wet weather and heavy winds recently makes me think I am lucky if I find a nice patch of woods to share its beauty as I hunt around the Loess Hills in Monona County and other places.

Fall colors near Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And sadly, as the light appears later in the morning my personal engine doesn’t rev up as quickly until I down a couple cups of coffee and then bundle up against 35 degree temperature to look for the changing scenery and the fact that soon Christmas music will be heard over the radio airwaves and in stores. I can wait for the weather that comes with that change in season and hope to enjoy one or two, maybe three more weeks of fall and the spectacular display that Mother Nature can on occasion share.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Fall colors near Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall is Coming to Siouxland, Stone State Park

22 Oct

at Stone State Park inSioux City, Iowa Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.

Even though weather-wise it feels like autumn has arrived in Siouxland, the weather this year has been so wacky that one day it’s extremely cool, the next hitting the 80’s and 90’s. Recently a Mother Nature mood swing had the area doing a 50 degree temperature swing. Colors are just beginning to show on trees and I am hopeful to get out and see them before more weather makes leaves drop prior to their coming into a full autumn delight.

at Stone State Park inSioux City, Iowa Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.

 

at Stone State Park inSioux City, Iowa Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.

A recent hike through a local state park, Stone State Park, the foliage was still very green. The park is always a nice walk on the roadways or hikes on the trails. After a recent rain I stuck to the roadways as slippery leaves and trails can sometimes add more excitement for my descent down a steep incline that I particularly want to enjoy. Bouncing along isn’t my idea of fun these days, or hobbling back to my vehicle. But fall is a favorite time of year for myself and for others too. Nature gets to display her beauty in ways that are worth waiting an entire year for. Just hoping it’s not a quick view this year.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at Stone State Park inSioux City, Iowa Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.

 

at Stone State Park inSioux City, Iowa Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.

Seeing Color in Siouxland, Le Mars

16 Nov

As November begins and the cooler days increase I am trying to enjoy the remaining color I find as much as I can. The grey of winter will be here soon enough in Siouxland. There will be those glorious sunny blue sky days of December and other winter months, but it may also be 20 degrees out which puts a bit of chill on the enjoyment. So I look, admire, try to get creative with the color I see.

Fall colors at Westmar Park in Le Mars, Iowa Sunday Oct. 16, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Or simply record the scene as the days pass and get shorter, cooler and darker.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Fall colors at Foster Park in Le Mars, Iowa Sunday Oct. 16, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall colors at Westmar Park in Le Mars, Iowa Sunday Oct. 16, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Spring Day in Siouxland, Sioux Falls, SD

2 May

In early April I took a trip up to Sioux Falls, SD to enjoy lunch at a little eatery I found and to just enjoy a warm day in spring. Currently the weather is much cooler again with rain, and that is too be expected. But the nice day brought like-minded people out as they too came to Falls Park in Sioux Falls to enjoy sunshine, the water and just being in the moment.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Some Days are just black and white days in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve

9 Feb

Winter is a season that has its cloudy grey days as well as the sunshine days. In the winter the clouds usually help keep the temps a little higher than a clear blue sky day or evening sky. Shooting during overcast days during the winter season with brown tones and grey tones is not always that appealing, and so that might be a time to shoot in B&W. The Fuji cameras I am currently using allow the option. Previously when shooting Canon I could shoot in a monochrome setting or convert my images once in Photoshop. But Fuji, ever the purveyor of film emulsions and now simulations, allows one to shoot in B&W, make some adjustments and use a “red” filter, “green” filter or a “yellow” filter. Having cut my teeth on B&W and experimented with the 25 red and 15 yellow filters, I was game. There are times even in other seasons when B&W can be appropriate.

A visit to the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in Siouxland in January was an overcast day, with a fairly decent temperature for walking about and seeing what was there. And it never hurts to either try something different, or experiment a little if its been a while. It’s just nice to be outside and enjoying nature.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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