Tag Archives: photo safari lifelong learning class

Selecting a Subject in Siouxland, rural Iowa and Nebraska

2 Mar
A lone leaf, left behind at the Missouri Valley Welcome Center just outside of Missouri Valley, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Setting out with a purpose when photographing is always a good course to take when time is limited and the destination known. But it doesn’t always work out that way. In a free wheeling photo course I offer at a local community college I take the “students” to various locations I have previously visited and share with them a place in which to become familiar and find photographic opportunities.

Finding a perfect photographic subject at Preparation Canyon State Forest Overlook north of Pisgah, Iowa Nov. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes depending on the place and subject matter it can be challenging to different students at different times with different interests. Hence the purpose of the class in being prepared to change one’s photographic perception whether for class or a vacation or whatever the occasion. Circumstances change and one should be ready to pivot with those changes which may bring opportunity or not.

Greeted by a subject at the No Toll Troll Stroll park in Oakland, NE Saturday, October 31, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Having worked for a few smaller newspapers I always enjoyed getting out and photographing and learned that my preconception of what I might encounter may not always hold true to what I found Thinking on one’s feet is probably a good way of putting it. Seeing the opportunity to photograph something as opposed to photographing what one might think is possible when getting to a destination. One never left a newspaper assignment without having something “usable”. I had a few editors “disappointed” because I didn’t come back with the photograph of what they imagined in their mind. And never mind that what they imagined may not have existed except for in their own head, one just has to be open to the opportunity of what is, rather than be disappointed with what is not.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Finding some color on a fall day at Preparation Canyon State Park north of Pisgah, Iowa Nov. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Learning to see in Siouxland, Sioux City

13 Oct

I teach a few photo courses through a lifelong learning program at the local community college. One of the courses deals with some technical aspects all cameras have in common, such as exposure and color space and learning to use manual and Aperture preferred settings. Mostly I spend time with teaching various compositional techniques and then giving “assignments” asking those taking the class to go out and photograph subjects using specific compositional approaches, like the rule of thirds, leading lines, shapes and patterns and repetition. All to get the attending students to learn to see. However their own particular vision directs them. Another course is a Photo Safari course, where I meet with students in the field at various locations and we just photograph. I help them with some technical aspects, but mostly point out possible photographs that might involve light, shapes and patterns that intersect, leading lines, etc. My goal is just to get them to expand beyond whatever snapshots they may currently shooting. I also challenge them while out shooting to use only one lens. And if that happens to be a “kit” lens, to use only one or two focal lengths. These photos were shot recently using only a 50mm. A few with a Holga 50, and the rest with a Canon 50. It forces one to “zoom” with your feet and to work your composition more. But above all, to photograph how one sees the world and just enjoy it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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