Tag Archives: scenics

Siouxland warm up, Rural Woodbury County

21 Jan

Recently the below freezing and bitterly cold windchill in Siouxland has given way to a heat wave. In the Midwest, sometimes temperatures in the 20’s make people think it’s spring. And currently temperatures have risen in the 40’s, highly unusual for this time of year but very welcomed. And it’s not surprising than even our animal friends welcome such a change and like to bask themselves in the warmth of the sun.   Jerry Mennenga Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland’s cold weather respite, Rural Woodbury County

18 Jan

Recently the Siouxland area had a cold weather respite with the temperature hitting 40 degrees. After a few days, which seemed like weeks of below freezing temps and wind chill to make it below zero temps, this was a nice break. It was nice to get in the car and drive about seeing what again, was over that next hill.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Wandering Siouxland’s Loess Hills

29 Oct

Last week I had a couple days where I could wander about in the northern and southern areas of Northwest Iowa, affectionately known as Siouxland. There is a land phenomenon and area called the Loess Hills, a formation of wind-deposited loess soil in the westernmost part of Iowa and Missouri along the Missouri River. The only other area this type of land formation occurs is in China.

It is a nice drive to wander among the farm country and small communities that dot the area. To get lost among the rolling hills and not worry about the time, but to take the time to find photographic moments on a nice autumn day with a light wind and blue sky. One doesn’t often get these opportunities, but when they occur, Carpe Diem.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A small Siouxland community that gave a lot, Castana

27 Oct

 

While out driving around the Siouxland area in the Loess Hills region of Northwest Iowa, I passed through the small community of Castana, which in its heyday, like a lot of other now smaller Iowa communities, was bustling when first settled.

The Monona County Economic Development website lists this information: ” Population 147, Castana was platted on July 24, 1886.  When a branch of Chicago Northwestern Railway connected Castana traders with the latest goods and services.  Castana was named by the founder, for what he believed to be the Latin word for chestnuts. “Geocaching” fans will find Castana at a latitude of 42.074N and  longitude -95.908  Castana is loaded with attractions and recreation areas.  Western Iowa Experimental Farm near Castana was established in 1946 for the development of agriculture in the Loess Hills.  Loess Hills Wildlife Area and Sylvan Runkel Preserve is the location of the annual Loess Hills Prairie Seminar.  Composed of approximately 3000 acres of native prairie and woodland area it offers the best hiking, bird watching, and primitive camping. The Loess Hills Ranch & Winery is located at the Timber Ridge Recreation area in rural Castana.
Castana City Hall, 103 Pine St., Castana, Iowa 51010,Phone: 712-353-6747.

 

The City of Castana has this information on its website: “In the summer of 1866 A. G. Hammond of Hartford, Conn., purchased two hundred acres of land, on sections 23 & 24 of James M. Kelsey, and engaged J. B. P. Day to build a store building and a hotel the following spring. However, during the winter Mr. Hammond died and Messrs. Day & Co. (F. A. & J. B. P.) purchased the land and lumber, and during the summer of 1867 built the store and dwelling combined which was the Old Castana headquarters. The building was completed by July 4, and a big crowd gathered there… A first-class violinist traveling west in company with S.C. Hoadley could play any tune and the party held out until morning.  The Castana post office was established September 11, 1865, with A. J. Hathaway as Postmaster. It was moved to the store in 1867 and F. L. Day appointed Postmaster, who was succeeded in 1869 by F. A. Day. In 1872 there were the following businesses in Old Castana; a blacksmith shop, two stores, and an agricultural implement depot of Penn Bros. & Co. Also mentioned is a Methodist parsonage with Hathaway’s mill close by.  The first baseball club was organized here by Geo. W. Penn in 1872. On July 4, 1873 the “Grange” had a big gathering here. A six-pound cannon was brought for the occasion and the day opened big with a heavy shower about 1 O’clock and broke up the meeting.  In connection with the A. G. Hammond purchase, the American Emigrant Company had made a donation to the county of $2,000 for school purposes and the board of supervisors selected the bench on section 23, as a site for an academy. The movement at this point awoke the jealousy of parties interested in Belvidere and other points and the result was the abandonment of the whole matter and the funds diverted to other projects.  Castana is one of Monona County’s most enterprising towns, located near the center of the county in Kennebec Township, on land purchased by the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Company by the Western Town Lot Company in the early summer of 1886, the survey being completed by July 15, the deed of dedication and the platt bearing the date of July 24, and filed for record July 29, 1886. The town is a distance of about 12 miles from Onawa, the county seat, and about 50 miles from Sioux City, the nearest jobbing point.  The first building erected was the warehouse of Day & Co., just back of their store. This was put up in July, 1886. It is located on the rear of lot 1, block 6, and was put up by J. B. P. Day. The railroad track was laid past the depot grounds April 12.

It was a little after lunch and so I pulled into a park area to eat something I had packed. At the park is a war memorial. A wooden wall held in place by two by fours planted into the ground behind it. A former archway into a local bank (there are no banks there now) sets the memorial off with its marble columns and brick walls. The memorial wall lists all service people killed beginning with the Civil War, and through the Gulf War. There are a lot of names, too many names for a place this size to have sacrificed so many of its sons. I didn’t see anyone there that day so didn’t get a chance to ask questions about the memorial. But however plain it might appear, the long list of names tells a very humbling story.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

 

Siouxland history and Westman College, Le Mars

25 Oct

While driving about looking for fall color, I drove into Le Mars, Iowa, last week and meandered through a few streets until I came upon a park in that small town. I had been by this place in the early 2000’s just after moving to Sioux City, but had forgotten about it. It was the Westmar Memorial Park, situated in the area that was formerly Westmar College, a former college of the United Methodist Church which served the Le Mars community for 107 years. The small campus has since undergone some revitalization with former dormitory rooms converted into apartments and businesses renting or purchasing former college buildings. The trees in the park were absolutely gorgeous though for the fall season, with a rain storm closely following me into town. The colors and darkened sky created a more dynamic and dramatic look making the trees’ color come more alive.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Siouxland photography in Iowa pastels

15 Feb

Recently I have been revisiting some images I photographed when first moving to Siouxland, as well as some I also made in California and elsewhere before moving to Iowa. While in California I attended a few art classes when I had the opportunity and time away from work. One class was oil painting while the other was working with pastel media. The woman who taught these classes was an impressionistic painter, and whose name now escapes my memory. One of her admonitions she used to make was more color, you must add more color.

So I used some photographic prints made on watercolor paper to again try my hand in another art medium. One of the reasons I enjoyed working in oil and pastel is because it was created in 1/1000 of a second. Much like working with a 4X5 camera, which I also previously photographed with, one must slow down, look over the scene and then proceed, albeit more methodically. On some of these prints I added just a touch of color, in others I reworked them quite a bit creating more of a pastel print than a photographic one. even changing the tonality and color of the image than what it previously was done in.

Some photographers have always manipulated their prints, either through selective toning or using hand-tinting to hand color their photographs, once after prints got beyond daguerreotypes and tintypes , the use of a paper medium in processing prints made it much easier to manipulate the image prior to color photography. I find the process of selecting images that work and then the work of changing them a nice departure from day to day shooting and making prints and am glad I found that side path to explore once again.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Fall in Siouxland, Plymouth County

7 Nov

I went for a drive the end of last week to see the remainder of fall and its glorious colors. Although this year the colors have mostly trended toward yellow, there are some trees that show red. A majority of oaks in this area of Iowa have leaves that only turn brown and fall off of the trees. With  cooler weather and rain rather than snow falling lately, the leaves are beginning to “disappear”, covering the ground to start the process all over again. But the drive in Plymouth County, Iowa, was nice. Rolling hills, still some fields of corn that have not been harvested and a sunny day. A nice day to be out and enjoying the remainder of fall. Winter is coming. Pretty soon that falling rain will turn to snow.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Fall is coming to Siouxland, Rural Plymouth County

18 Sep

The weather locally has been a little wacky in Siouxland this summer.  Cool when it should be warm and warm when it should be cool. But as the days grow shorter, with Fall just days away and the annual changing of the clocks by an hour in North America, the quality of light when photographing begins to be truly amazing. I love the Fall season. Cooler temperatures, changing colors (hopefully) and a slightly more direct and softer light. Plus with cooler weather, less bugs when one is out tramping about. And coffee tastes better on a brisk morning photo shoot, or evening one.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Summer, take 2, in Siouxland

9 Sep

It’s September, 2013, and although it’s not yet officially Fall, which is 22 September according to the Almanac, it feels like the end of July and August. It is hot and muggy in Siouxland. The local school district school year began the end of August, and already, children in older schools that do not have air conditioning have already let out early a number of times. It’s beginning to be a sure bet that the children see more early outs from the heat, than snow days during winter, which when I was a young lad they didn’t happen often, but did happen.

I am not a big fan of heat or humidity. I tend to get up early most days, and when I can, go for a drive to look for photographic possibilities in the rural areas. Sometimes I may go later in the day, if the temperature has not soared into the high 90’s with a heat index of 105 degrees Fahrenhiet. When Fall actually happens and Daylight Savings time goes away, the sunrise and sunset becomes more manageable to photograph because there is less of a time to wait in between. This summer, after rain storms, when the following day or two the temperatures cool and clouds appear in the bright blue skies, I go looking. The photographs are just so much more striking.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Travel photographs outside Siouxland

18 Aug

Sometimes over the years one “collects” photographs you like that have been done in a variety of places. Trips or the chance to live somewhere else for a while gives a person an opportunity to spend time photographing other areas of the country. But of course that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some past photographic opportunities here locally I just haven’t been able to post yet. So this gallery is a look of some images I have previously taken. More work can be found here.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

%d bloggers like this: