Tag Archives: seasons

Shooting the Moon not Always an Easy Job, Spirit Mound, Vermillion, South Dakota

19 Aug

The sun sets in the west over farmland seen from Spirit Mound, just north of Vermillion, SD Thursday evening, August 11, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Many times when I go out and about in Siouxland looking to photograph a subject I always have high hopes. And then really, really hope that I get lucky. The recent super moon that appeared earlier in August was an opportunity to try my hand in creating a “spectacular image”, but the photography gods had other thoughts in mind, evidently.

A super moon rises over farmland seen from Spirit Mound, just north of Vermillion, SD Thursday evening, August 11, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A super moon rises over farmland seen from Spirit Mound, just north of Vermillion, SD Thursday evening, August 11, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When photographing a super moon around urban landscapes, one can always count on illuminated buildings to provide some contrast and dimension or scale to the ascending moon. In rural America one only has whatever landscape is there. I had chosen to photograph the moon rise from Spirit Mound, a point of reference made during the adventure of Lewis and Clark while they and the Discovery Corp was “mapping” the world west of the Missouri River for President Thomas Jefferson. It has a high elevation point from which to see the surrounding countryside. Of course there is no accounting for whatever weather may blow through a prairie or clouds that might appear and block one’s view which happened earlier in the summer on another outing to photograph a super moon.

Two people hike up to the summit of Spirit Mound as the sun sets and before a super moon rises over surrounding countryside, just north of Vermillion, SD Thursday evening, August 11, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The setting sun glows over farmland seen from Spirit Mound, just north of Vermillion, SD Thursday evening, August 11, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I will admit that I like the images from the setting sun a bit more than what I was able to photograph of the super moon rising. But I was lucky that my disappointment was tempered by the fact that it was a very nice evening. The stifling heat that affected the region has dissipated somewhat and a light breeze flowed over the hill top. There were no buzzing insects and it was quiet. Contemplation and amazement to see two large orbs disappear and appear.

As I waited fro the sun to set and the moon to rise, I had a feeling that low lying clouds were going to hinder my ability to photograph the moon. And for some strange reason I found it difficult to acquire focus which in previous outings was not the case. And even though a later image of a silhouetted tree by moonlight with the moon blown out was an image I also liked better than those of a properly exposed full moon. So patience will be word as I await another year to try my hand at capturing an image and probably looking for another venue from which to do that. There is always next year.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A super moon rises over farmland seen from Spirit Mound, just north of Vermillion, SD Thursday evening, August 11, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Screaming for Ice Cream, Ice Cream Days, Le Mars

31 Jul

A pet pooch keeps its “eye on the ball” or ice cream wrapper during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A annual Siouxland community celebration is the Ice Cream Days in Le Mars. Wells Enterprises is the located there and the maker of Blue Bunny Ice Cream.

A Blue Bunny “bunny’ mobile snakes its way down a main drag during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A small marching band steps in cadence as they await their turn to play during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A number of floats, mostly ice cream related, travel along the parade route. And a big hit is when the Blue Bunny folk go by and hand out frozen ice cream sandwiches. Even at 10 a.m. who can refuse such a treat. But one crowd favorite every year are the go carts driven by a Shriners group as they raucously careen up and down the street performing maneuvers and spinning out and often times laying rubber.

A young girl covers her ears right of the Shriners’ go-cart during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

During any parade Shriners’ go-cart performances are always a big attraction even with the noise created by the whine of the many engines seen during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Another large contingent of floats this year was a family reunion. There were four floats, each filled with maybe 15-20 people per each one, meaning it was a large family and ever larger family reunion once all the kids, grandkids, etc. were added in. For a Saturday morning, it’s a nice way to start one’s summer weekend. Everyone screams for ice cream.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The first of four parade floats containing a large family gathering reunion join in during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Tractors are always a big hit during any parade and are present at the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A girl anticipates the balloon creation she will get from a clown at the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A girl smiles at the balloon creation a clown gave her at the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Knock, Knock, Knocking on the Door in Siouxland, Sioux City

13 Jul

A downy woodpecker visits a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, April 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Many mornings when it’s pleasant enough to sit outside in the morning to enjoy that first “cup of Joe” in Siouxland I will hear a familiar reframe. Knock, knock, knock, knock in a staccato kind of fashion. And then see the visitor looking for a more reliable treat after checking the usual spots for insects. Nothing wrong with a little desert.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A downy woodpecker visits a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, April 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A downy woodpecker visits a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, April 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A downy woodpecker visits a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, April 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Walk Around Little Sioux Park, Correctionville

15 Jun

A look across the Little Sioux River at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when driving about Siouxland I don’t always stop to visit places I thought I should. Then one day, I do. Nothing spectacular, or special on such a dreary day, but a chance to visit a place I have passed by a few times. If not now, when? This day was that day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A cut path along a meadow area at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A song sparrow clings to a dried grass stem as a strong gust of winde blows it about at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Red Wing black bird nestles itself in a bush against strong wind gusts at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Day out in Siouxland, Badger Lake, Whiting

1 Jun

Seeing double as two Canada geese clean themselves after bathing in a pond at Badger lake near Whiting, Iowa Saturday, April 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days in Siouxland I find myself checking out a location just to see what I might find. These days I don’t expect to make spectacular photographs or even interesting ones. It’s just nice to be outside, without freezing one’s a____ off and enjoying a drive.

Blue-winged Teal ducks sit in the sunshine in a pond at Badger lake near Whiting, Iowa Saturday, April 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Canada goose refreshes itself in a pond at Badger lake near Whiting, Iowa Saturday, April 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Canada goose sends water on its wings after immersing itself underwater in a pond at Badger lake near Whiting, Iowa Saturday, April 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Canada goose heads for shallow water after bathing in a pond at Badger lake near Whiting, Iowa Saturday, April 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I do like swinging by Badger Lake in rural Monona County. The water levels had been very low, then have increased with some recent rain showers and so while no overly populated as during a heavy migration period, there are still some water fowl taking advantage of the almost “exclusive” availability of the watering hole. No crowding, “elbowing” for space. Just a nice relaxing spring day to enjoy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

American coots enjoy a swim in a pond at Badger lake near Whiting, Iowa Saturday, April 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

American coots enjoy a swim in the sunshine in a pond at Badger lake near Whiting, Iowa Saturday, April 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Art is in the Eye of the Beholder in Siouxland, Making Decision on Representation, Little Sioux Park, Correctionville

16 May

A slow shutter speed exposure of water running in the Little Sioux City River at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Deciding how best sometimes to represent a scene found in Siouxland, or anywhere is dependent upon the person. And sometimes the representation doesn’t quite fulfill the artist’s or photographer’s intent.

Photographing moving water with a slow shutter speed, during daylight without a neutral density filter doesn’t quite capture the scene as well as very early morning or early evening when using a slow shutter speed would be more beneficial. But it doesn’t hurt to try, and practicing seeing and the skills and mechanics one has at hand is always a good thing I believe. Practice makes one better at achieving results and seeing in the first place. Of course, being prepared is helpful. But I don’t pack the suitcase when I go out photographing and walking. A couple lenses and a camera body and I utilize what I have at hand. Grateful when something works out, aw shucks when it doesn’t.

Of course, there is always tomorrow and another walk. I might not encounter the same scene with the same elements and lighting, but that’s the beauty of taking walks and exploring.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A correct exposure of water flowing in the Little Sioux River at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Refuge in Siouxland, Little Sioux Park, Correctionville

12 May

A Trumpeter swan checking out visitors at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a number of wildlife refuge areas to be found in and around the Siouxland area. Visiting Little Sioux Park recently I thought it lucky to see some Trumpeter swans at the small lake there. Stealthily trying to get out of my vehicle to photograph these creatures I realized it was odd, they weren’t flying away, but rather coming toward me.

A Trumperer swan swims to shore to greet a visitor at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two Trumperer swans come to shore to greet a visitor at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It seems the swans at the park all have a damaged wing, and so live there. Enjoying a quiet area, free of predators, except maybe humans, and greeting park visitors maybe in the hopes of gaining a treat.

The swans ambled slowly but without hesitation up the fence line to greet the new comer and check them out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Trumpeter swan “grins” at a visitor at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Imagining History in Siouxland, Inkpaduta Canoe Trail, Correctionville

26 Apr
A sign informs a visitor about the Inkpaduta canoe trail near Copeland Park in Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I come across a piece of history in Siouxland I was not familiar with previously, I sometimes try to imagine what life may have been like in that time period, at least what the landscape might have appeared to those first settlers, and of course, to those already living in the region.

A sign informs a visitor about the Inkpaduta canoe trail near Copeland Park in Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Little Sioux City River is the Inkpaduta canoe trail near Copeland Park Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular day was not an ideal day to photograph in black and white. Overcast, darkish and a brown landscape does not make for exciting and provoking imagery. But given the history of the Little Sioux River and what an earlier exploring photographer might have seen and recorded make me think photographing in black and white appropriate.

Also this reference at Copeland Park in Correctionville to Inkpaduta does not include the sadder saga that occurred in Okoboji of where settlers were massacred by this chief and his braves which happened in retaliation to his own brother being killed by a white settler for the reason of not helping a starving group of Native Americans who had long resided in the area “now claimed” as his land.

The Little Sioux City River is the Inkpaduta canoe trail near Copeland Park Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Little Sioux City River is the Inkpaduta canoe trail along with a forested area near Copeland Park Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So I try to imagine the area as seen by those first inhabitants, long before farming reshaped the landscape or any kind of building touched the landscape. Photographing in black and white might be an homage to an earlier exploring photographer but probably did not do justice to the scenes depicted. I personally like a bit more contrast and saturated blacks. However I don’t spend a lot of time in post processing and do not use plug in accessories that might create a stronger B&W image.

It was just nice to find another slice of history I had not previously encountered and enjoy that day the relative quiet that was almost certain prevalent in the day when there was no traffic noise from a nearby roadway. Just the sound of leaves underfoot and the running of the water in the riverbed. Maybe as Simon and Garfunkel believed in their tune, “The Sounds of Silence”.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A forested area along the Inkpaduta canoe trail at Copeland Park Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

More Bird Antics in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

20 Apr
A downy woodpecker checks out the scene at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I never tire of watching birds at bird feeders. Each species seems to have its own ritual when having a bite to eat. And sometimes I even feel intrusive watching them eat as they stop, stare, long and hard, before continuing their meal. But for a quiet moment, it can be bliss.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A downy woodpecker snacks at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A downy woodpecker snacks at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A downy woodpecker snacks at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A downy woodpecker snacks at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Anticipating Spring in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

10 Apr
A barren winter’s look at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

For some reason, this winter feels like it has lasted a long time in Siouxland. I know that probably isn’t true, but sometimes the slow march of time makes it feel that way. With unusually warmer days than normal, am guessing myself and others were spoiled a bit and the anticipation of warmer days lasting more than one or two and again some green scenery is palpable.

Renovation work is underway seen on a barren winter’s day at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Renovation work is underway seen on a barren winter’s day at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Turkeys have the grounds to themselves of a barren winter’s look at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I look forward to returning to some favorite haunts and seeing how they have or have not changed. Lauritizen Gardens is one such place and the flowers in spring and early summer are a delight to behold.

I enjoy visiting places “off season” as it’s nice to see a contrast from what one would normally expect, especially at the Gardens as it’s generally “dressed up” and looking nice. And it looks like some changes are also underway so I look forward to seeing what transpires and as I understand it a rearrangement of assets will make it a better environment for the patrons’ visiting experience. Progress is just that. Good, bad, indifferent, everyone has their own take. Change is constant, and beauty is in the eye of the individual beholder.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A barren winter’s look at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Renovation work is underway seen on a barren winter’s day at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Turkeys have the grounds to themselves of a barren winter’s look at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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