Tag Archives: small towns

Understanding Nature in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

9 Jan

Many times I have visited the community of Storm Lake where Buena Vista University is located. It’s a nice looking campus, situated near a lake and a city park and contains many interesting elements in and of itself. One place on campus I have not checked out what a science center.

Natural science items on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An Alaskan brown bear on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Students learn science by doing according to online information. I was surprised by the number of stuffed animals on display, as well as a few skeletal remains exhibited too. Walking by classrooms and viewing the taxidermy students seemed very engaged in their learning process. And seeing items posted in a hallway it seems students get a chance to put their theory into practice. Posted photos showed students in the field learning and performing field tasks.

The skeletal remains of a white rhinoceros on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of animal busts on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I personally love education. There is all sorts to be had, not all of which requires an extended amount of time studying in institutions of higher learning. But my own college education was something I still draw from to this day. The experiences, people, both student and instructor and for the first time using my noodle to decipher and understand a much larger world around me than I could even imagine growing up at home. While I might not have directly used my higher education in pursuit of my career, its foundation and learning the ability to critically think and understand and improve my comprehension of various matters have helped me immensely as I have traveled through life. And I also find that even though my collegiate years are decades behind me, I am still learning and striving to critically assess and understand life events that unfold around me and help inform me to better understand the world I am living in.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The skeletal remains of an African elephant on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Man and Nature in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

24 Dec

I always like seeing objects in juxtaposition to one another and how, mostly differences, can stand out if one takes the time to notice. During a trip to Buena Vista University in Storm Lake I was admiring one of the campus buildings and its sleek modern glass and steel look. Situated within an area of trees that were turning color.

Seeing the contrast between nature and a building of glass and steel, the Estelle Siebens Science Center, at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Man’s relationship with nature is a complicated one. At least it seems to have become that way. Some folk just want to strip nature bare and reap whatever profits are there for the taking without being good land stewards and without much thought, leaving that heavy lifting to someone else. In some places planners seemed to realize the two need to work in harmony and attempt to make that happen. Whether it is successful or not depends on who is viewing and if they are paying any attention. Either from the outside looking in, or the inside looking out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Nature outside, maybe looking in the glass and steel building on the campus of the Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring Siouxland, Fonda

16 Dec

I never tire of visiting small communities in Siouxland, most with a population of 2,000 or less, and some communities with less residents still. The town of Fonda is one such place, with a population of almost 700 people. It’s quaint and has a museum I found that I need to visit in season, that is, when it’s warmer and days are longer to allow for some drive time.

A mural celebrating the community in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In the downtown area I came across a park that immediately made me think of another, slightly more famous park. Founded in 1870, Fonda’s park might not be so famous but offers the town’s residents a place to visit and hang out and have coffee with friends.

A Central Park in this not as famous community of Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A central gathering place in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There is also a community garden near the downtown area where residents can also chat while producing some garden vegetables and other edibles they may desire. This particular day I met a couple of locals, but they were too shy to hang around while a visitor explored the area.

A community garden anchors one end of the downtown in Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A couple local residents enjoy some sunshine in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But next summer I plan to return and visit the local museum to learn more about the history of the area and the community itself which hopefully will lead to more exploration and a chance to explore more of the area.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A little history posted on a museum in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Fonda Museum based in the McKee Opera House in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting a Small Town in Siouxland, Fonda

2 Dec

A mural celebrating the community in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I like visiting the small towns that dot Siouxland. Most are quaint and all give a look into the history of what made this part of the state what it is. There are many time places to learn a little more about a community’s past, although it sometimes depends on the time of year and catching a museum when it is open.

A little history posted on a museum in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Fonda Museum based in the McKee Opera House in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I like walking the quiet streets and wondering what traffic must have been like during the early pioneer days when the town was just getting underway and full of promise for itself and its residents. A lot of communities though are slice of life and lifestyle that people call home and enjoy. A place to get away from other distractions that might be occurring elsewhere in the country.

A couple local residents enjoy some sunshine in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A community garden anchors one end of the downtown in Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I also enjoy the visual puns which I think are not on the minds of people when what they represent are originally created. A central park, like the one in Fonda, is just that, a central park to a community. But say the name and most times folk will think of New York City.

A Central Park in this not as famous community of Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A central gathering place in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But it’s still a nice to go and sit at the end of the day and visit with friends and neighbors and soak in the community one knows and appreciates and hope for a continued success as the future keeps coming and life keeps changing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fading Fall Remnants in Siouxland, Storm Lake

24 Nov

Winter is already bearing down on parts of the U.S. recently, even though some mountain regions in the western part of the country has already received snow fall earlier this year. Fall and its colorful display is becoming a distant memory in Siouxland as winds and now rain and some snow have removed most leaves from the trees. Visiting Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake I got a chance to take in some color, even though it was an overcast day with a bit of chill in the air.

A feel of fall in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I kept thinking how colors on the trees would just pop with a nice blue sky in the background. But wishful thinking didn’t make it so. So I enjoyed the color and visit and even made a new friend while visiting.

A feel of fall in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A feel of fall in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Meeting new friends in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy seeing places during different times of the year. Having previously visited this park the starkness of the trees made other objects standout more, including some new wood carvings.

One of many wood sculptures in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And the lake itself I like to see. It’s calming sitting on a bench and enjoying the lapping of water against the shoreline. Although this particular day as the lake took on a glassy kind of scene the chill in the air made me a bit more circumspect about sitting on a bench and enjoying the view. Just standing and enjoying the lake and taking a few images made me think more of a couple of coffee shops where I could acquire a warm or hot cup of java and help me brave these changing elements and photograph a bit more before returning home.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A hazy, wet fall day in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring Vision in Siouxland, Fonda

22 Nov

When out photographing I am always debating myself about the best way to present an image. I sadly must admit I have a strong opinion when I see things and immediately photograph something as I think it should be seen. I try to temper that strong opinion when teaching because we all see differently, and just try to offer an alternative viewpoint of an image in case a student didn’t consider that possibility. And trying to get them to look at scenes completely and then making an image because they felt strongly about it.

A light post and its shadow in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This is the image I decided I liked best even though I did a couple with a more horizontal view. I liked isolating the light pole and shadow within the frame without too much distraction around them. Which I think a more horizontal image would provide.

A light post and its shadow in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The shadow and light pole I think become lost with the space and other rectangular elements in the image. But that’s just me. I find these days I am shooting more squares simply because I like the presentation more and it gives me more vertical space to play with. Ah, it’s all in the eye of the beholder and preferences we all have in making our decisions with images.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying Light and Shadow in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

18 Nov

I don’t know why when I am out and about in Siouxland that my light and shadow radar is always active. No matter how faint something may appear to be, I can see the possibility I might be able to create later in post processing with some minor tweaks.

Light and shade in the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And the same is true of shape and design. I look for these, wanting to capture some fleeting moment that at the time seems neat, and present it as another or different perspective of a familiar place. This is true of the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business building entrance at Buena Vista University seen from the inside. I find it necessary to always be looking for another perspective or way of seeing something of some place I previously visited and will most likely visit again.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Looking out a rotunda window at the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business into campus at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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