Tag Archives: summer time

Seeing and Experiencing Art in Siouxland at the Clay County Fair, Spencer

8 Oct

Something to crow about seeing chicken art on display for visitors at the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

County fairs can be pretty universal in that they can provide a little something for everyone in Siouxland. Art not withstanding. Some things may seem a bit kitschy but still enjoyable and certainly on some level, educational. The Arts on Grand organization is a support group promoting local artists. And part of that support was putting an artist on the grounds of the fair where people could talk with and observe an artist creating their art.

A member of the arts organization Arts on Grand from Spencer, Iowa films artist Cathy Veiseth doing an acrylic painting during the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Spencer, Iowa artist Cathy Veiseth talks with a passer-by as she does an acrylic painting during the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some folk may not think much about art or the people to create it. Many visual artists create their visions through whatever medium they have an interest in whether it be some kind of painting, oil, watercolor or pastel, photography, sculpting or ceramics. All artists create. And it’s could for folk to see someone create a vision they may have in their head and understand how what a person sees is translated into a completed work. I didn’t see the finished product of Spencer artist Cathy Veiseth but did chat with her and was engaged in her enthusiasm for sharing her talent with fairgoers and her general want of expressing herself. Different artists have different driving factors for creating their finished pieces, but all seem genuinely interested in sharing what they see and their interpretation of the world around them.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Spencer, Iowa artist Cathy Veiseth talks with a passer-by as she does an acrylic painting during the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People Watching in Siouxland, Clay County Fair, Spencer

20 Sep

Various modes of transportation can be seen during the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Almost everyone I know admits at one time or another about the enjoyment of simply people watching. We humans are a fascinating subject and one that has kept psychologists, psychiatrists and other mind probing “experts” in business for a long time with no end in sight. Being a former photographer for newspapers I spent a great deal of time watching people, looking for those moments that visually helped tell a story. Love, joy, pain, emotional distress, I saw various moods during my press days in various settings and circumstances. Now though I just enjoy seeing people out and about and enjoying themselves in the moment.

A couple check out a fairly mobile rocking chair on display during the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Friends enjoy the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking for moments I find interesting or contradictory in and of themselves if that happens. Guess how I photograph now isn’t so different as before but these days I avoid the emotional distress events such as fires, auto accidents and other life altering accounts that people face and I covered as a photojournalist.

Sometimes minor repairs take place at the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Passers-by walk past a welcome sign at the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s nice to go someplace like the Clay County Fair and see folk having fun and taking a break from their daily routine. We all need breaks and a chance to unwind and put on hold other accounts or situations that always seem to find a way into our lives.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A full house for people attending a comedian early in the day during the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summertime in Siouxland, Le Mars

2 Jul

Sunshine peeking in and out of clouds help certain vehicles stand out during a car show in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Crowds of people gathered at whatever spaces could be found between cars to chat at a car show in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s a safe bet that it’s summer when one can attend a few different car meet-ups. Only in decent weather will some car enthusiasts bring their beauties out into view and amazingly the crowds just appear.

Recently in Le Mars a pre-cursor event to the Ice Cream Days festival where a car club had a meet-up and interested parties could show off their pride and joys. And the public and visitors were not disappointed.

The cherry red color appears to draw visitors for a second look at a fixed up truck at a car show in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Classic muscle cars and hopped up roadsters to gleaming trucks and other fare. At times it was difficult to squeeze through the the parked cars. I always worry about accidentally scratching one while passing it carrying a camera bag. Weird things happen sometimes especially when there are crowds of people. But it was a nice walk-about to see these gleaming beauties.

Can’t get started too young to appreciate a vintage car at a car show in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And sometimes it’s in the details where little surprises happen. Who would guess 8-track was still around. And then one brave soul called it as he/she saw it about their own vehicle, probably in a category of its own.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Nostalgia reigns at a car show in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

In case someone missed it, the owner’s own idea about what division his/her truck should be classified as at a car show in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Siouxland County Fairs, South Sioux City, NE

11 Aug

Many local county fairs have come and gone in the Siouxland region, although there are still some that haven’t opened yet. I recently went to the Dakota-Thurston Counties fair in South Sioux City, Nebraska.

It was different from what I remembered having attended it maybe 4-5 years ago. This year there was no midway or rides. Very few vendor booths other than a couple food booths. The 4-H exhibits, animal and items is what the fair was mostly comprised of. And I believe historically, county fairs was chance for country folk to show off their livestock and grown items, although I could be mistaken. And 4-H is an organization that many country kids and now town kids join and learn from by having to be responsible for seeing a project through from inception to the end, which generally incorporates showing their endeavor at the local county fair.

I enjoyed myself, and am reminded of my past days being involved in 4-H projects.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland County Fair Time, Moville

1 Aug

Growing up in Illinois, in a rural area, I remember the summertime visits to the local county fair. It was at a time when there were many more small farm operations throughout the region. Probably at that time a large farm contained at most a thousand acres. I talk about the number of farms because I believe they directly impacted the success of such organizations as 4-H clubs and the Future Farmers of America. At that time, more kids involved in 4-H were from farm families than from town.

I visited the Woodbury County Fair this week in Moville, Iowa, and saw some animal judging and walked through some exhibit halls as well as the animal barns. I talked with one young Siouxland lady who was “resting” on her market beef animal and asked about the number of clubs participating from the area. This was her fourth year involved in 4-H. I participated for eight years as many people do. She thought there were maybe 5-6 4-H clubs participating at the fair. When I was in 4-H, there were maybe 15-20 4-H clubs with anywhere from 20-30 members, each showing one or more animals at the fair, as well as crafts and it was huge. The dairy animals were always shown a couple weeks prior to the county fair with maybe 100-150 animals involved. During fair time, the beef animals ruled, with three full barns, with additional barns for hogs. There were maybe 200-300 4-H members involved.

But times have changed, less small farms, such 4-H members now live on small acreages their parents or grandparents own and they raise the hogs, beef, or sheep there. But the one thing that still pervades these young people’s involvement is their pride in their animals and their exhibition of them. I came across two club members cleaning the comb of a chicken and its talons so they would be clean for the animal judge. There was one barn that featured the work of the 4-H club members that included crafts, photography, food and other categories. It is fun to walk through these and see what has changed, and what has remained the same. For me it’s a nostalgic walk but also it supports those still involved with this part of Americana. History based in agriculture, which is still a big deal. Or should be. No food, no life.

jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Photography, the moon and Siouxland

11 Aug

I teach a few adult photo classes at a local community college in Siouxland. My emphasis for a class in learning how to shoot better photographs is not about learning how an individual camera works, but understanding the fundamentals that all cameras share, film or digital. The three basics are aperture, shutter speed and the ISO settings. Those three in combination create the exposure the camera takes. But getting to that point depends on what the person making the exposure is trying to photograph or capture.  Those three items in conjunction with one another just allow an individual to express his/her way of seeing or “vision”. And achieving that vision involved composition, lighting, framing and a number of other variables.  With the newer digital cameras, one such consideration is the use of the white balance feature all cameras have. These two different moon shots taken early one morning help illustrate one variable that a photographer can use. And while it is subtle, it can be quite helpful.

Morning Moon Morning Moon

 

The first photograph of the moon is taken with the white balance set on tungsten or the light bulb setting. The color temperature for it is around 3400 Kelvin (which is a discussion all its own), while the second photograph is taken with the white balance setting on the cloudy bright setting, more associated with daylight. These two photographs were taken at 6 a.m. Color temperature is something to keep in mind when photographing various times of the day. The color temp is usually warmer (2800-3400) early morning and early evening when the sun is rising and setting. As the day progresses, the color temperature rises towards the 5600K setting which is normally the daylight hours after sunrise and before sunset.  Sometimes when doing a portrait of a person, the photographer can set the white balance to tungsten and use a flash or incandescent lighting balanced to tungsten to light the person, and photograph that person against a window or outdoors, which will create a much bluer background setting while the subject is looking warmer, thus creating a nice portrait.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Pets in Siouxland

26 Jul

I grew up on a small farm and so have been exposed to a variety of animals quite a number of years before leaving home.  My father and mother milked dairy cows, raised pigs and chickens and we had barn cats and a pet dog. After leaving home, finishing college and then pursuing a career, I was petless for a number of years, because it one just can’t have one and not care of it. Well, a persons should not have a pet or pets if they are not going to take care of them, that is seeing they get regular veterinarian care as well as spending time with them. I found that having a cat was the easier option, in that they are more independent that dogs and with a litter box and a bowl of food, one can leave them for a two-day trip and not find the house in shambles upon your return.

When working in Louisiana I acquired a cat by default. Someone “nice” person had left a kitten on a street in town in a box hoping it would get run over. There are those people we all know who are brimming with compassion. A co-worker talked me into taking it. That cat was a little wild, and eventually we made a truce and it “allowed” me to occasionally pet it when it was in the mood. But the little stinker got out one day before I had it spayed and returned three days later. I had given up hope. And a few months later, she had a family.

My journey with pet cats has continued. When moving to Sioux City via California and another job I still had that kitten and one of her kittens with me. It was sad when they both passed on, as the cat became friendly over time. I think it just took pity on me. And the kitten of that cat had had its own adventures from which I rescued it a couple of times. I acquired over time some more rescue cats who currently live with me.

So I like animals. The neighbors new puppy is always glad to see me. And a new cat in the neighborhood is another ad hoc addition to my small crew as it comes and goes, mostly looking for a snack or quick drink of water as it wanders the neighborhood. It likes hanging out with the youngest member of my clan who doesn’t always appreciate the company, and my other cat, which is older, tolerates the youngster as long as it doesn’t bother its nap time, which is most of the time.  And I guess the neighbor cat has gotten comfortable, because on a very hot and humid afternoon, after its snack, it decided a quick nap was just the thing before heading back out for more adventure before going to its own home.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

cat siesta Next door cat

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