Tag Archives: travel

Celebrating Labor Day in Siouxland, Hawarden

26 Sep

An Iowa Army National Guard Honor Flag unit lead as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Labor Day in Siouxland and the rest of the U.S. is the holiday that basically says summer is over and fall is beginning with everything else to follow. It’s the time to celebrate the working men and women that make an economy thrive. Most small towns celebrate Labor Day in one way or another. Hawarden does so each year with a parade.

A grain elevator anchors one end of down town as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The West Sioux High School football team rides in the parade and is a combination of Hawarden, Ireton and Chatsworth communities that consolidated their school resources. Residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Members of the West Sioux High School cheer team rides in the parade and is a combination of Hawarden, Ireton and Chatsworth communities that consolidated their school resources. Residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The small town community celebrates its small town atmosphere. A number of floats contain local town folk, young and older. And the streets are lined from downtown out to a city park with food booths and other entertainment. Probably mild by larger city standards, the parade is enjoyed by the community residents and a chance to relax before life becomes more hectic as schools once again are up and running after the summer break and farmers anticipate their fall crop harvest normally started in October and November, depending on the crop growing season.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sioux County Youth Fair royalty, princess KAIE PLENDL, left, queen OLIVIA FEDDERS, center and Little Miss Sioux County BREA LEUSINK, ride a float as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Always a favorite as small town parades the Abu Bekr Shrine Rat Patrol perform precision driving along the parade route as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A young boys points out the large tractor and grain wagon as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Mariachi band performs along the parade route as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Graduating class members of 1972 from West Sioux High School participate in the parade as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Lazy Days of Summer in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

27 Aug

An Asian tiger yawns from the soon to become heat of the day at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This summer in Siouxland like many places has been extremely hot and dry. When I visited the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE earlier in the summer on such a day the animals reminded me that sometimes it’s okay to take a break during the heat of the day, if possible, and not over do it. Although for humans that is not always possible, as temperatures seem to become more extreme both in summer and winter maybe the human race needs to re-evaluate it’s life and needs to accommodate a climate that is not always hospitable. But that will never happen as the wheels of commerce and industry and those who wield the power will never acquiesce to such a mind set as they work from their mostly air-conditioned and more temperature controlled board rooms and offices.

But watching the animals at the zoo, they understand nature and seem to know when taking a break is a reasonable option too puruse.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Resting but always wary, a tiger lays on a cool cement floor at the start of a soon to be hot day at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Nap time for a young cheetah at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A young cheetah looks up at the sound of a noise at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A young spider monkey picks off something from another at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two spider monkeys look out what their enclosure at the humans watching them at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two spider monkeys look about from their enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting the Departed in Siouxland, Hancock Township Cemetery, rural Plymouth County

21 Aug

A headstone from the late 1800’s at the Hancock Township Cemetery (now known as the Bella Vista Cemetery) in Plymouth County north of Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As I continue to drive about Siouxland I continue to find locations with older cemeteries, many with grave sites of those departed who probably first settled the area, or arrived shortly thereafter. Many of these resting places also have “current” residents recently departed in the last few years.

A former family burial plot with missing headstones at the Hancock Township Cemetery (now known as the Bella Vista Cemetery) in Plymouth County north of Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two guests check out a headstone from the late 1800’s at the Hancock Township Cemetery (now known as the Bella Vista Cemetery) in Plymouth County north of Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A caretaker I met while visiting told me that upon his last visit it seems that some headstones are missing from certain graves which is sad. He speculated that maybe a visiting relative took them with them but it leaves the grave(s) unmarked and visitors without knowing who may laying this peaceful conclave of residents. I always find that even if I do not know any of the occupants of the cemetery, I have no less respect for those who have gone before and seen this area and countryside when it was first settled by white settlers. I imagine that many a Native American had passed through living their lives as hunter/gatherers and may have traveled an extensive area of Siouxland looking for sustenance from their Creator while living off the land.

Cemeteries by their very nature are peaceful places which is one reason I like to visit them. The occupants hold no judgement of those visiting, and I no judgement of those departed. Just a quiet time to think, contemplate and wish there was more peace in the world.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A grave stone from the late 1800’s at the Hancock Township Cemetery (now known as the Bella Vista Cemetery) in Plymouth County north of Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A broken head stone at the Hancock Township Cemetery (now known as the Bella Vista Cemetery) in Plymouth County north of Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Newer grave sites at the Hancock Township Cemetery (now known as the Bella Vista Cemetery) in Plymouth County north of Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Many early burial sites in rural areas had trees planted around the headstones to shade the departed seen at the Hancock Township Cemetery (now known as the Bella Vista Cemetery) in Plymouth County north of Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A view of the surrounding rural countryside at the Hancock Township Cemetery (now known as the Bella Vista Cemetery) in Plymouth County north of Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Passing Through Siouxland while Blinking, Westfield

17 Aug

A flower planter at a park in downtown Westfield, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A lot of times when I am driving about Siouxland it tends to be doing the week and most times there are not a lot of people about. Sometimes when attending an event in a small town there will be more folk. But I enjoy seeing what architecture is still in place and it always makes me wonder how a community has changed through the years, most always thriving at first with the railroad passing through or nearby and then slowly evolving and changing over the decades, century as life and work revolves less around agriculture and small towns and more about industrialization and larger cities.

A former hardware store in downtown Westfield, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A view of downtown Westfield, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A former gas pump decorates the outside of a bar and grill in downtown Westfield, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Westfield has been in existence for a long time but searching online doesn’t net one a lot of information. Like so many smaller communities it seems a quiet place to live and come home to away from a busier world outside of the community. Although some necessities may seem lacking, one would guess the residents are content and enjoy the quiet and solitude they have come to embrace.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An antique agricultural implement at a park in downtown Westfield, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A former U.S. Post Office in downtown Westfield, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A former business gets a make over in downtown Westfield, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

City hall in downtown Westfield, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sharing, Kind of, in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

3 Aug

Two giraffes apparently can share their eats when one isn’t aware of the other seen at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As I have taken more interest in photographing animals, backyard birds, zoos, wildlife in nature around Siouxland and such, I began looking more at their behavior and interactions. Probably applying human attributes, fairly or not, as I watch them interact with one another.

The giraffe in the foreground didn’t seem to notice as opposed to not minding, the other giraffe sharing some of its food at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE the day I visited. Sometimes a gentle touch is a better approach. Just like siblings, sharing is good when one is the recipient of the sharing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A little sharing at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Food and Thought in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

23 Jul

A baby gorilla looks almost contemplative while eating a midmorning snack at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I try often as I can to visit the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE. While technically not in Siouxland, it’s a relatively easy and “short drive” (1.5 hour drive) compared to visiting other nearby communities. Des Moines is a three hour, 200 mile drive city edge to city edge. And visiting the zoo is enjoyable to watch the animals. Although it sometimes requires getting up early to get to the zoo when it first opens, arriving early one may happen to find zoo personnel feeding the animals which will then find them more animated and before they decide to take a nap on a hot and humid, muggy kind of day.

A lowland gorilla eats a leafy snack at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A lowland gorilla looks thoughtful as it eats a leafy snack at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The gorillas in particular are most times reflective, watching the humans watch them, it almost seems contemplative. But since they have only a small area in which to traverse, pondering life seems a better way of dealing with circumstances. Maybe food for thought for the human counterparts.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A lowland gorilla eats a leafy snack at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A lowland gorilla eats a leafy snack at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Storytelling in B&W and a Little Imagination, Durham Museum, Omaha, NE

19 Jul

A former Union Pacific railway station, a statue pf a departing passenger from days gone by seen at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when out and about wandering Siouxland and elsewhere, one can see something that sparks a little imagination and wondering on the part of the viewer. I think Black and White imagery helps tell a story a little better at times that color.

The Durham Museum was formerly a Union Pacific railway station and its heyday was before, during and after the 1930’s and 1940’s, especially during WWII. Information at the museum along with photographs show a great movement of people during the Second World War passing through the station. And so there are some statuary that depicts some of the history of the former railway station.

A former Union Pacific railway station, a statue pf a departing passenger from days gone by while two lovers sit tight in the background seen at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I have looked at the above the statue I wonder if this gentleman is a traveling salesman or maybe a jilted lover whose dearest’s heart was won by a new suitor seated with her in the background. And so the young takes his belongings packed into a single suitcase and leaves.

A sculpted piece at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The sculpted piece I believe was something on display and with meaning of the times when the station was built. The directional light creates an interesting effect and definitely gives a viewer a chance to study the statue which I believe is of a railway worker, judging by the wrench in the hand.

I enjoy B&W photography and probably don’t utilize it enough when out shooting and exploring Siouxland. For me it depends on the light and how it encapsulates a subject and sets is apart from its surrounding. And I sometimes miss having a darkroom, and the ability to create an image first on film, then adding to it via the actual developing process to give and take away contrast depending on how one processed the film and with what developer was used, and finally through the printing process. Using a “hard” paper that really accentuates the light and shadows or a softer paper with more grey tones appearing. The one watched while the image appeared in the developing tray coming to life and fulfilling, hopefully, the vision one had in mind when creating the image on film.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Union Pacific railway sign hanging at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Getting a Hug in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

5 Jul

A couple of African lions show that some days are meant for lounging at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Every now and again, everyone and everything needs a hug. Folk and critters in Siouxland notwithstanding, this applies everywhere. Just a little reminder of our human and other nature, animals included. Traveling to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE, it was kind of surprising to see the animals show affection. The lion sitting up was sitting by itself on a higher elevation rock when it got up and made its way down. The day was warming up and its fellow lion intimated to the other that getting comfortable was a good plane.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A couple of African lions show that some days are meant for lounging at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A couple of African lions show that some days are meant for lounging at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A couple of African lions show that some days are meant for lounging at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spring into Summer in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

1 Jul

Flowers are blooming at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s been a while since I ventured out of Siouxland “proper” to visit surrounding attractions like zoos and gardens and other places south or north. Gas prices are a bit of a hindrance for driving distances these days. When I last visited the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE I had missed the blooming of the field of thousands of daffodils but did see some peonies. The area had a tremendous storm a week or two ago with a lot of hail. I can not imagine what effect if any the storm had on the gardens. But it is always a nice place to escape to and be greets with the seasonal varieties that gardens have to offer.

Flowers are blooming at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People wander the grounds checking the new blooms at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Flowering trees are blooming at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One always feels invited to sit a spell and watch and listen. Previous trips down to the Omaha area in similarly hot spells one can always find some shade along the paths of the garden areas to cool off and enjoy what is in season. Photographically I always try to find something different depending on when I am there and what I see. And just to ponder and know that my yard and small garden will never attain such a look. Mostly because I am an occasional gardener and lazy. I don’t mind plucking weeds, but I would rather be out photographing than making my yard appear as a House Beautiful ad. It currently works for the visiting birds and that works for me.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Flowering trees are blooming at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Flowers are blooming at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People wander the grounds checking the new blooms at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Light in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

23 Jun

A young orangutan eats a snack at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes trying to photograph a subject presents challenges of its own, in Siouxland and elsewhere, and “seeing the light” and best understanding the best way, and sometimes only way to make a photograph helps one grow and learn.

A recent visit to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE found some of the animals active as they receive their morning meal or snack. This is most often the case. Even when traipsing about in the countryside animals are more active in the morning hours.

A young orangutan eats a snack at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The morning sunlight did a nice job of illuminating the wire fencing surrounding the orangutan enclosure at the zoo. And certain changes at the zoo with access or how close one can get also prevented one from finding a better angle to help alleviate or position oneself to photograph the young primate while it ate and be able to show its face. In addition to the sun, there was the matter of focusing on the face. Today’s AF points are pretty small allowing one to zero on a specific spot to autofocus, but trying to achieve that through the fencing presented its own set of problems. And the little guy did not want to sit still while trying to squeeze every last bit of meal from the package in its hands.

That left me using manual focus which is okay, but I have noticed as one gets older and the glasses go from being a single eye prescription to one that includes bi and try-focal additions, life get interesting.

The Olympus camera body I am currently using does allow one to set bright, colored peakness focusing assistance which helped me make certain the young orangutan was sharp.

An older orangutan eats a leafy treat at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Then an older orangutan was eating its meal sitting in a much brighter area of the enclosure and not cooperating by looking my way while I was trying to photograph it. But its mind and tummy was focused elsewhere. The same problems photographing the younger primate sitting in shade applied here as well and I probably made a number of images trying to keep focus and catching a look of the eyes as it fed.

I am one not opposed to practicing my skill set at times and I was getting the hand/eye coordination and seeing and hitting the shutter at the right moment as this orangutan moved about eating. One never knows either, that sometimes nice images can be made with a little patience and practice. While none of the images are stellar, the fact that the younger primate’s face shows keeps the attention on him and his activity of eating even with the distracting sunlit wire fencing.

And then there is photographing your subjects behind glass.

Sometimes it’s just what it is.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An older orangutan eats a leafy treat at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A silverback gorilla looks over at the window to see humans watching it as it roams about its enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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