Tag Archives: vermillion south dakota

Jack Frost Nipping Toes in Siouxland, Clay County, SD

16 Jan
Hoar frost creates a contrast with a tree’s darker bark seen along a county road in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter time in Siouxland can be a pretty time. Freshly fallen snow, hoar frost, snow drifts, within reason, can make for some compelling images. It’s just getting over the idea of getting outside when it’s cold and taking the photographs. On a recent trip to Clay County in South Dakota near Vermillion, hoar frost covered trees and roadsides. a virtual winter wonderland.

Hoar frost decorates a field seen in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Hoar frost seen along a snow covered county road in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

What makes for a pretty scene may not always make for the best of driving conditions. And one always hope that other drivers share the same concerns and are not in such a hurry that a side trip through a ditch is part of the travel route. Especially when fog is also part of nature’s plan that visibility is limited. But it does make for a pretty site and instead of thoughts of sugar plums dancing in my head, it’s just another hot cup of coffee, and maybe a sweet roll to savor after a stint outdoors on a cold day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Hoar frost decorates a field seen in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Hoar frost seen along a snow covered county road in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Hoar frost covers trees along a county road in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hiking Spirit Mound in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

12 Oct

Hikers seen at the top of Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A view of part of the countryside seen from the top of Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Revisiting places in Siouxland is always fun for me. A little exercise at some destinations and the chance to reacquaint with a place that is as much educational as it is fun. Spirit Mound outside of Vermillion, SD is recognized as one of the stopovers for the Lewis and Clark Expedition that former President Thomas Jefferson commissioned for the expansion of territory during the 1800’s.

Signage along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The hike to the top of the mound is easy enough and gives a nice view or the surrounding area, which is mostly farmland. It was high ground for the Lewis and Clark expedition to scout the surrounding area. Sacred to local Native American tribes. As described on a national park website: “Spirit Mound was alternately described as a “mountain of evel spirits”, a “hill of little people”, and a “place of Deavels.” The Sioux, Omaha, and Otoe tribes told of 18-inch tall humans with “remarkable large heads” who inhabited the site. Armed with arrows, these spirits attacked anyone who approached the hill. What did Lewis and Clark expect to find there?”

The park includes a variety of signage that includes information about the journey as well as natural history of the place that might interest to others. It’s a pleasant way to spend part of a day exploring the area. Enough exercise to work up an appetite for lunch but not too much for the non outdoor adventurous type.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A holdover from a glacial period at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage about earlier geological aspects of the area seen at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Geologic information about Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Information about restoration of prairie explained along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A rest bench at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Wildflowers at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bunny greets a visitor before darting off into vegetation along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A grasshopper nestled into vegetation at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage about snakes along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An all-sided bench for folk who climb to the summit and can then enjoy a 360 view of the surrounding countryside at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Buzzing About on a Summer’s Eve in Siouxland, Spirit Mound, Vermillion, SD

14 Sep

A bee buzzes around a backlit sunflower plant at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a recent trip to South Dakota and a visit to Spirit Mound, I liked the lighting that was occurring around some sunflower plants. Early enough in the morning for some directional light before the light turns flat when it reaches its zenith in the sky around noon. Plus the heat and humidity didn’t kick in until later as well.

Backlit plants at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A backlit sunflower plant at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy the light when it creates a better photographic image and gives a photo a bit more “personality”. And during summer months, early morning and late afternoon, early evening are generally the better times to be out photographing. But sometimes the ideal time might not be a good time depending on one’s schedule.

The bonus this time though was finding an apis mellifera flying about and securing a bit more substance before summer is gone. Although I must admit, I didn’t see the creature until editing images later when looking on a larger screen than the camera’s viewfinder.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bee buzzes around a backlit sunflower plant at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting Nature in Siouxland, Frost Wilderness Wildlife Area, Vermillion, SD

2 Sep

A Cedar Waxwing sits on a branch at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always like visiting new areas outdoors that I haven’t been to or seen yet. Although I have been to Frost Wilderness wildlife management area previously, I just didn’t know it. When previously visiting, there wasn’t any signage and this time I also found another entry that lets a visitor get a bit closer to the Missouri River that separates South Dakota and Nebraska. Plus I got to photograph a bird I have seen fleetingly but never long enough to make an image. Those Cedar Waxwings can be quick little birds, and prefer staying within the shelter of their surrounding trees. This time though one of them made me feel at home while other species also checked me out.

A Cedar Waxwing eyes a visitor from a branch at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A juvenile bald eagle takes another pass overhead looking at a visitor and if it would be of any interest to it at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An Orchard Oriole sits atop a tree at Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two Orchard Orioles sit atop a tree at Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular wildlife area has mowed pathways which made walking much easier. And as one near the border between the two states another turnout with a pass through gate makes it easy to access the river and surrounding area. One thing though, the area appears managed more for the avid hunter than it does for the hiker and bird enthusiast. Signs are posted about the hunting availability and I would be shy to go walking early morning in the area looking for species as a visit a year or two ago I heard a very loud shot not more than 100-200 yards away. It wasn’t a shotgun, but a more robust type of rifle. Myself and some students with me made a quick beeline to our parked cars. Bullets have a way of traveling where not directed and sometimes folk don’t look beyond their target to see what lies beyond as the intent of bring down an animal occupies the senses.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An Eastern Kingbird looks about a meadow at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

American White Pelicans sit on a sandbar across the Missouri River at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Informational signage about the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Trail markings signage at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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©)

Thinking of Spring in Siouxland, Dakota Farm Show, Vermillion, SD

3 Feb
DAVID BERNDT, of White, South Dakota, looks over at another vendor’s booth during the 38th annual Dakota Farm Show in the Dakotadome on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Tuesday, January 4, 2022. Berndt said he “borrowed” his granddaughter’s carriage while she was eating lunch to carry items he picked up at the show. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Each year in January a regional farm show is held in Siouxland at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD. Various businesses and others associated with agriculture provide a look at new methods or tools that area farmers can check out and see if it’s a fit for their current method of farming or business.

Attendees at the 38th annual Dakota Farm Show in the Dakotadome on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Tuesday, January 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The floor was filled with vendors for the 38th annual Dakota Farm Show in the Dakotadome on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Tuesday, January 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A year ago when the cover virus was raging through regions of the U.S. and prior to vaccines being available, an attendee to this year’s event told me both vendors and attendees were scarce. And for good reason. At this event, I can only recall seeing a handful of people on the first day wearing a mask. But it’s South Dakota, open for business according to its governor who is very mindful of optics as she plots a course for higher visibility within particular groups of people.

Like in other parts of the U.S. COVID cases have recently spiked in South Dakota, bew people wore masks at the 38th annual Dakota Farm Show in the Dakotadome on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Tuesday, January 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A salesperson answers questions for attendees about DeWalt equipment at the 38th annual Dakota Farm Show in the Dakotadome on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Tuesday, January 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But important on most people’s mind this day was the coming spring and planting season and whether any new gizmos might be appropriate to purchase, and the at least check out. Because of supply chain issues and the ills that are affecting other businesses, the ag world in not immune. Used farm equipment is hitting all time highs and farmers, already under financial pressure because of tariff problems created by a former administration and loss of markets in which to sell corn and soybeans are understandably being tight-fisted.

Parts of Iowa last year were in a severe drought region and so far little snow this winter has helped alleviate what could be an ongoing issue. Last year a winter season that extended into spring and early summer pushed planting late and then the dry growing season caused more headaches. Timely rains helped out most farmers with a bountiful harvest, the threat is still there. It’s never too early to plan or worry about what’s coming.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

TYLER KOELE, left, and daughter SKYLAR, look at a new Ford pickup truck during the first day of the 38th annual Dakota Farm Show in the Dakotadome on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Tuesday, January 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One vendor flies an American Flag from the handle of a mop at the 38th annual Dakota Farm Show in the Dakotadome on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Tuesday, January 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Another Day in Siouxland a Different Scene Unfolds, Mulberry Bend Overlook

10 Oct

at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There is always a good argument for revisiting places one has previously visited and photographed, even in Siouxland. Time, day, time of year, it all changes what was previously witnessed and recorded. And for lucky photographers scenes are mostly not redundant making it more enticing to stop in and take a second, third or fourth look. I previously came across Mulberry Bend Overlook on a warm, humid and sunny day.

at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I never tire of traveling about and seeing places, sharing them with friends on photo outings. One always hopes for optimal days, that is sunshine and blue sky, to photograph in, but weather and other unplanned exceptions can cause one to reevaluate how one sees and learns to adapt to situations that are not always ideal. Simple challenges are good for a photographer in broadening one’s perceptions and images captured. It also makes a hot cup of coffee taste even better on a damp, chilly day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A rainy day at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Food, Music and Hot Cars in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

24 Sep

Muscle and vintage cars fill the downtown area during the Ribs, Rods, and Rock ‘n Roll Festival in Vermillion, SD check out some muscle cars Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While out looking for another event one weekend I stumbled upon a community’s celebration of food, music and muscle or classic cars, something which has been going on for years but I had no clue.

Vermillion’s Rib, Rod and Rock and Roll Fest started off a little soggy but didn’t dampen people’s enthusiasm to enjoy themselves as they strolled the downtown area looking at classic cars and eating. The latter always a favorite past time of mine.

One car owner makes a second attempt after a rain shower to keep her vehicle looking spotless during the Ribs, Rods, and Rock ‘n Roll Festival in Vermillion, SD check out some muscle cars Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

One car owner makes a second attempt after a rain shower to keep her vehicle looking spotless during the Ribs, Rods, and Rock ‘n Roll Festival in Vermillion, SD check out some muscle cars Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There was a rib cooking contest and for a fee people could help judge the various cook’s results and come away with a full tummy. Unfortunately since I had been out looking for an event I came to find out had been cancelled because of rain, I missed that part of the festival. But I feasted on the smell of what must have been a sumptuous chance to give input on smoked ribs.

Tables were at the ready for hungry folk checking out the food vendors and bbq rib making contestants during the Ribs, Rods, and Rock ‘n Roll Festival in Vermillion, SD check out some muscle cars Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Attendees of the Ribs, Rods, and Rock ‘n Roll Festival in Vermillion, SD check out some muscle cars Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People ate, walked about looking over the cars and listening to music then ate some more and repeated steps 2 and 3. And everyone got into the mood, even a cute little guy that put up with his mistress and seemed to take the day in stride.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

One cutie took in passers-by during the Ribs, Rods, and Rock ‘n Roll Festival in Vermillion, SD check out some muscle cars Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

One attendee of the Ribs, Rods, and Rock ‘n Roll Festival makes his point about the event in Vermillion, SD check out some muscle cars Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Storm clouds still hovered nearby during the Ribs, Rods, and Rock ‘n Roll Festival in Vermillion, SD check out some muscle cars Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting Spirit Mound in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

18 Sep

Spirit Mound is seen in the background behind some sunflowers at the Spirit Mound Historic Prairie near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spirit Mound Historic Prairie is one of the place and stops taken by Lewis and Clark’s Expedition researching the Louisiana Purchase for then President Thomas Jefferson. For Native Americans at the time it represented a place of foreboding, as a website states: “Long before white men came to what is now South Dakota, the little hill known by the Sioux as Paha Wakan was held in awe by tribes for miles around. The Omaha, the Sioux, and the Otoes believe that the mound was occupied by spirits that killed any human who came near.”

The trail head at Spirit Mound near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A trail marker pinpoints a spot visited by the Lewis and Clark Expedition as it explored the “New West” for then President Thomas Jefferson seen at Spirit Mound near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The day I visited there were going to people out on the trail helping visitors to learn a little more about the Mound and other aspects of the area. But a morning rain”washed away” the volunteers as the event was postponed to the following day. But I don’t always let a little water dampen my enthusiasm or gear. And I missed the rain, and the informational pieces as I didn’t attend the following day, but enjoyed the short walk and look at Spirit Mound again as I had visited previously.

Rain puddles fill a walking trail at Spirit Mound near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Rain drops cling to a sign at Spirit Mound near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But there are now informational plagues erected along the trail to give a visitor some background and information one would have to research later, which still wouldn’t be a bad idea to understand more about Lewis and Clark’s expedition and the Native Americans who lived in the area centuries before. History can be fascinating and sometimes it seems surreal to walk in an area visited a century or two or more by explorers and others who lived in an entirely different world.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An informational plague talks about the history of Spirit Mound near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Storm clouds appear on the horizon nearSpirit Mound near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Color in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

13 Jun

Sometimes I feel a little stymied while out looking for images in Siouxland. I don’t always go looking with something definitive in mind, but as I walk about I come across subjects that sometimes  strike me (not physically) visually and later a clearer objective comes to mind. Walking about Vermillion, SD earlier this summer it was an overcast day. Color just seemed to come more alive. The color scheme of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, is red. And many items around the campus reflect that. And there are hard to miss.

A red bench after the school’s colors invites passers-by to lounge on campus at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota, Wednesday May 13, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Later I took a walk along the Vermillion River below the campus area that begins at a park and a paved trail lets one meander with the river course. Spring was still unfolding and snatches of color attended the observant visitor and made a more delightful walk.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Soft light and soft petals enhance a walking path in a park along the Vermillion River in Vermillion, South Dakota, Wednesday May 13, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

%d bloggers like this: