Tag Archives: vermillion south dakota

Seeing in inches or feet in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

30 Aug

Visually I can be a pretty darn opinionated individual, especially with myself. I see something and like it and then start photographing. When I worked for newspapers it became instinctual because moments changes scenes. What you saw 30 seconds or a minute or two ago is no longer there. I am trying to break that habit.

I no longer shoot for a newspaper on a daily basis. And the majority of my photographic interests are now more landscape, rural and urban, oriented. When I am concentrating on people I do just shoot and shoot when I see something. But with landscapes, I am trying to slow myself down and look and then photograph.

The campus of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, in Vermillion, South Dakota, August 19, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I saw the image of the tower at the far end of the campus at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion on a recent visit I liked the trees and the spatiality. I liked the framing with the trees and the shadows in the foreground and the barely visible white tower peeking in the background. I shot a few frames. Then a walked maybe 10 steps and I realized maybe I  shot too soon.

The campus of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, in Vermillion, South Dakota, August 19, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I liked this framing better, the use of more shadow in the foreground forcing the eye up to the bright gleaming towers, now that one can see more than one. To me it seems a stronger photograph. I have gotten better at turning 360 though when I am out walking. See a scene behind me as well as the one I walking toward. Sometimes it is easy to miss an opportunity depending on how shadows fall and what is around you.

But I still struggle with placing my subjects, whatever they may be, within my frame. I like the various placement treatment I might give a building or person or whatever. They may all be a nice image, but that is part of the process of seeing and then defining what you see and distilling it down to what you what your viewer to see.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Trying new Visual Undertakings in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

28 Apr

One trip I took in early April to Vermillion, SD found me walking around the campus of the University of South Dakota on a grey, cool day. There really wasn’t much in the way of color appearing and lights and shadows were really nonexistent. Because I didn’t like what I saw in color I decided to photograph in B&W. The writing on a sundial was easier to read in B&W and I thought I would see if I could create a little story about a garden area on the campus by continuing to shoot in B&W. There is a little garden called Shakespeare Garden and dedicated I believe to the bard. A snippet I found online says the gardens contains flowers, shrubs and herbs mentioned in Shakespeare’s works.

Shooting in B&W helps me isolate items in a couple of the photos but overall are not stellar images. But without trying, and maybe failing, one never knows if an attempt succeeds or not. But for the gloomy kind of spring day it was, I had a nice cup of coffee and snack in a student center later that hit the spot. Sometimes trips are hard to capture via image through the camera, but can leave an indelible impression or image in one’s mind.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying Spring Colors in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

15 Apr

I as many am waiting for the flowers to bloom and the grass to turn greener in Siouxland. On a recent trip to hear a speaker at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, it was a grey and overcast day. The ground still looking like winter, just without the snow. So I was happy to see a little “artificial” color introduced to the campus by students I am guessing. Their brand new bikes ready for adventures minus the snow and slush to drive through. The bubble gum colors made me smile. And the school’s one color is red, which all the bike stands and other items like benches are painted on campus.

And I only wondered how the individuals were dressed that were riding these bikes. Hopefully not in chic black.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Learning Tolerance in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

9 Apr

This past week I visited the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD. I wanted to hear a child Holocaust survivor speaking there about her experience in a centration camp and get an impression of what life must have been like in the 1930’s and ’40’s for Jews. It was overwhelming. Inge Auerbacher survived the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia where she and her immediate family were sent. Other members of her family, like her grandparents were not so lucky, or other people the family met at the camp. It’s hard to understand the meanness in people’s hearts that force other people into terrible situations or cause them to suffer. And recent world events bring those horrors into focus in current history.

Auerbacher was involved in a short film of her return to where she lived as a young child from birth to maybe 6 years old before being forced into hiding and then to a concentration camp. This piece is only an introduction to the 25 minute one she showed the university students and others who attended. As she stated, she is 82 this year, and soon those affected by the Nazis who killed them and did such harm will soon be dead, and that immediate telling of history will be lost.

The sad thing is the hate that supports such behavior appears to still be alive and well and will probably continue to exist in the current history and foreseeable history until somehow it and the souls who insist on being haters are both eradicated from the world.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Just Searching in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

2 Apr

Recently on a trip to Vermillion, SD I ate lunch and walked about looking for some different images that maybe I have overlooked in the past. I have been to Vermillion numerous times and walked about the campus of the University of South Dakota there, as well as the downtown area. This day it was heavy overcast and no sunshine to speak of, but at least it was “warmish” and pleasant to walk about and be out of the house as spring begins to settle into the Siouxland area.

The prospect of finding something new I think is always a challenge when photographing a place one knows fairly well. The overcast day also presented a challenge with its flat light. No chance of using lights and shadows to create images. And then I saw it. Shapes. On a bright sunny day I might have overlooked these, but on this particular day these images just stood out. Hiding in plain sight some may say. Or just being observant and looking for images to make the day a little more successful.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Doorways in Siouxland, Vermillion, South Dakota

6 Aug

Some days when I go out looking for images, I don’t always find something I like. And then there are times when I find something and the changing light adds or detracts from what I try to photograph and “capture”. Being successful in achieving an image depends on the photographer and whether or not what they see a particular day feels a need.

I have visited Vermillion, South Dakota numerous times. Yet I always find something there that catches my eye, even if I am not going out of my way to do so. I love serendipity. Others might feel I should push myself more to define something when I photograph it, wait for the light, but after years of working for newspapers and having to deal with what is in front of me at the moment I am photographing, I go with the flow and make best with what I see.

This trip walking around a friend and I came upon an old church that is now serving as an arts center. And what stuck me was the side door. As the sun peeked out from behind clouds and went in again, it created a different image. While checking out the church, I struck up a conversation with a neighbor to the former church and saw an old screen door that I asked permission to photograph. It was lovely. Nice texture and the sun was striking it in a way that appealed to me.

When I have students from one of my community college Lifelong Learning classes out on a Photo Safari, I try to point out such things to them, whether large in scope such as a landscape, or small, like a detail much like the screen door. To get them to begin seeing subjects in either too familiar places or to see ordinary scenes in an unordinary way.

One may not always be successful, but it’s almost always fun.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

History Tucked Away in Siouxland, Vermillion

10 Jul

No matter how many trips I make to a place, such as Vermillion, South Dakota, I always enjoy finding another little gem to explore. And I find such a gem in the place of the Austin-Whittemore House, located barely a block away the downtown area and from a couple of eateries that I frequent as often as I visit. The Austin-Whittemore House has on display items from the area that and historical pieces of Clay County, South Dakota. The day I visited the docent on duty was gracious enough to show visitors around and explain points of interest and point out various artifacts within the house that came from the community. During the visit, a gentleman stopped in to ask the docent about a particular item he had found and she asked him to contact an individual familiar to them both to look for clues as to what this item might be. She also photographed the item to do more sleuthing herself. That kind of passion for local historical knowledge I find greatly reassuring. It’s also nice to know more about a place when leaving that upon arriving.

And it will probably be time again to visit one of the eateries that I enjoy and hopefully the chance to find another gem.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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