Tag Archives: western iowa tech

An outing of out Siouxland, Henry Doorley Zoo Omaha, NE

11 Jul

A recent outing for a Summer Photo Safari class I teach through Western Iowa Tech’s Lifelong Learning program took us to the Henry Doorley Zoo in Omaha, NE. It also happened to be the opening day for the NCAA College World Series held in Omaha and one of the hotter days at that point in summer that it was an interesting day of shooting.

People enjoy zoos. As hard as it is sometimes to see the animals caged and pacing or simply ignoring the humans staring at them, people are still drawn to go and see the animals that only see in pictures in a book or magazine.

A young girl poses for a picture inside a viewing area as a Lowland Gorilla sits outside in the shade during a hot day at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And sometimes people receive lasting impressions as they are able to interact with some of the animals and it makes an impact.

A visitor gets a personal experience as she feeds a giraffe at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Children the antics of one of the Lowland gorillas at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But the heat that day definitely made an impression and people took advantage of mist stations along the way to stay cool and have some fun at the same time.

A family cools off under a misting station on a hot and humid day at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

By and far though I found the best way of staying cool was to visit the indoor exhibits which were as fascinating as the outdoor ones.

A visitor takes photos of fish swimming overhead in the Aquarium at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But I think it’s not only the guests visiting the zoo that enjoy it as do the individuals who work with the animals and care for them and bond with them on a daily basis much like many of us do with our own pets. Sometimes visiting and seeing something exotic doesn’t necessarily have to take one to the other side of the world, but it is a nice first step in that direction.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A parrot gets cozy with its trainer at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking for the Oddity in SIouxland, Rock Rapids

30 Apr

On the first outing in Siouxland this spring for my Photo Safari class I teach at the local community college we visited Rock Rapids, a small community that has more than three dozen murals decorating the downtown area, with more planned. The community of 2,500 souls has a nice downtown and area parks. But for me visiting this time I was looking for other images although I did photograph some of the murals that decorate the community.

One of the many murals depicting the history of the community seen during aPhoto Safari class outing in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

For me with a bright sunny day I was looking for shapes and patterns and light and shade for my images.

Seeing shapes and patterns for Photo Safari in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing shapes and patterns for Photo Safari in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

It sometimes is a challenge to see the same place again and find something that appeals to one in a different way. Having an “arsenal” of ideas and compositional techniques to help one create images is always a good thing, and a way to keep one’s eye fresh and looking beyond the sometimes obvious. But every visit brings its own uniqueness to a photograph. Ten minutes later and what one saw is now a memory.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing shapes and patterns for Photo Safari in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing shapes and color for Photo Safari in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing shapes and patterns for Photo Safari in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Framing a view in Siouxland, Grand Meadow Heritage and Storm Lake

30 Dec

Sometimes trying to capture images in Siouxland I struggle to see what is before me and really strive to make an image that reflects what I see. Some images jump out at you and others you have to work a bit. When it comes to framing, does one need to be literal all the time and really “frame” your subject matter, or can one be a little less rigid in how the framing is done and does it still work. Some images work regardless of the artifice used in making them stand out on their own. Others not so much. But the more one attempts I believe the better one begins to see the possibilities.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Photo Safari class at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center near Washta, Iowa Saturday Oct. 21, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A short walk on a short pier into the lake at Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday Sept. 6, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Holiday Celebrations, Christmas too, in Siouxland, Adams Homestead

4 Dec

As the Christmas celebrations get geared up for surrounding communities and organizations it’s always fun to visit and see what if anything has changed from year to year. And it’s a nice break from the relentless political news that fortunately deserves to be covered but a break from is always good too.

The Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve is always fun to attend as its outbuildings are open to explore and their are carolers and activities for kids and adults to enjoy.

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

I personally like Christmas. The holiday and its sentimental depiction. When I lived in northern California and got the chance I would go into San Francisco to enjoy the ostentatious window displays that the large stores would put up. These days I enjoy a simpler look at Christmas decorations.

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And of course no Christmas celebration is complete for kids without a visit with a jolly old elf and a chance to drop a line asking for those soon to be opened gifts.

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And it’s a time for friends to get together and family to celebrate and create memories.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Learning Light and White Balance in Siouxland, plus a test, Photo Safari

12 Nov

During the fall season in Siouxland I always look for different places to visit to keep interest in my Fall Photo Safari and to challenge those students attending. I also return to previous places because the light, season, and temperature is never the same. I have to thank students Elizabeth and Carey for being good sports and allowing me to test a newly acquired camera for its video capabilities, especially using a variable ND filter so I can control the amount of light while shooting outdoors with a 1/30 shutter speed and an f/4 aperture at 320 ISO. I didn’t have a tripod so I knew my technique was going to be off, but it gave me a chance to test out what I thought would work and be prepared to use it in a couple weeks when I attend some local Christmas functions.

During the fall I also schedule one class toward dusk and evening. This challenges some students because it screws with their knowledge of using higher ISO’s, white balance and most times a slower variable zoom kit lens. The lenses are fine, but one does need to learn to work around them.

The city recently began changing out the lighting from mercury vapor and other warm lamps to daylight LED’s.

Photo Safari class in Sioux City, Iowa, Saturday, October 31, 2015. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

We walk about the downtown area of Sioux City and as dusk falls into night, they have to think about these changes which can seem daunting. But I tell them to have fun and be creative. One way is working with the camera’s preset white balance. This scene was shot both using the tungsten setting for night and also using the Florescent 3 setting I have on my Fuji camera. I am not a fan of LED’s for night usage that are not warm because it plays with one’s sense of night and day. And we humans are geared  for warm settings come evening. But using the Florescent setting helped me give my image a warm feel.

in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Saturday Nov. 4, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Saturday Nov. 4, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

The next scene I believe I was shooting daylight as there was still a little sunlight left in the sky and then switched to tungsten.

in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Saturday Nov. 4, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Saturday Nov. 4, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And as I try to explain to students, because of a “slower” kit lens sometimes one can use that to an advantage since the shutter speed is slowed down to accommodate a f/3.5 or f/4 lens. And then creatively one enters controlled motion into the image.

in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Saturday Nov. 4, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And with a little practice and experimentation these tweaks become more tools in the “toolbox” as one looks at familiar images and giving them a bit of a different twist.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Revisiting Places in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

21 May

As I travel about the Siouxland area I am constantly returning to places that I have previously visited. And when I do so with classes it becomes a challenge to not see the same things either physically or visually. Although it’s hard not too. Vermillion, SD is a small college community. Its college buildings on the University of South Dakota campus there were built in the late 1800’s and then more recently in the 1950’s as it expanded. There are also newer buildings, but sometimes they are not as interesting as the older ones. The same is true in the town itself.

I took my class to a section of town I had been to maybe a month or more previously. The light was different on my return visit with my class. Sunny, a little cool, but pleasant. So I tried to shoot a little differently. I was aiming for darker images than I got. Even after a couple of years working with my Fuji mirrorless cameras I am still trying to get some images I see or “pre-see”. But I was happy with the results. And I saw opportunity in a building shot I did on the university’s campus that I will need to return and explore, probably earlier so I have more of the directional light to work with. Familiarity can help inform one’s shooting and give you a perspective when trying a different approach. Plus, every day is a new day photographically.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Exploring Siouxland not for the Faint of Heart, Smithland

16 May

When I find places I like to use for my Lifelong Learning Photo Safari class I teach at Western Iowa Tech I like to explore the places in Siouxland prior to bringing students there. And exploring places to photograph to me is have the fun. I generally try to find places that as a class we can walk around and explore for a couple hours. On a last outing recently in Vermillion, SD, one of my students mentioned that we had walked quite a bit this particular day. I did say that the class description does mention having comfortable shoes to wear in signing up for the class. He laughed.

When photographing and getting to know a place I find it difficult to see things if I am just driving about. Now I do that when cruising back roads in the country, but in a lot of small communities I find a place to walk and then explore. I don’t exercise as much as I used to when my knees were a little better, but walking out, unless it’s a tornado or blizzard, is doable in any type of weather. And again, what’s a better way to spend a day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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