Tag Archives: western iowa tech

Enjoying a Nice Fall Evening in Siouxland, Onawa

15 Nov

The Fall Photo Safari class taking photographs at night in Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Probably my favorite season of the year, like many Siouxland folk, is fall. Sunset comes a little earlier and the weather is still pleasant. Of course, not so much this year as winter seems to have already arrived and along with it, colder evenings. But recently with a photography class we spend a pleasant evening shooting pictures at sunset and night. Students practicing long exposures and light painting. I enjoy the long exposures. Light painting is a practiced art of science as one learns to determine length of exposure and amount of light to add to a scene.

The Fall Photo Safari class taking photographs at night in Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Fall Photo Safari class taking photographs at night in Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And how one lights a scene or uses the “existing” light to effect determines the outcome of a photograph. These images are taken at the Monona County Memorial Museum and Freedom Rock in Onawa. The placement of the plane with a neighborhood in the background makes it difficult to make a clean photo of the exhibit, especially using a setting sun to accomplish it. So one must take liberties and use selective cropping within the camera for some images. And then find the right exposure to create that image.

The Fall Photo Safari class taking photographs at night in Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But a challenge is always good, especially for students. And to fail a couple of times while learning a new skill only reinforces that skill once success is accomplished and a sweet image produced.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Fall Photo Safari class taking photographs at night in Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Light and Shade in Siouxland, Cherokee

28 Oct

Light and shade scene during a Photo Safari outing in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

During a recent class outing with a class I kept coming upon light and shade scenes in the town of Cherokee. I never tire of this particular motif. The day was warm and sunny. Lately the weather is wonky again with rain and overcast skies, making me think that fall will never arrive and winter will sneak in as much as snow and ice and do such a thing. But walking around in a short block or two these images kept popping up and I kept photographing. Even variations on a theme I never tire of them. Works for me.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shade scene during a Photo Safari outing in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and shade scene during a Photo Safari outing in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Waiting for a Weather Change in Siouxland, Beresford, SD

28 Jul

History sitting in place sight seen during an outing of the Lifelong Learning Photo Safari class in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

This past week Siouxland experienced a very insufferable heat wave much like the eastern part of the U.S. is now experiencing. The start of this week has brought cooler temperatures which will hopefully last a few days before those Dog Days of Summer, and the month of August gets here. Everyone knows when it’s fair time it’s got to be hot and humid.

So it was a little to my delight when I came across a photograph I had taken in April during a Spring Photo Safari class I teach. There was unexpected weather that day. Snow, then rain. Now it sounds kind of nice, but then not so much. Winter had over extended its stay.

Having lived in a few places throughout this vast land there is one thing in common that I found people to say, “Just wait five minutes and the weather will change.”

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Community Parks in Siouxland, Bulow Park, Beresford, SD

26 Jun

When visiting various communities throughout Siouxland I always enjoy stopping by the parks. This one in Beresford, SD I would have missed except for a student calling me to see if I was coming by to check it out after a Photo Safari class had ended.

A stone wall greets visitors as they enter Bulow Park dedicated in 1959 in honor of William John Bulow, a founding father born in 1869 who served a few terms as mayor and as the city attorney in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Many of the parks built years or decades ago have a character to them that really isn’t seen these days. Maybe because the style of architecture or cost and available supplies have increased too much. Or possibly there isn'[t the community support to create such havens for its local residents that these green gems are a safe harbor to get away from the day to day and enjoy nature and quiet in such places as Bulow Park.

Stone steps lead to a small amphitheatre space in Bulow Park was dedicated in 1959 in honor of William John Bulow, a founding father born in 1869 who served a few terms as mayor and as the city attorney in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Stonework in Bulow Park which was dedicated in 1959 in honor of William John Bulow, a founding father born in 1869 who served a few terms as mayor and as the city attorney in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoyed the architecture immensely and know when the trees and bushes are in full bloom during summer it must be an awfully nice place for picnics and quiets getaways, well, except for the kids playing at the ball diamond next door. But it’s summer, and that kind of activity is expected and adds to ambience of summer time in the park.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Stonework in Bulow Park was dedicated in 1959 in honor of William John Bulow, a founding father born in 1869 who served a few terms as mayor and as the city attorney in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Small Town, Pisgah

12 Jun

A main street running through downtown Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am endlessly fascinated when visiting small towns in Siouxland. And am always surprised at what one might find in them, as well as the folk one meets. Walking around, taking my time, something students of mine for my Photo Safari classes know all too well, in good and inclement weather. Recently while in Pisgah the class met a couple who runs a bed and breakfast there. I had no idea.

A 104 year old former hotel is now the Loess Hills Bed and Breadfast located in Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

They also have access to a small museum with local history. Class photos of people who graduated from the area in the 1930’s, although there are no longer any schools in the small community. The sleepy little town is a starting point for exploring the Loess Hills in western Iowa where hiking and meandering roads allow one to explore the countryside and surrounding area.

A photograph of 1932 graduates from the Pisgah High School that no longer exists hangs in a small museum, formerly a barbershop, in Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A photograph of 1938 graduates from the Pisgah High School that no longer exists hangs in a small museum, formerly a barbershop, in Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

David Chlupacek, left, shows visitors inside of a former barbershop and now museum that sits across from a 104 year old hotel, now the Loess Hills Bed and Breakfast he and his wife run in Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s these meetings and a chance to learn about the a local area I always find fascinating, even with newly transplanted residents such as David Chlupacek and his wife, who have lived there maybe 10-12 years. Getting a sense of what was once a vibrant small town now a bit more quiet and circumspect about its future.

Photographs and other items are found in a small museum, formerly a barbershop, in Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

David Chlupacek, right, talks with a visitor standing in front of a former barbershop and now museum in Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

A sometimes pass through point for an Iowa tradition of bike riding, RAGBRAI, where small communities grow into overnight metropolises. But not the day we visited. But because of the visitors headed to the Loess Hills State Park the town retains one decent eatery and a place to relax and enjoy small town America with lunch and a short rest before pursuing other places to visit.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Old Home Fill-er Up and “Keep on Truckin” Cafe was made famous in a song by C.W. McCall is located in Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Photographs hang in a small museum, formerly a barbershop, in Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Perspective in Siouxland, Little Sioux

8 Jun

Sometimes it truly is in the eye of the beholder when a person sees something it is very important in how they see something. Perspective gives an individual an “informed” viewpoint, no matter the subject. In photography I believe that is also true. And how one sees subjects to photograph juxtaposed to other elements included in the frame and can interest, or distract.

A ready field for a later in town harvest seen during a Spring Photo Safari outing in Little Sioux , Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

I found it interesting to find a field “in town” ready for planting. I need to go back to see if it is just a large garden, or a corn or soybean crop. Sunflowers would be a fun crop as well and add interest to a small community. Then again, some scenes only occur at certain points in the year as nature takes its course and winter progresses into spring, into summer and then fall. And in that it is up to the one seeing and recording what those scenes might be and of what interest they may hold to other viewers.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Spring blooms during a Spring Photo Safari outing in Little Sioux , Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying the Outdoors in Siouxland, Preparation Canyon State Park

6 Jun

Spring emerges after an Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources burn off recently seen during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Time spent outdoors is always time spent well I believe, barring the fact that it isn’t a blizzard or a -20 degrees temperature with 40 mph wind gusts. And there are many nice places in Siouxland to spend some outdoor time, like Preparation Canyon State Park situated in the Loess Hills area of western Iowa which runs from Sioux City down past Council Bluffs. The Dept. of Natural Resources gives this history of the park, “The 344 acre the park encompasses what was once the town of Preparation. In 1853, Charles B. Thompson broke from the Mormon wagon train to Utah after receiving a message from the “Spirit.” The Mormon leader and elder led 50 to 60 Mormon families to Kanesville, now Council Bluffs. Upon much searching, Thompson and a few select men chose the area called “Monona,” an Indian name meaning “Peaceful Valley.” Here they organized the town of Preparation, complete with houses and schools and started Monona County’s first newspaper which Thompson owned and operated.”

On a recent class outing for my Spring Photo Safari class through a Lifelong Learning program at Western Iowa Tech Community College we spent some time at the overlook, as the actual park with camping sites is down the road maybe 2-3 miles. And not far from here also is a cemetery of early pioneers as well as more recent local residents interred in a bucolic setting with the wind creating a concert of sound along with chirping birds.

A quiet spring day during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was only a week or two earlier that the DNR had done a controlled burn in early spring which I believe is a yearly occurrence. The area had rebounded and spring green was gradually coming to life giving the area a fresh face for another outdoor season, well, an outdoor season that doesn’t include trudging through snow.

A ridge line trail taken during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Spring emerges after an early burn off by Iowa’s Dept. of Natural Resources seen during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

There is a nice trail that leads out from the overlook into the adjoining area that is not overly difficult and gets one into the pastoral setting, giving a visitor a chance to explore and see what is over the next hill and dale without going to far off the beaten path and after some exertion, a chance to return to the overlook, rest, and then continue the journey through the Loess Hills and the chance to find other places to explore and ponder what it must have been like for the early settlers in the later 1850’s as some made their way west and others settled into the area to begin life anew.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Hiking a trail for a better photo perspective during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Pausing to enjoy a nice day outside during a Spring Photo Safari outing at Preparation Canyon State Park near Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

%d bloggers like this: