Tag Archives: woodbury county

Seeing Patterns in Siouxland, City and Country

16 Apr

While out shooting I always try to see “new” things or at least revisit something I may not have paid attention too previously while driving about Siouxland. It was only recently that the idea of manmade patterns kind of jumped out at me. Not in a “lightbulb” moment, but a quite, Ahhhhhhhh, kind of realization while looking at some images I was thinking about using for this blog. It’s been kind of fashionable in smaller rural communities both in the town, but more likely in the country at farms to put up a “farm quilt” pattern on the side of a barn. A kind of fashionable trend that I noticed in the Siouxland area maybe around 2006 or so. And now one sees them more often. But in a way, those patterns have always been there, maybe in a slightly different form but still created by farmers, most often in their fields. To mention such an idea to my Dad when he was living would probably have provoked a raised eyebrow and a quick hand to my forehead to see if I was feeling ill. And then maybe a smile, knowing that I look for visuals where others may not.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A local grain elevator building with a patch quilt attached and a wind or storm induced quilt of its own with missing siding in Coleridge, Nebraska Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)


Clouds pass through rural Woodbury County, Iowa Thursday July 27, 2017, creating a patter in the sky that works along with the pattern on the ground after a farmer finished readying his alfalfa field for baling. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Watching the Clouds go by in Siouxland, rural Woodbury County

4 Aug

I remember as a kid I would sometimes lie on my back in the yard and just look up and see an expansive sky. Growing up on a farm one didn’t have tall buildings interfering with your view from the yard as one might in a city. The blue sky with clouds overhead sometimes made one think of large wads of cotton candy drifting by in a sea of blue.

I still love seeing clouds fill the sky and on days when I can chase them, I do. To me it makes a nice drive in the country. If I get a little shadow action on the ground to create a bit more mood, all the better. And yes, I will admit I use a polarizer filter. Guilty of sometimes making the sky too dark, too dramatic, but hey, it’s what I see.

Some people I know tsk, tsk the use of that filter, and especially the overuse of it or creating too dramatic a sky. And well, that’s fine. But if you look at some of my photos, you might want to close your eyes.

With clouds in the sky, the day just seems to be endless as they drift by adding something to the landscape and reminding one of childhood.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Weighing Options in Siouxland, Woodbury County

12 May

I try to impress on those folk taking my photo classes through Western Iowa Tech Community College that when taking photographs it’s always a decision. A decision of what to leave in the photo and what to exclude. Painters start with a blank canvas as many others have stated, and add to the canvas what they want the viewer to see. Photographers start with a frame and need to exclude information to compose a better photograph to help inform the viewer what exactly it is they as the photographer want the viewer to see. An oft bantered phrase, “Less is More” is at times appropriate. Don’t include too much information in your photo if you want a viewer to see details.

On a drive back home from an outing with a class I came across this barn in Siouxland in rural Woodbury County. I just liked its appearance. But then I thought maybe I should isolate some various aspects of the bar to force the viewer to see what I was looking at that day. A viewer may or may not agree with me about what and how I photographed something, but c’est la vie.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Hints of color on a barn off of County Road D-54 near Danbury, Iowa Saturday, April 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The door of a barn off of County Road D-54 near Danbury, Iowa Saturday, April 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The door of a barn off of County Road D-54 near Danbury, Iowa Saturday, April 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Siouxland’s cold weather respite, Rural Woodbury County

18 Jan

Recently the Siouxland area had a cold weather respite with the temperature hitting 40 degrees. After a few days, which seemed like weeks of below freezing temps and wind chill to make it below zero temps, this was a nice break. It was nice to get in the car and drive about seeing what again, was over that next hill.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland summer is ending, Rural Woodbury County

27 Aug

It’s raining today. It’s been raining a lot this summer in Siouxland. No storms, just a nice rain. August is ending and fall is approaching. Fall is my favorite time of year. The light is very sweet to photograph in, and then there are the colors. So I thought I would take one last opportunity to add to summer’s passing with a few photos.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Farm equipment continues to grow in Siouxland, Woodbury County Fair

2 Aug

While visiting the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa, this past week, I checked out the antique farming tractors and walked around some of the newer pieces of machinery on display. As corporate farming takes hold, and smaller farmers are forced to buy more land to compete, the equipment needed to cover so much ground continues to grow. In fact some of the tractors and wagons are just monstrously huge. If you fell from one of them to ground, you would be seriously hurt. But the contrast in size is just unbelievable.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux CIty, Iowa

Siouxland County Fair Time, Moville

1 Aug

Growing up in Illinois, in a rural area, I remember the summertime visits to the local county fair. It was at a time when there were many more small farm operations throughout the region. Probably at that time a large farm contained at most a thousand acres. I talk about the number of farms because I believe they directly impacted the success of such organizations as 4-H clubs and the Future Farmers of America. At that time, more kids involved in 4-H were from farm families than from town.

I visited the Woodbury County Fair this week in Moville, Iowa, and saw some animal judging and walked through some exhibit halls as well as the animal barns. I talked with one young Siouxland lady who was “resting” on her market beef animal and asked about the number of clubs participating from the area. This was her fourth year involved in 4-H. I participated for eight years as many people do. She thought there were maybe 5-6 4-H clubs participating at the fair. When I was in 4-H, there were maybe 15-20 4-H clubs with anywhere from 20-30 members, each showing one or more animals at the fair, as well as crafts and it was huge. The dairy animals were always shown a couple weeks prior to the county fair with maybe 100-150 animals involved. During fair time, the beef animals ruled, with three full barns, with additional barns for hogs. There were maybe 200-300 4-H members involved.

But times have changed, less small farms, such 4-H members now live on small acreages their parents or grandparents own and they raise the hogs, beef, or sheep there. But the one thing that still pervades these young people’s involvement is their pride in their animals and their exhibition of them. I came across two club members cleaning the comb of a chicken and its talons so they would be clean for the animal judge. There was one barn that featured the work of the 4-H club members that included crafts, photography, food and other categories. It is fun to walk through these and see what has changed, and what has remained the same. For me it’s a nostalgic walk but also it supports those still involved with this part of Americana. History based in agriculture, which is still a big deal. Or should be. No food, no life.

jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa


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