Morning photo: Tilt-a-whirl!

Color-motion …

There’s nothing like a good merry-go-round for color, and when you add some motion blur and post-editing, it can be a photographic carnival. I’ve always wanted to spend a few hours shooting the rides at a fair and this week, it just so happens that a traditional Austrian festival, the Urfahranermarkt, is taking place just a few blocks away. These are the shots from my first effort, all taken with the iPhone camera. I’m going to revisit the fair with my DSLR one of these upcoming evenings to see if I can improve on these images.

Morning photo: Countryside …

Austrian scenes

In between researching stories on the influx of refugees and setting up interviews with environmental scientists, we’ve been able to get out into the Austrian countryside a few times, including a short local trek into the Mühlviertel of Upper Austria, one of the country’s most traditional farming regions. The pastoral scenes reflect an agricultural way of life going back many centuries, with carefully tended fields and orchards. Farther south, at the edge of the Austrian Alps, the Salzkammergut lakes region is starting to quiet down after a busy summer season, with boats neatly harbored in the scenic towns along the shorelines.

Morning photo: Lake light

Day trip …

Just an hour away from Linz, the Alps rise, an impressive wall of limestone peaks towering above the rolling countryside of Upper Austria. Glacier-fed streams have carved deep gorges through the soft rock, and valley bottoms are punctuated by stunning lakes. But all is not well in this fairytale landscape. By some measurements, Austria is a global warming hotspot, and that spells trouble for the country’s glaciers and lakes. In a country that uses hydropower extensively, big changes to flow regimes in rivers and streams could have a huge economic impact. This summer’s drought and extreme heatwave in Austria was one of the worst on record, and many alpine glaciers visibly wasted away under relentless summer sun. Many lakes are expected to warm by 3 degrees Celsius by mid-century, with massive ecosystem changes in store. Learn more about climate change impacts in Austria here.

Morning photo: Euro pics …

Old stomping grounds

Had a chance to spend 24 hours in Frankfurt last week, sad to learn that Henninger Beer no longer exists, but happy to see that the city has revitalized and re-invented itself. Frankfurt has always been the commercial center of Germany, but in recent years, there’s been more of an emphasis on culture and green spaces. The downtown area is still gritty and urban, but the edges are a bit softer.

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Morning photo: Southern Iceland

Find you bliss …

On our way to Austria, we took advantage of Iceland Air’s liberal stopover policy and spent a couple of days touring the island’s southern coast in a mini-campervan. It’s coast Highway 1, just like in California, except for the volcanoes, glaciers and lamb-burgers in the roadside truck stops. The glacial lagoon at Jökulsárlón has long been on the list, so we bee-lined for it the first day, then took our time heading back to Reykjavik, with stops at hot springs, waterfalls and lava cliffs along the way. More to come, so stay tuned.

Morning photo: Mountain colors

Dawn patrol … and more

FRISCO —What could be better than a rainbow stretched across the jagged skyline of the Tenmile Range? Maybe the scattered rays of the morning sun coming up over the Continental Divide, or the vibrant buzz of a bumblebee perched on purple thistle, or deepening purple and orange clouds over Frisco’s landmark Peak One. It’s tough to choose, that’s for sure, so I’m glad I don’t have to pick just one favorite image from this week’s photo wanderings in Summit County. If you love these shots, check out the online Summit Voice gallery, where a purchase goes a long way toward supporting independent Colorado environmental journalism.

Morning photo: Golden days

Sweet sunrise …

FRISCO — With smoke and haze from distant wildfires hanging in the sky, the morning sunlight has been diffuse and gentle, creating some spectacular sunrise scenes along the shore of Dillon Reservoir. It may be slightly comforting that the fires are hundreds of miles away, but at the same time, it’s a reminder that the entire West has been getting warmer and drier for decades. There’s no reason to think that Colorado’s current moist phase will last forever. Based on the regional patterns, it seems a lot more likely that the next drought in the Rockies will be even worse than the last, but for now we have a respite and a chance to prepare for the next inevitable wave of wildfires when the weather turns dry once again.


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