Morning photo: City edits

Old town

I took the long way to Upper Austrian press club yesterday, walking across the Danube, then up through the old town to the castle and down the other side into the center of the city. Even following that detour, it’s only a 20 minute walk, but it gave me a chance to check out some of the sights along the way on a friendly and warm autumn day. After meeting some local reporters for lunch in the beer garden, I sat for a few minutes in the town’s main square and edited the morning snapshots for this set. All except the overlook image were run through multiple layers of filters and sharpening to create some grain that, for me, emphasize the cobblestone patterns and the old stone wall behind the statue.

Study eyes hotel industry ‘greenwashing’

How green is your hotel really?

How green is your hotel really?

Consumers catching on to self-serving industry practices

Staff Report

Environmentally savvy travelers aren’t necessarily buying the hotel industry’s green claims, according to a trio of Washington State University researchers, who said there’s growing skepticism that towel re-use programs and other superficial measures are truly a sign of sustainable hotel operations.

The study, published in the Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, suggests that some of those practices are nothing more than greenwashing, referring to the “deceitful practice of promoting environmentally friendly programs while hiding ulterior motives.” Continue reading

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.

Study says changes in air traffic patterns could cut fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions


Airlines could save money and cut emissions by adjusting the rhythm of transatlantic flights. @bberwyn photo.

Changing flight intervals could save $10 million per year

By Bob Berwyn

Tweaking flight paths across the Atlantic could yield huge savings in fuel costs and help cut airline greenhouse gas emissions.

“If the lateral separation between the aircraft can be reduced, they can be spaced closer and remain more in line with their optimum flight paths. Overall, this would produce fuel economy as most aircraft save fuel at higher cruise altitudes,” said Antonio Trani, director of Virginia Tech’s Air Transportation Systems Laboratory and a professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Trani and fellow researchers reached their conclusions after studying flight information and fuel consumption for air traffic in the North Atlantic oceanic airspace. The research is part of the Future Air Navigation System started in the 1990s that focused on communication between aircraft and air traffic control services, conducted for the Federal Aviation Agency. Continue reading

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: 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.


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