Morning photo: Lingering …

Sweet October

After a chilly and rainy spell in mid-October, Indian Summer made a comeback late in the month, except here in Austria, it’s called Altweiber Sommer (old women’s summer). In the lowlands of the Danube River Valley there still hasn’t been a killing frost, which means there are garden roses hanging on to brilliant summer hues, and in the fields, wild mushrooms still abound. I wonder if it will last into November?

Morning photo: Autumn vibes

Pray for grace

I sometimes see my photos in dreams, and also dreams in my photos. A couple of days ago, I visited the tree in the last picture in this set in my dreams, walking hand in hand and feeling a new radiant love. For some reason, I woke up with a prayer on my lips, not a traditional prayer but the following Michael Franti groove, of which I’ve posted an excerpt. Catch a great live version of the song here:

“I take a moment to myself
So I can hear myself
To feel myself
And be real myself
Life’s addictions and afflictions
‘Cause abrasions from their friction
Sometimes it’s easier to live in fiction
I can run, but I can’t hide
From the pains that reside down deep inside
There is no pill that can be swallowed
There is no guru that can be followed
There’s no escapin’ from my own history
Those that I hurt and those that hurt me
I was dead for a million years ‘fore I was born and
I’ll be dead for a million more after I’m gone
So I live to give somethin’ that can live on
Like the way you hum a song when the music’s gone
Like the warmth of the sand when the sun goes down
And I’m sittin’ with myself, nobody else is around … “

Morning photo: Rainy day(s)

Finding color on rainy, gray days isn’t all that hard, especially in the fall, when the plant world erupts in one last blast of color before winter’s grays and whites take over. Keeping my iPhone dry deep in the pocket of a raincoat, I set out for a short walk along the base of the Pöstlingberg, where residential streets give way to small urban garden plots, hedges and farm fields, looked for the brightest splotches I could find, including backyard fruit trees and berry bushes along the trail.

Morning photo: #Fleamarketfinds

One man’s junk …

Since I didn’t need a pair of used — but shiny — wingtips, I didn’t buy anything at the Linz fleamarket this morning, but I still had a good time. Fleamarkets can definitely evoke some pretty strong feelings if you let yourself drift down memory lane. I recognized several toy cars that I coveted as a toddler, and at another stand was a collection Pez dispensers that also brought back a flood of childhood remembrances. But the best part is watching the negotiations between buyers and sellers — the Italian shoe salesman explaining the intricacies of a small espresso maker, or the Matchbook car dealer, knowing that he has some real treasures, and refusing to sell himself short.

Morning photo: Snaps

Die Waldschänke …

After a few days of good old Central European gray and drizzly skies, the sun burst forth on Monday morning, so we headed up the hill to a local Waldschänke — a mountainside eatery that’s favored by hikers seeking a view over the broad Danube Valley around Linz. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t the type of place that requires hours of strenuous slogging — more like a short walk up a country lane through farmyards and orchards, just enough exercise to work up a bit of an appetite for some country cooking.

How does ecotourism affect ecosystems?

Researchers urge caution as visitation to wildlife areas booms

A seal is far outnumbered by tourists on the shores of Paulet Island, along the Antarctic Peninsula. @bberwyn photo.

A seal is far outnumbered by tourists on the shores of Paulet Island, along the Antarctic Peninsula. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Ecotourism has been hailed as a sustainable economic driver and a force for environmental conservation, but a new report says we also need to account for the possible adverse effects of visitation to relatively wild spaces.

In a new report published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, researchers said all of those interactions between wild animals and friendly ecotourists eager to snap their pictures may inadvertently put some animals at greater risk of being eaten. Continue reading

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.


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