In the vines …
All the colors of autumn in one leaf.
I had a chance to explore the heart of Austria’s wine country on a perfect autumn day, following an interpretive trail through neatly tended terraces in the Kamp River valley, north of Vienna. Most of the grapes were already harvested, but a few clusters were still ripening in the sun for a late harvest. Some will be left until they freeze on the vine. That late harvest yields a smaller amount of concentrated wine, its sweetness balanced by high acidity. Check out all the latest Summit Voice travel photography in our Sunday Set archive, and visit our online gallery or more landscape and nature images.
Climate change threatens The Med …
St. Tropez lighthouse harbor.
Cap Roux wave.
Haven’t had a chance to hang out near the ocean for a while, so it’s time to reach back into the archives for a seaside set from the coast of the Mediterranean, a region feeling the full impact of global warming. One recent climate study found that the current dry spell in the region is the most intense in the past 900 years, and just in the past couple of weeks, scientists said this past summer’s record heatwave across the region, dubbed Lucifer, had clear global warming fingerprints all over it. And along with direct heat impacts, there are other effects. In the eastern Mediterranean, warmer water has enabled tropical fish to invade, and they are having a big impact on marine ecosystems. There are also clear signs that global warming will intensify droughts and the wildfire danger in the region. NOAA has also warned the region could become more susceptible to winter drought.
Summer scenes …
Sunset over the Ottensteiner Stausee.
Storm over the Danube.
A quickie photo trek through through parts of Austria reflecting the peak of the summer season, including building thunderstorms over Vienna and the Danube, one more of the poppy fields in full bloom, and some countryside shots. Check the Sunday Set archive for more travel pics, and visit our online gallery for fine art nature and landscape images, available printed on a wide range of mediums.
Bittersweet days …
In the pond.
From the marketplace out into the fields and forests, late summer brings a last flush of colorful blooms. Make sure to get out a few more times before the monochromatic days of fall and winter come along. Not that there’s anything wrong with a crystalline or wet world of white and gray, but it’s nice to tank up on some of summer’s energy when you can. These are some of my favorite end-of-season images from last year, taken at the Brunnenmarkt in Vienna, the Austrian Alps and the canyon country of southern France.
Salzburg and Tirol may get all the glory for dramatic mountain scenery, singing nuns and happy cows, but the northeastern quadrant of Austria also has its charms. The Waldviertel is one of the most rural and agricultural sections of the country, with a pleasing patchwork of carefully tended fields and forests, not to mention ponds and lakes that have been managed for aquaculture for several hundred years. The images in this set were all taken around the town of Zwettl, the heart of the Waldviertel at the confluence of the Kamp and Zwettl rivers. Check out the last few Summit Voice photo essays in the archives and visit our online gallery for more nature and landscape photography.
Ripening grain and a poppy field in full bloom near Bad Traunstein.
At an elevation of about 1,000 meters in the Waldviertel, a poppy field blooms in mid-July.
Austria a densely populated country, but there are some wide open spaces. Just have to know where to look!
Sunset at one of the world’s great steppe lakes, the Neusiedler See.
There’s a perception that Austria is a densely populated country, especially if your main impression comes from visiting tourist centers like Vienna or Salzburg. But in reality, the country ranks about in the middle of EU countries in terms of density, at 97 people per square kilometer. That’s a little higher than Greece (81) but lower than, for example, Italy (192). That means there are some wide open spaces outside the population centers, including the sparsely populated Waldviertel region, north and west of Vienna, extending toward the border with Czechia. We captured a few landscape images in the region during a visit to the famed poppy fields, highlighted in last week’s photo essay.
For a few weeks each summer, usually in early to mid-July, farm fields in Lower Austria come alive with the poppy bloom. The flowers are planted for their tiny black seeds that are a popular ingredient for a wide variety of baked products in this region of the world. Sometimes they’re simply sprinkled atop braided rolls, but they really shine when they’re ground and mixed into a sweetened paste to fill pastries. The fields in this set are all near the small town of Ottenschlag, and it’s well worth visiting if you happen to be near Vienna this time of year.