Aspen pano with partial rainbow, Frisco, Colorado.
Clear autumn light, tinged by a low-angle sun through changing foliage, is one of the best times of the year to take landscape photos. In the past 12 months, I’ve enjoyed some spectacular fall scenery in the vineyards of southern Austria, the hill country of the Provence and mountain canyons in the Alps, and the magic stays the same — autumn is golden!
Lavender fields in the Provence on the Valensole Plateau.
Splashy near Cap Roux.
Dragonfly, Pont du Loup.
From the ragged and rocky shoreline of the Côte d’Azur to nearby high plateaus and pre-alpine canyons, the Provence has always been on the European travel A-list. Yes, the big resort towns are overcrowded and overpriced, but there are plenty of quiet, hidden shoreline coves where you can enjoy a swim away from the maddening beach crowds, and there’s also plenty of “backcountry” just a few miles from the main tourist strips.
NASA, Harvard scientists study wine harvest dates in cool-weather countries
Global warming is changing centuries-old climate patterns that are crucial for wine production in cool-weather regions, a new study from NASA and Harvard concludes. After analyzing climate records and grape harvesting dates from 1600 to 2007, the scientists found that harvests started happening much earlier during the second half of the 20th century.
These shifts were caused by changes in the connection between climate and harvest timing. Between 1600 and 1980, earlier harvests were linked to years with warmer and drier conditions during spring and summer. After that, global warming caused earliers harvests in years without droughts. Continue reading “Global warming is already affecting wine production”→
I spent the better part of last week in Paris covering the COP21 climate talks at the Le Bourget conference center, where nearly 200 countries agreed to try and curb global greenhouse gas emissions and to shift the world to a low-carbon, sustainable future. I didn’t have a lot of time to be a tourist during this visit, but each day, on the way between the conference center and my downtown apartment, I chose a slightly different Metro route, stopping along the way to check out some familiar Paris landmarks by night. See if you name all the different spots and stay tuned for links to stories about the historic climate talks.
A short flashback to a day trip to Cotignac, one of the classic hill towns in the Provence region of France, with cliff dwellings dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. There was a quietness in the air in late November when we stopped by, with not a tourist (except us) in sight. It’s the first time I’ve visited the area in the autumn, and the light was just as magical as any other time of year.
The French tricolour flies proudly in the village of Brignoles the day afer terrorists attacked multiple targets in Paris.
Early Saturday morning, a flurry of doves outside the kitchen window.
Morning coffee, Place Caramy.
Street life in Brignoles.
The colors of France glow in the old walls of this building in downtown Brignoles.
Our Europe sojourn included a side trip to visit family in southern France, and our arrival coincided with the murderous terrorist attacks in Paris, which left the country shaken but unbowed. Though far from the carnage, the people in Brignoles felt the pain of their countrymen. Saturday morning coffee talk at the cafés around Place Caramy was more hushed than usual, as locals and visitors gathered around newspapers and televisions to try and learn as much as possible about the events of the preceding night, while declaring solidarity with compatriots in the capital city. In Paris, Saturday brought a show of defiance from French citizens around the country, as they crowded into cafés and restaurants to show the world that they’re not afraid.
Amsterdam, recognizable by its distinctive pattern of canals, seen from a flight from Iceland to Frankfurt.
Coast highway, Iceland.
Hey there, Boston!
To me, one of the coolest things about traveling the jet age is the chance to see old and new landmarks from the air. As I’ve written before, I always try to get a window seat on long flights, unless it’s a red-eye. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been fascinated by maps. I remember tracing the paths of highways and the shape of coastlines, both familiar and unknown, on the dog-eared paper versions in my dad’s car, and following along as we traveled, anticipating the towns that were coming up. Air travel gives this game a whole new dimension. On a recent trip from Reykjavik to Frankfurt, I could see that the flight would take us near Amsterdam, one of my favorite cities, so when we approached the coast of Holland, I scanned the horizon. Sure enough, I was able to recognize the city from its network of canals that encircle the ancient central district like a spiderweb. For me, watching the scenery unfold from 35,000 feet is a free geography lesson. Call me a nerd, but I love it!