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Å I Lofoten – Lofoten Islands winter

A I Lofoten in winter, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Winter view from Å (I Lofoten) towards the southern end of the islands.  The peaks of Værøy can be seen in the far distance.  This was the 6th of January, the first day the sun rose above the horizon since the middle of December.

Hay on Fire Festival

Tonight (Halloween 2009) was the Hay on Fire festival here in Hay-on-Wye, Wales.  The night first started with a parade through town that slowly made its way out to the ‘Warren’ on the edge of the river Wye where the fire festival was held.  The crowd numbered in the thousands to watch the fire dancing, hear the music and see the final culmination in the burning of a wicker man giant with of fireworks.  By far the coolest celebration I’ve yet to see on Halloween.  My pictures don’t do much justice to the coolness of the night…
2009 hay on fire festival, Hay-on-Wye, Wales, photography

2009 hay on fire festival, Hay-on-Wye, Wales, photography

2009 hay on fire festival, Hay-on-Wye, Wales, photography

2009 hay on fire festival, Hay-on-Wye, Wales, photography

2009 hay on fire festival, Hay-on-Wye, Wales, photography

2009 hay on fire festival, Hay-on-Wye, Wales, photography

La Fiesta Pequeña – Santa Barbara Fiesta 2009

La Fiesta Pequeña ( the little Fiesta) On Wednesday night marks the beginning of Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days, otherwise known simply as ‘Fiesta.’  Fiesta occurs every August here in Santa Barbara and is the biggest festival of the year.  Traditional music and dancing combined with open air markets and parades attract thousands of people from the world over.  I’ll be out and about taking photos during the next days…

Images from tonight of dancers on the steps of the Santa Barbara mission at La Fiesta Pequeña:

Dancers, La Fiesta Pequena, 2009, Santa Barbara, California

Dancers, La Fiesta Pequena, 2009, Santa Barbara, California

Dancers, La Fiesta Pequena, 2009, Santa Barbara, California

Dancers, La Fiesta Pequena, 2009, Santa Barbara, California

Dancers, La Fiesta Pequena, 2009, Santa Barbara, California

Dancers, La Fiesta Pequena, 2009, Santa Barbara, California

Dancers, La Fiesta Pequena, 2009, Santa Barbara, California

Lofoten Islands – Stockfish

Cod stockfish hang to dry in winter, lofoten islands, Norway

I think I’ve said it before, that the economy of the Lofoten islands runs off basically two things: German tourists in the summer and cod stockfish in the winter.  During the winter months, Atlantic Cod migrate into the waters of the Vestfjord for spawning, where they have been met by Norwegian fishermen since the days of the Vikings.  One would think that north of the arctic circle would not be the most hospitable place to be during this time of year, but the gulf stream keeps the Lofoten islands relatively mild temperature wise.   Though an arctic gale is nothing to laugh at, having heard stories of winds so fierce that they have literally moved houses.

Fishing boat in Kjerkefjord near Reine, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Empty stockfish drying rack in winter, lofoten islands, Norway

Cod stockfish hang to dry in winter, lofoten islands, Norway

Cod stockfish hang to dry in winter, lofoten islands, Norway

Cod stockfish heads, lofoten islands, Norway

CLose

We were allowed back onto my brother’s street this morning (Sunday).  The fire burned to my brother’s fence in the back yard, which backs up to a mostly wild and grassy hillside that rises above.  It looks like it was more of a small ‘spot fire’ caused by flying embers, while the ‘main’ front of the fire was stopped about 50-100 feet above at a small road.  Definitely too close for comfort.

damage from Jesusita fire, Santa Barbara, California

damage from Jesusita fire, Santa Barbara, California

damage from Jesusita fire, Santa Barbara, California

damage from Jesusita fire, Santa Barbara, California

damage from Jesusita fire, Santa Barbara, California

Jesusita fire: Thursday Night

If Wednesday night was bad, tonight is a thousand times worse.  As I type this just after midnight ash is raining all across the city as if a volcano had exploded.  The foothills above town are completely ablaze with flames going nearly all the way to the mountain ridge at the top.  The temperature is still 80˚ (26 c) and winds gusts up to 40mph.  Huge sections of the city are now under evacuation and the fire is moving so fast.  I crossed highway 154 just prior to its closing, and an hour later, the fire had already crossed it to the west and towards Goleta.  Homes are burning.  Simply awful out there; devastating.

Jesusita fire burns in foothills above Santa Barbara, California. Thursday night, May 7, 2009

Jesusita fire burns in foothills above Santa Barbara, California. Thursday night, May 7, 2009

Jesusita fire burns in foothills above Santa Barbara, California. Thursday night, May 7, 2009

Jesusita fire burns in foothills above Santa Barbara, California. Thursday night, May 7, 2009

Jesusita Fire pics: Wednesday afternoon

Here’s a few more pics of the Jesusita fire from Wednesday afternoon while still at my brother’s house.  We had been evacauated on Tuesday afternoon, but managed to get back in on Wednesday to try and keep an eye on things.  By late afternoon, the fire was getting perilously close and most of the neighborhood had cleared out.   From or estimates looking at aerial photos and from driving around today, we estimate the fire got within about 200 meters.  The only traffic was from fire crews driving down Foothill road and police driving through the neighborhoods telling people to leave immediately.  The Mandatory evacuation zone had been moved down to State street, so we were well behind the lines.  The Temperature was somewhere near 100 degrees (37 C), as the “sundowner winds” were constantly changing directions, but mostly keeping the smoke just to the east of our location.  At times the sky was as black as night.

First few photos are with a 14mm lens.  It was that close…

First pic: Looking east.

jesusita fire santa barbara, California: Thick clouds of smoke and ash fill sky over neighborhood

Corner of Foothill and Calle Laureles, looking towards Mission Canyon

jesusita fire santa barbara, California: Dark smoke fill sky over Mission canyon as seen from Foothill

jesusita fire santa barbara, California: Fire engine drives down Foothill road towards Mission Canyon

Fire crews driving east along Foothill towards Mission Canyon

jesusita fire santa barbara, California: Fire crews drive down Foothill road towards Alamar in late afternoon on wednesday, May 6, 2009

jesusita fire santa barbara, California: helicopter flies against sky black with smoke

Europa Park

Finally made a visit to Europa Park the other week.  Sort of like Disneyland, but the park is themed after the countries of Europe; So there is a “France” region, a “Scandinavia,” an “Italy” and so forth.  Got lucky with some nice spring weather; first time I’ve put on sunblock in a long time.  Only took a few pictures as I spent most of my time standing in lines for ride.  Good times.

Europa park, Rust, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Europa park, Rust, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Europa park, Rust, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Europa park, Rust, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Allgäu Morning

A few sunrise photos from down in the Allgäu last autumn.  I wish I had done a time lapse of the fog as it cleared, was totally cool looking.

Germany panoramic stock photo: Sunrise over AllgaeŠu alps with valley fog, near Fuessen, Bavaria, Germany

Germany panoramic stock photo: hills rise above morning fog, Allgaeu region, Bavaria, Germany

Autumn morning fog clears from village of Speiden and rural landscape of Allgaeu region, near Eisenberg, Bavaria, Germany

Autumn morning fog clears from rural landscape of Allgaeu region near Eisenberg, Bavaria, Germany

Autumn morning fog clears from rural landscape of Allgaeu region near Eisenberg, Bavaria, Germany

Wallfahrtskirche Maria Hilf  in the small village of Speiden with Early morning autumn mist and mountain peak SŠuling in distance, AllgaeŠu region, Bavaria, Germany

Carnival

Over the weekend we made long journey over snow covered autobahns and horrible traffic up to a little corner of Nordrhein-Westfalen near the Dutch border. The reason: Carnival. Saturday night was spend among the costumed crowds in Cologne (home to the tallest cathedral in Germany). I’ve never been to Mardi Gras, but imagine it would be something similar, except the for the German Carnival songs that everyone is singing and dancing to the entire night.

On Sunday we went to a cool little parade in the town of Ratheim, near where we were staying.
2009 German Carnival parade photo, Ratheim, Germany.  Cody Duncan Photography

2009 German Carnival parade photo, Ratheim, Germany.  Cody Duncan Photography
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