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Santa Barbara – Shipwrecks

Santa Barbara, California - Beached sailboat after el nino winter storm, January 2010

After nearly one week the storms have finally departed as Saturday started off with a perfectly blue sky (probably the nicest day I’ve had since I left California in September).  Santa Barbara’s East beach was littered with numerous beached boats which were torn loose from mooring just off the coast; where the sea is normally calm and placid.  Some of the boats might be salvageable while others seem to be a complete loss, unfortunately.

Santa Barbara, California - Beached sailboat after el nino winter storm, January 2010

Santa Barbara, California - Beached sailboat after el nino winter storm, January 2010

Santa Barbara, California - Beached sailboat after el nino winter storm, January 2010

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

Kungsleden – the Huts

The STF (Svenska Turistföreningen) runs a series of mountain huts (fjällstuga) along the Kungsleden trail. The huts are only open until the 20th of September but they all have an ’emergency hut’ which stay open year round which one is able to stay in.  Leaving Abisko and heading south, the first hut is Abiskojaure.

Kungsleden sweden travel photography: route and distance signs at start of trail in Abisko

Kungsleden sweden travel photography: Abiskojaure hut

Fire warms the kitchen in Abiskojaure hut.

Kungsleden, Sweden, Abiskojaure hut sign

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Rialto Beach – Olympic national park

Travel landscape stock photography: Rialto Beach, Olympic national park, Washington

Travel landscape stock photography: Rialto Beach, Olympic national park, Washington

Rialto Beach, Olympic national park, Washington.

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 Coast

Stormy weather over rugged coastline, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Coastline near Stamsund, Vestvågøy on a rather cold and dreary evening.  Lofoten islands, Norway

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