Dave Rowell’s Barn Dance

It was all big: the barn dance in Dave Rowell’s big yellow barn in East Craftsbury, VT, last night; the crowd (hundreds); Dave himself (at the mike with the Starline Rythmn Boys); the fried chicken sandwiches served up by the Craftsbury General Store; the rebound in the barn’s wooden floor when the band played Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On. The biggest Northeast Kingdom social event of the spring. To benefit the Craftsbury Public Library and the Craftsbury Chamber Players. Only in Vermont does a rockabilly band play to nurture the appreciation of chamber music.

Posted in barn dance, Northeast Kingdom, Spring, Vermont Tagged , , |

NOLA #2: Wedding, Second Line

New Orleans is an old city with a lot of traditions, one of which is the Second Line parade. In this case it was for a wedding. The parade usually goes from the ceremony to the reception, through the nearby streets. The First Line is a brass band and the happy couple, each of whom are swinging parasols. The second line is the rest of the wedding guests, walk-dancing to the music and often waving white handkerchiefs. In this case, first and second lines have arrived at the reception in the tourist-infested French Quarter and these are the final dance steps. If you’ve seen the HBO series Treme, you’ll know that a Second Line also works for funerals.

Posted in New Orleans, Second Line, weddings Tagged , |

New Orleans, #1

Sunday morning, New Orleans. I have no idea why this guy was carrying a briefcase early on a sunny Sunday morning, but he was heading for the riverfront (that’s a shipping crane in the distance on the other side of the river). When he got there he sat on a bench in the sun and watched the Mississippi and the strollers and joggers roll by. NOLA, Nawlins, The Big Easy, call it what you want, but it’s a slice of America you should experience. Great people, music, food and traditions. And excellent light. (Well, the French Quarter and Bourbon Street are overrun by tourists, but you can manage the crowds by choosing your time of day and steering clear.)

Posted in Louisiana, shadows, silhouette Tagged , , |

Daughter, Mother

Ran into these two in Harrisonburg, Virginia, having breakfast at The Little Grill Collective. I’ve heard it said that a window is the same thing as a big softbox (a piece of photography equipment that diffuses light for a softer look). Definitely true in this case. You can see the reflection of the window in the eyes. And there’s something familiar about these two …

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Parking Thicket

Well-dressed parking meter in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. Tim Cowan gets the credit for the headline.

Posted in urban design Tagged , , , |

Gulf of California and Baja California Sur

Cold, rainy, and snowy in Vermont, but not at Isla Espirtu Santo in the Gulf of California, near La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Water temperature 68-plus; daytime air temperature 75-plus; fish tacos for supper. The land is essentially a desert, but the gulf is one of the most diverse aquatic habitats on earth and we had knowledgable guides to explain the geology and marine biology we saw. Better place to be in April! Click here for a gallery.

Posted in Baja California, Gulf of California, kayaking, Mexico, sea kayaking Tagged , , , |

Agriculture on the Move

It was the end of Agriculture, at least temporarily. Ceres, the god of Agriculture, came down from the dome of the Vermont State House in Montpelier yesterday. Carved from pine by State House Sergeant-at-Arms Dwight Dwinnell and associates in the 1930s to replace the 1859 version made by sculptor Larkin Mead, she was rotting away. A new one will be made, based on Mead’s original. This one will head to the Vermont Historical Society museum.

Posted in architecture, Montpelier, Vermont, Vermont State House Tagged , |

Super Tour Finals at Craftsbury

The 2018 Super Tour finals brought nordic skiers from across the country to the Craftsbury, VT, Outdoor Center for five days of racing last week. Panning (moving the camera with the action while it is set at a slow shutter speed) is often a matter of luck, and I lucked out on the above photo of the lead pack in the men’s 50-k freestyle race starting down a gradual hill. Below, the 50-K start, a skier at the finish, and young racers in the club relay held after the Super Tour relay. Bottom, America’s Olympic cross country ski medalists: left and right, Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins (gold, PyeongChang, 2018); center, Bill Koch (silver, Seefeld, 1976). Click here for a gallery of all the events. Use the right arrow to speed up viewing.

Posted in 2018 Super Tour finals, cross country ski racing, Snow, Winter Tagged , , , |

Ski Orienteering World Cup

If cross country ski racing is a niche sport, then ski orienteering is a niche within a niche. It involves racing on cross-country skis and finding your way to a series of checkpoints scattered around the woods on trails you have never seen before, using a map you only receive 15 seconds before the race starts. It means getting around the route as fast as you can and still hitting the checkpoints in the right order. You can ski, run or walk and take any route you want. In the week-long International Orienteering Federation races at Craftsbury, VT, Outdoor Center last week, competitors from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Estonia, Bulgaria, the US and Canada, among other nations, flew down wide XC trails and narrow, bumpy snowshoe paths.  Often they just made their own trails, taking off through the trees. It is impressive to watch a skier speeding downhill while reading a map.  Above, the eventual middle distance winner, Sweden’s Tove Alexandersson. Below, a checkpoint crash, a Swiss racer reading while driving, and a near crash when two racers arrived at a checkpoint at the same time. It was also the world masters championships, so there were older competitors (bottom).  You can see a full gallery by clicking here. Click on a photo and use the arrows to see the images faster than the slide show runs. 

Info on USA and International orienteering is here and here.

And click here for a great video by Donatas Lazauskas.

Posted in Craftsbury Outdoor Center, cross country ski racing, International Orienteering Federation, ski o, ski orienteereing Tagged , |

It’s Still Winter in Quebec


No matter what it’s doing where you are, it’s still winter at Mont Sainte Anne in Quebec, just down the Fleuve St. Laurent from Quebec City. Four feet of snow on the ground in the last week of February. Velo d’hiver riders (below) and skiers taking advantage of the situation while they can. Hydro Quebec electric lines humming loudly in the falling snow. For more, click here for a gallery.

Posted in cross-country skiing, Quebec, Snow, Winter