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Sir Winston Churchill Statue, photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography

Churchill and Big Ben, lower res version Photo by John Ecker

SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL STATUE, LONDON, ENGLAND:  The beautiful bronze statue of one of Britain’s greatest statesmen stands in Parliament Square in a place chosen by the great man himself. Churchill was born (two months premature) on November 30, 1874  in Blenheim Palace.  So, he’s probably one of history’s greatest ‘preemies’ too!  Churchill died at the age of 90 on January 24, 1965 (70 years to day after his father’s death).  His funeral was the largest state funeral in history at the time.

The statue is the work of Ivor Roberts-Jones. In designing the mould for the giant bronze, he made some changes in response to feedback that the head resembled the much reviled Fascist Benito Mussolini.  Over the years the statue has been copied with replicas or variations erected in other countries, including the Czech Republic and Australia. Fun fact: the London statue is electrified to keep pigeons from pooping on the great man.

Shot handheld with a Nikon D40X, 18-200 DX zoom lens at 40mm, ISO 1600, 1/30 sec., f7.1. Copyright photo by John Ecker   |    pantheon photography

 

 

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The Eastern Road, Nassau, Gazebo, photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography

The Eastern Road, Nassau, Gazebo 1,  photo by John Ecker pantheon photographyTHE EASTERN ROAD, NASSAU, GAZEBO:  This enhanced image was shot along the most picturesque section of public beach along the Eastern Road. The gazebo is quite derelect now but still makes for an evocative image.

Shot with a Nikon D3100, 10-24 DX  lens at 13mm, ISO 800, 1/200 sec., f25. Copyright photo by John Ecker   |    pantheon photography

Muir Woods, California, photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography

Muir Woods, California 1 lr, copyright  photo by John Ecker, pantheon photography
MUIR WOODS, CALIFORNIA:  This National Monument park is a great place to see giant redwood trees.  The park is named after John Muir, a Scot whose family moved to Wisconsin in 1848. He became one of America’s best known environmentalists and fought hard to protect many important natural heritage areas including Yosemite, Sequoia and even the Grand Canyon. The park is a short drive from San Francisco and probably the closest location to see giant redwoods. This photo was taken from a footbridge. To get the perspective I wanted, I mounted my camera on a monopod, set the 10 second timer and hung the unit as far below the bridge as I could reach.  Got a lot of stares from other visitors too!

Shot with a Nikon D3100, 10-24 DX  lens at 10mm, ISO 800, 1/30 sec., f8. Copyright photo by John Ecker   |    pantheon photography

Tuscan Farm Building, Italy, photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography

Tuscany 10 lr copyright photo by John Ecker pantheon photography

TUSCAN FARM BUILDING, ITALY:  I love shooting photos in Tuscany. This photo was taken in early July, late in the sunflower growing season.  The Tuscan region is where the Italian Renaissance was born– home to Michelangelo, da Vinci, Botticelli and Puccini.  And, of course, it’s also the home of Chianti wine.

Shot with a Nikon D300, 70-300 DX zoom lens at 155mm, ISO 1250, 1/250 sec., f32. Copyright photo by John Ecker   |    pantheon photography

Pinocchio Pattern, Rome, photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography

Rome Pinocchio patterns LR, photo by John Ecker pantheon photography

PINOCCHIO PATTERN, ROME: The ‘lovable’ Pinocchio can be found in shops across Italy, particularly in Rome and Florence.  Many of us no doubt have fond childhood memories of the Disney movie about the puppet who came to life in Geppetto’s workshop.  But did you know that in the original 1883 book by Carlo Collodi, Pinocchio was a lot less charming? In a nutshell, when Pinocchio comes to life he runs away as soon as he has legs. He gets picked up by the cops and Pinocchio tells them Geppetto has abused him. The old guy gets tossed into jail.  Back at home Pinocchio then kills Jiminy Cricket with a hammer.  He sells his school books and runs away and gets mugged by a fox and a cat who also try to hang him.  Pinnocchio finally shapes up but not before he checks out an island where badass boys get turned into donkeys.   There’s a moral in there somewhere.

Pinnocchio puppets, dolls and related paraphernalia can be found in many Italian shops.  The collection in this photo sat on a shelf in a shop near the Pantheon in Rome.  I liked the bright red pattern of the tiny wooden dolls.  But remember kids, the ‘real’ Pinnocchio was evil.  Evil! 

Shot handheld and braced with a Nikon D300, 18-200 DX zoom lens at 135mm, ISO 3200, 1/640 sec., f7.1. Copyright photo by John Ecker   |    pantheon photography

Ceiling over Nave, Amiens Cathedral, France, photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography

Amiens Cathedral Ceiling 1 lr

CEILING OVER NAVE, AMIENS CATHEDRAL, FRANCE:  Amiens’ Cathedral of Notre Dame sits atop a gently rising hill above the peaceful River Somme in northern France.  While the actual date of completion is somewhat disputed, most historians agree the church was completed around 1270.  It took approximately 50 years to build— in an era of no motors, cranes nor any electrical or gas powered tools.  It was built with brains, brawn and stone using clever hoists, ramps, levers and fulcrums. Amazing, really. Although Amiens is not the tallest Gothic cathedral in France (that’s Beauvais, although it remains incomplete), it is the largest. The nave ceiling rises 139 feet above the floor, roughly the same height as a modern fourteen storey building.

In the First World War, the town of Amiens sustained heavy damage during the “Kaiser’s Battle,” the last major offensive of the German Army.  The battle raged within miles of the cathedral. It sustained some heavy bombardment and several chapels were damaged. The main structure remained sound.  I like this photo for its geometric patterns and the various gradients of pink and yellow colour cast by the sunlight beaming in through the upper windows.

Shot handheld and braced with a Nikon D300, 16-85 DX zoom lens at 16mm, ISO 3200, 1/80 sec., f11. Copyright photo by John Ecker   |    pantheon photography

Long House, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography

Longhouse 1, St. Marie Among the Hurons, LR, John Ecker, pantheon photography

LONG HOUSE, SAINTE-MARIE AMONG THE HURONS: This attraction near Midland, Ontario, attempts to interpret and share the history of First Nations peoples and their early contact with Europeans– specifically the French Jesuits.

Virtually nothing of the original settlement here remains. Aside from artifacts on display and pieces of two hearths, everything one sees is a recent recreation or re-imagining of what the site was like in the mid 1600s.

There is a small guide given to visitors, who are then encouraged to speak with staff. They are everywhere! Unfortunately, they know very little beyond the obvious. On my visit, after a while I gave up as they were so poorly informed. Given the origin of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, I was most shocked with the lack of knowledge about Catholic faith and practices.

Shot handheld and braced with a Nikon D300, 16-85 DX zoom lens at 48mm, ISO 1000, 1/4 sec., f4.5. Copyright photo by John Ecker   |    pantheon photography

Niagara Falls Spring Tulips, photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography

SM Niagara Falls Tulip Pattern 1 photo by John Ecker pantheon photography

NIAGARA FALLS SPRING TULIPS:  They are not out yet, but by late April, the tulips will be in full bloom throughout the Niagara Falls parks system. It’s a favourite place to visit early in the spring when millions of tulips adorn the well-kept gardens, the daffodils carpet Queen Victoria Park and the magnolias bloom along the path near the Floral Showhouse.  If you plan your visit for when the magnolias are in full flower (usually late April/early May, depending on the year), you’ll also see plenty of tulips and daffodils too.

These tulips were at the Floral Showhouse, just ¼ mile south of the Horseshoe Falls at 7541Niagara River Parkway. The outside gardens are free to visit. There’s a paid parking lot right there. You can even stay up to speed with the pace of your favourite flows signing up for the Niagara Parks Bloom Watch.

Shot handheld with a Nikon D3100, 18-200 DX VR lens at 200mm, f/32, 1/100 sec., ISO 800.   Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography

Southern Italy Hill Town, photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography

SM Southern Italy 1 photo by John Ecker pantheon photography

SOUTHERN ITALY HILL TOWN: Travelling through Italy, it’s hard not to fall in love with the beautiful hill towns– especially in Tuscany, Umbria and further south, en route to Messina.  While they may look picture postcard– and many certainly are– they were built for far more pragmatic purposes.  Hill towns provided a defensive position against attack. They also provided defense against raging rivers in the valleys below. In the Middle Ages Italian hill towns were protected by natural cliffs along with earthen walls, rough stone and wood.  Later, masonry and cut stone were predominantly used.  Watch towers, churches, and impressive residences were major architectural features.  Because of their location and sometimes great distance to the next town, it was not unusual for people to spend their whole lives in such towns.  While many hill towns in Italy have been lost, the landscape is still dotted with pretty little towns like this one in southern Italy.

Shot with Nikon D300 with 18-200 Nikkor lens at 28mm at 1250 ISO, 1000 sec, f/14, photo by John Ecker  |  pantheon photography

Bodie, a Genuine California Ghost Town, photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography

California Bodie Ghost Town 25, photo by John Ecker, pantheon photography

BODIE, CALIFORNIA, A GENUINE CALIFORNIA GHOST TOWN:  A trip to this high Sierra Mountains town is a trip back in time to the California Gold Rush era. There were over 2,000 buildings in Bodie’s heyday and up to 10,000 residents. But boom became bust with mere hundreds living there in the early part of the 20th century. Bodie became a National Historic Landmark in the 1960s and has been a photographer’s dream ever since. Read my story and see more pictures here, about Bodie, a genuine California Ghost Town.  Shot handheld with a Nikon D3100, 10-24 DX VR lens at 15mm, f/22, 1/200 sec., ISO 800.   Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography

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