CLOISTERS, BRESSANONE (BRIXEN) CATHEDRAL OF THE ASSUMPTION, ITALY: The word ‘cloisters’ is derived from the Latin ‘claustrum’ or enclosure. It’s an open space surrounded by covered walks, usually in the form of a square. It is open space in a monastery or nunnery that still affords much privacy. If you’ve ever heard or used the word ‘cloistered’—meaning a sheltered existence—that’s where it originates. This cloisters is attached to the Cathedral of the Assumption. It was were built around 1200 A.D. in the Romanesque period. There are many beautiful frescoes on the vaulted ceiling, mostly from the 14th to 16th centuries, many of which have been restored. While the town is officially Bressanone, it is also popularly known by its Austrian name, Brixen. More that 70 per cent of the peole there speak German. Shot with Nikon D3100 with 10-24 Nikkor lens at 12mm at 1600 ISO, 1/25 sec, f/6.3, photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography
CANDLES, NOTRE-DAME DE REIMS, FRANCE: Most, though not all Roman Catholic churches, have places where visitors can light candles. It’s believed that the practice began with people lighting candles at the tombs of martyrs in the catacombs. The candles were lit to show solidarity—a silent vigil— with other Catholics. They became known as vigil lights. Lighting a candle is a way to extend prayer. Candles are also symbolic of Christ—“I am the Light of the World”. In major Catholic cathedrals, the lighting of candles is very popular with visitors– pilgrims to the church. These candles were shot in Reims Cathedral. The solitary red candle serves as a focal point in the photograph. Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, Nikkor AF-S 16-85 mm lens at 16m, 1/10 sec. f.3.6 ISO 800. Photo by John Ecker | Pantheon
BASILICA OF ST. JOHN LATERAN: December 27th is the feast day of St. John the Evangelist. This church is dedicated to St. John the Evangelist and John the Baptist. It is one of the four major basilicas in Rome. And, while most may think that St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is the “Pope’s Church”, the Basilica of St. John Lateran is actually the Pope’s ‘home’ cathedral. Built by the Emperor Constantine the Great in the 4th century, San Giovanni in Laterano was the first church to be officially built in Rome. The cathedral was dedicated on November 9, 318. It was embellished with decorations given by Constantine, including seven silver altars with seven gilded candlesticks inlaid with images of the prophets. The building has undergone many changes over the centuries following periods of neglect, invasion (Vandals) and natural disasters. Arches are adorned with reliefs of angels, including those shown in this photo. No two angels look alike. Shot handheld with a Nikon D70s, Nikkor 18-55mm lens at 51 mm, f4.2 1/13 sec.
Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography
MONT ST. MICHEL, FRANCE: This small rocky island on the coast of Normandy is home to a medieval Benedictine Abbey. Legend has it that the archangel Michael appeared before St. Aubert, Bishop of Avranches, in 708. The archangel told the Bishop to build a church on the site. The Bishop ignored the call, until Michael burned a hole in the Bishop’s skull with his finger. Construction began soon after! The site was dedicated to Michael on October 16, 708. Mont St. Michel has primarily served as a Benedictine Abbey, but during the French revolution it was converted to a prison. Victor Hugo was a vocal proponent of Mont St. Michel and helped to have the prison closed in 1863. The following year it was declared an historic monument. Over a century later, in 1979, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This has to be one of the most photographed sites in the world. Finding a unique perspective is hard to do. This photo was captured travelling the hard to find paths and small country roads. Shot handheld with a Nikon D40X, Nikkor AF-S 70 – 300mm lens at 225mm, 1/500 sec., f16, 800 ISO. P
hoto by John Ecker | pantheon photography
PANTHEON, ROME, ITALY: Rome’s Pantheon is my most favourite building in the world. It radiates strength, beauty and history all the time, day or night. The perspective in this photograph is mostly missed by visitors as it is taken just inside the massive doors. With the rush to get in and the push to get out of this popular site, it is easy to miss. It’s a real treat to be there when a downpour falls into the building from the open oculus. In 609, the building was consecrated as a Roman Catholic church and named Sancta Maria ad Martyres. It remains a church today, a fact that is obviously lost on many visitors. Shot handheld with a Nikon D70S, 18-55 mm lens at 33mm., f22, 1/60 sec. Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography