TRANSYLVANIA, ROMANIA, HAYSTACKS: A drive through the rolling countryside of Transylvania is a great way to spend part of a day. Meadows, creeks and distant mountains paint a pretty picture. But the picture would not be complete without the famous Romanian haystacks. Some say they are like this nowhere else in the world. In a country where 60 per cent of the milk is consumed right on farms with 2 or 3 three cows, it’s no wonder that the haystacks—the feed for the animals— are everywhere. At harvest time you’ll see people young and old walking the roads with pitchforks and scythes over their shoulders. Hay-making is a family or community exercise that’s been going on for centuries. The process starts with a central pole with, typically, three angled poles forming a tripod. After the hay has been cut in the field and dried out substantially, it is tossed on to the frame. The whole pile is groomed to a gentle slope so that the water runs off it. That’s the simplified explanation. Search the ‘net and you can practically find dissertations on the art of haystacks! Fun fact/myth: A ‘love fork’ is the name for scars on young men who’ve been stabbed by angry farmers whose daughters have cavorted inside the haystacks.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D3100, 18-200 DX zoom lens at F32mm, ISO 3200, 1/320 sec., f25. Copyright photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography
SICILY COUNTRYSIDE: Sicily is one of my most favourite parts of Italy. The people are very friendly. Its ruggedly beautiful landscapes are breathtaking. This photo was taken not long before a much-needed summer downpour of rain.
There are few places in the world that have been influenced and shaped by so many different cultures. The rich history of Sicily has been formed by Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Austrians, French, Germans, Spanish, Italians and the British.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D3100, 100-300 DX zoom lens at 240mm, ISO 400, 1/400 sec., f8. Copyright photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography
TUSCANY ITALY: Tuscany and Tuscan inspired decor and colours became especially popular after the release of Frances Mayes’ book Under the Tuscan Sun in 1997 and released as a major motion picture in 2003. It seems every home paint manufacturer soon came out Tuscan inspired colours– typically in the red/ocher, orange, yellow/gold, green and– to a lesser extent, blue hues. I find the ocher colour of this farm building to be pretty typical of the Tuscan countryside. The Tuscan region is also where the Italian Renaissance was born– home to Michelangelo, da Vinci, Botticellie and Puccini. And, of course, it’s the also home of Chianti!
Shot handheld with a Nikon D3100, AF-S 10-24mm lens at 11mm, f14, 1/2000 sec. ISO 1600
Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography