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
LAKE GARDA, ITALY: Lake Garda is in Italy’s famous Lakes Region. Lake Como is the probably the most widely known lake and it’s very popular with visitors from abroad. Italians tend to prefer Lake Orta, while Lake Garda is very popular with Germans and Austrians. Afterall, Lake Garda belonged to Austria until after WWI. The place still has a strong German feel and people there are just as likely to speak German as Italian. At 50km in length and almost 20km wide, it is the largest Italian lake. People have settled on and the near the lake since 2000BC. The Ostrogoths fortified a nearby hill and then a harbour was built. It came under Venetian control and those influences can still be seen. Much of the harbour was filled in and that is where many of today’s lakefront restaurants and hotels sit. The Giardinetto is a hotel and restaurant that sits just metres from the lake. Our meal started with a complimentary appetizer that included whole (heads, tails attached), deepfried sardines. I stuck with the calamari. I then enjoyed my main, a seafood pasta— lobster, so it was not local, but it sure was tasty. While we did not stay at the hotel, here is the Trip Advisor link to Giardinetto, Lake Garda, a very pretty place.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D300 and AFS 16-85 lens at 40mm, f29, 1/80 sec, ISO 1250. Photo by John Ecker, pantheon photography
SUNFLOWER FIELD, TUSCANY, ITALY: This region of Italy is spectacular near the end of the day. The golden light from the setting sun played beautifully on this field of sunflowers. Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, with a Nikkor AFS 70-300mm lens at 187mm, f25, 1/250th sec., ISO 1250.
Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography.
FLOWER FIELD, NORTHERN FRANCE: Poppies dot the landscape of northern France. Their bright red colour and symbolism as the flower of remembrance can make them a compelling feature in photographs. As I composed this shot, I recalled something one of my photography professors shared years ago when I was in college. He believed that any photo that included a person became a photo of a person. His point was that the mere presence of a person in a photo established both its context and focal point. Applying my old prof’s maxim to this shot, the scarecrow is a person in effigy, thereby strongly drawing the viewer’s attention to it. What do you think– does the inclusion of a person in a photo establish a strong focal point? Shot handheld with a Nikon, D300, Nikkor 70 – 300 mm at 127 mm, 1/400 sec, f29, ISO 200.
Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography