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
OLD AND NEW TALL BUILDINGS, CHICAGO: Chicago is one of my favourite American cities. I particularly like the careful mix of old and newer architecture and the pride Chicagoans have in their built heritage. There is lots of information on-line that is worth checking out to learn more about the architectural beauty of America’s “Second City.” Chicago Architecture Foundation is a great site and has excellent information about architectural tours. Chicago Architecture Info is another great source of information about Chicago buildings. A View on Cities is a website that features very good basic information about architecture in the great cities of the world. The site contains lots of information about Chicago’s buildings, including photos, year of construction, height, etc. Good for identifying buildings.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D3100 with a Nikkor 18-200mm lens at 130mm, f5.6, 1/1250 sec., ISO 800. Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography
CHAGALL WINDOWS, REIMS CATHEDRAL, FRANCE: The Cathedral of Notre Dame at Reims is an excellent Gothic cathedral that is uncomplicated and straightforward in its layout and execution. Like other French cathedrals, Reims was not spared in the First or Second World Wars. It caught fire in 1918 during a bombardment and lead from the roof oozed through the mouths of the gargoyle rain spouts. Five chapels are tightly placed around the ambulatory and are fairly shallow. The ‘axial’ chapel is slightly deeper and it is here where the beautiful Marc Chagall windows dazzle visitors. Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, Nikkor AF-S 16-85 lens at 16mm, 1/6 second, f3.5, ISO 800. Photo by John Ecker
CATHEDRAL OF NOTRE DAME, NOYON, FRANCE: This battle-scarred cathedral is still a wonder to visit. This is where Charlemagne was crowned in 768, as was the first Capetian King, Hugh Capet, in 987. That original cathedral burned in 1131, and then was rebuilt between 1145 and 1235. It is an excellent example of early Gothic architecture in France. The Town of Noyon was occupied by German forces in both the First and Second World Wars. Internal and external walls still reveal the damage from the battles that raged in Noyon. This photo shows scattered shrapnel damage on an exterior wall, a permanent reminder of the wars that have ravaged this beautiful cathedral. Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, Nikkor AF-S 16-85mm lens at 34mm, f11, 1/640 sec. ISO 2000. Photo by John Ecker.
“PAINTED LADIES” VICTORIAN HOMES, SAN FRANCISCO: Across from Alamo Square Park in San Francisco is a spectacular row of Victorian houses on Steiner Street. Some call it “Postcard Row.” For the owners, it must be a mixed blessing. For despite their charm, they attract tourists by the busload through the narrow streets of this tony community. These homes were built between 1892 and 1896 by Matthew Kavanaugh. The homes are reputed to have appeared about 70 movies, TV programs and advertisements.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, Nikkor 16-85 AF-S lens at 57mm, f25, 1/400 sec., ISO 1250. Photo by John Ecker | Pantheon Photography
MUMM’S CHAMPAGNE CELLARS, REIMS, FRANCE: The tour at Mumm’s in Reims is excellent. It’s centrally located, about a 5 minute drive from the Cathedral. Even in mid-summer, the deep chalk tunnels maintain their fairly constant 52F / 11C temperature. Like every well-run tour, it ends in the gift shop! Mumm’s shop has many logo’d items– from pens to Champagne stoppers– all reasonably priced. As for the bubbly on offer, the shop prices are not discounted. So the only advantage of buying there instead of near home is the thrill of getting it at the source. Fun Fact: Mumm’s is pronounced “Mooom’s”, not “Mum’s.” Shooting without flash in the dim tunnels is next to impossible. Shot handheld/braced, Nikon D300, Nikkor AF-S 16-85mm lens at 65mm, f 5.6, 1/8 sec, ISO 4000. 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
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
“Everywhere I look, I see Red” Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missphoto by John Ecker, Pantheon Photographyouri,
BUSCH STADIUM, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI: St. Louis loves its National League team, the St. Louis Cardinals, a perennial contender for the post-season. Cardinals fans wear their team pride on their sleeves. And their hats, and their pants, and pretty well on everything they bring to the park. Even the seats are red. I thought Boston fans had the greatest (?) team colour fanaticism, until I went to Busch Stadium. This day was not so bright for the Cardinals. They lost 10-7 to the L.A. Angels, and Pujols was hitless. Tough home crowd! Shot handheld, with a Nikon D40X, Nikkor AF-S 70-300 lens at 217mm, f24, 1/400 sec, 1600 ISO. Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography