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
RUELLE DES CHATS, TROYES, FRANCE: Troyes, in the Champagne region is famous three things. It is here where the Troyes Ounce was established, a standard unit measure for gold. It is also one of the few places in France with a massive outlet mall (okay, that’s a dubious distinction). And finally, Troyes has wonderful timber frame buildings throughout its core. What a wonderful place. These girls were on school outing when the skipped down Ruelle des Chats and I was there to capture this carefree moment. Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, Nikkor AF-S 16-85mm lens at 24mm, f6.3, 1/60 sec. ISO 1600 Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography