House of the Cenote, revisited

A straight-on frontal shot of the House of the Cenote, in the ancient Maya ruins of Tulum in Quintana Roo, Mexico:

House of the Cenote

No, it’s not the most artistic angle on this structure, but it does give you a good feeling for its size and design.  This photo was shot from roughly the southeast (from the point of view of the sea, basically) and shows the face of the original part of the structure.

Some years later, a small shrine was added to the back of this building, directly over a small cenote that gives the whole construction its modern nickname.

Drama over Seven Dolls

With a bit of help from some HDR software (NIK HDR Efex Pro), here’s a scene of building storm clouds behind the Temple of the Seven Dolls at the ancient Maya ruins of Dzibilchaltún:

Drama over Seven Dolls

As I mentioned in a previous post, you can’t climb the steps of this structure any more.  Still, there’s plenty of cleared and accessible space available around it — so it’s not too tough to make a good photo of it.  Here, one of the structures called “Adjoining Rooms” blocks your view of the fencing around the Temple’s base.

I made this photo from just west of Structure 12 (which is also now fenced off).  On spring and autumn equinoxes, the Sun rises in the temple’s door, directly in line with the stela that frames the left side of this image.  As you might imagine, that means those dates are quite crowded ones at this (normally sparsely visited) site.

Frosty mirror

A few nights ago, we took advantage of a warmer night to check out the “Blossoms of Light” display at the Denver Botanic Gardens.  They put on a nice show, as always, and it hasn’t been as warm since — so, fortunate timing.

Frosty mirror

I took this shot toward the north end of the gardens; with the lens closed down to f/22, a nice long exposure erased the slow parade of other viewers along the path…

Plein air

On our recent trip to Chicago, we did our usual tour of the local botanic gardens (one of the benefits of being married to a garden-loving woman).  While wandering through the Chicago Botanic Garden, I spotted an in-progress plein air watercolor:

Plein air

Sadly, the artist was nowhere to be found, so I couldn’t chat with them.  Just the same, I liked this composition…

Coming to a point

Interesting things, flowering cacti — they give a photographer such a list of contrasts to work with.  Bright vs. muted colors.

Coming to a point

Spiky vs. soft shapes.

Nipple cactus, redux

Angular vs. rounded shapes.

Nipple cactus close-up

These are all shots of a “Nipple cactus” (Coryphantha sulcata, a.k.a. Pineapple cactus), seen at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. At least, that’s how it was labeled — but all the online information on this species shows it to be both smaller and bearing yellow flowers.  Not sure what’s going on there…

A flower grows in Rock City

Kansas — definitely not the first place that comes to mind when it comes to photogenic geology. But it does have some gems tucked away here and there.

Rock City is a small park about a half-hour’s drive north of Salina, run by a non-profit corporation, and home to hundreds of spherical limestone boulders:

A flower grows in Rock City

Admission costs a mere $3 (cash only), and it’s also got some beautiful local plants and birds — so a great quick side-trip if you’re ever heading through Kansas on I-70.

Waiting for a break in the weather

Life’s been a bit busy for us lately, but we managed to run off into the mountains for a little R&R over the July 4th extended weekend.  One of our stops was the neat little ghost town of Ashcroft, near Aspen.  On our way through the sights, my daughter alerted me to this little hummingbird perched on an old bit of wood.

Waiting for a break in the weather

Fortunately for me, this little guy was very patient on his perch — alert and watchful, but never startling or making any apparent move to fly off.

Continue reading

A different sort of last supper

The Denver Chalk Art Festival is always a colorful (if crowded) experience for photographers.  This year, it happened to coincide with the Denver Comic Con — so it was fitting that the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design (RMCAD) contributed this work based on cartoon / sci-fi characters:

A different sort of last supper

One of the hallmarks of RMCAD art works is their use of reflectors to turn a curved artwork into something that is visually straight when seen from just the right angle.  If you look carefully, you can see the bottom edge of their reflector in the top third of the above image.

Continue reading

Last (?) shot of winter

We got hit by an odd late-winter storm the other day, and here’s what we woke up to:

Last (?) shot of winter

This was the result of a storm that was supposed to dump a foot or more of snow on us, but wound up leaving us maybe an inch. And since the storm hit town quickly (temperature dropped by 40 degrees F in a matter of a few hours), it landed on warm pavement.

Shot of winter -- big

So for at least a few hours the next morning, I could play with my camera (in super cold temps) with this unusual snow pattern — only surviving over the joints between our patio pavers.