Temple of the Cormorants

An angled shot of Building 2 (Temple of the Cormorants) at the ancient Maya ruins of Dzibanché in Quintana Roo, México:

Building 2 and steps

Dzibanché is an amazing little site to visit — it doesn’t get the press of the bigger sites (so there are never crowds), but it still has lots of interesting structures to see.

The Temple of the Cormorants is the site’s tallest structure, but sadly you can’t climb it.  Still, plenty to see from ground level.  This structure contains three burial chambers, one stacked atop the next in its core.  In the bottom one, archaeologists found the tomb of a member of the city’s elite, with a wealth of grave goods — including a polychrome vessel decorated with cormorants (giving the structure its modern name).

This shot’s taken from the northwest of the building — even from here you can see some of the structure’s many layers of construction, and you can just make out the stucco carvings under the sheltering roofs along the steps on its side.

Palacio Sur

On the south end of the Maya ruins of Sayil, Mexico (along the “Puuc Route“):

Palacio Sur

Did I mention this is down on the south end of Sayil? It’s a good kilometer south of the bulk of the ruins, but a pretty easy walk (carry water, naturally). This was originally a 2-storey structure, but the top floor has completely collapsed. The Puuc Classic Mosaic false columns (they’re limestone veneer) on its façade are pretty impressive, though.

El Mirador

At Sayil (one of the larger sites along the Maya “Puuc Route“), the Palace is the marquis attraction, but about 350 meters (1300 feet) southeast of it along a marked path is this interesting structure:

El Mirador

It was dubbed El Mirador (“The Lookout”), but was once a 5-room temple on a low pyramid. This shot is from the north (rear) and shows the 2 surviving rooms, and the surviving half of the once much-wider roof comb.

Crown of thorns

It’s ‘Roid Week on Flickr, so I thought it would be a good time to post this shot I made in Wichita a few weeks back:

Crown of thorns

This is part of what used to be a roller coaster at an abandoned amusement park called Joyland. The place was closed, then sold, then re-opened, then closed again, and finally abandoned. Now it’s slowly decaying while the rides and other structures gradually (occasionally…) get dismantled and torn down. Apparently it’s quite the magnet for urban explorers in town, but I didn’t really want to deal with the legal issues involved with hopping the park’s fence, so did my photography from outside the barriers.

I made this shot with a Polaroid OneStep Express camera and Impossible Project PX 600 Silver Shade film — a combination I’m really warming up to. It seems to be particularly good for street and decay shots (although, at $3 per exposure, a bit pricey for everyday use). Given how far this place has fallen from its heyday, the black border on this film seemed appropriate, a way of both commemorating and mourning this decay.

Bent symmetry

I spotted this scene late at night in New Orleans:

Bent symmetry

I’ve taken to paying attention to what ceiling light fixtures look like from below — it’s not how they’re intended to be viewed, and you’ll often see an interesting geometry as a result. This one just made me laugh — it started as a nice symmetric six-sided thing, but has lost any pretense of regularity (as seems to be typical of New Orleans). Meanwhile, over on the left, where two bulb holders are a bit spread apart from where they originally were, an alarm bell sits between them and balances the composition.

So, crooked but still balanced. The sepia tone, by the way, was naturally there — about all I did to this shot was correct a little pincushion from the close perspective.