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.

Palace of the Governors

Likely the best surviving example of Puuc-style architecture, at the ancient Maya ruins of Uxmal, Mexico:

Palace of the Governors

Many Maya structures still bear the nicknames given whimsically to them by their re-discoverers in the 19th and 20th centuries. Whether by luck or prescience, the name of this structure fits it surprisingly well — archaeological work here indicates that it was once used by the rulers of Uxmal in its heyday.

Structure II, Calakmul

The largest (by volume) structure at Calakmul, Campeche, Mexico:

Structure II

From this spot, the pyramid actually looks much smaller than it really is. The part you see from the base here is actually a later addition (more accurately, collection of three additions) to the original pyramid, which then rises even further behind this bit in the front. In all, Structure II has a base covering 120 x 120 meters (394 x 394 feet), and stands 45 meters (148 feet) tall.

The Palace, Xlapak

A small palace at a small Puuc route site in the Yucatán:

The Palace, Xlapak

It’s a good thing Xlapak is free to visit (once you’ve made it to the site, naturally) — it’s tiny. And of course, it’s on the same road as all the bigger Puuc sites, so you might as well drop in if you’re in “the neighborhood.” No crowds here ever, guaranteed.

This is the best of three standing / restored structures at Xlapak, a modest but well-decorated little palace.

Gridded reflections

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is a fun place to skulk around in, should you ever be in town. Aside from all the great natural history material on display, the building itself has been added on to more times than I can count — leading to some interesting interior architecture.

Gridded reflections

I made this image in one of the building’s atriums (atria?), that once was a courtyard but since has been closed in and covered with a glass roof. Polished metallic wall tiles lead to interesting reflections and intersecting geometries.