In Palenque‘s Cross Group ruins, the Temple of the Sun is definitely the “cover girl” of the group’s three structures. This is a bit ironic since it’s the shortest of the three temples, as it was dedicated to the most minor of Palenque’s triad of patron deities. But for one reason or another, it has weathered the intervening years more gracefully than have its siblings. So, its relatively good condition makes it the most photogenic member of the group.
This image was made from the steps of the tallest group member, the Temple of the Cross.
A compact string of five ruins, the North group sits at the north side of the cleared part of Palenque. You can walk around all of the group’s structures, but you can’t really get a good frontal shot of the five together due to a few pesky trees. I took this photo from the front steps of the Temple of the Count, probably the best vantage point if you want to photograph them together.
It took me considerably longer than I’d hoped — but A Photographer’s Guide to Palenque is now out and available for purchase! Â It’s a brute of a guide book at 65 pages in length (if you printed it on regular 8.5″ x 11″ / A4 paper), has a dozen maps and one or two images for every structure open to visitors — a steal at $4.99.
And of course, don’t forget that a purchase also gains you access to a host of online material — an editable shot list, wallpaper for your computer or tablet, bigger maps than I can pack into an eBook, etc.
A.K.A. the Temple of the Skull, from the stucco carving of a rabbit’s skull at the base of one of the temple’s pillars.
In the 1990s, archaeologists found a passageway leading from the temple to a burial chamber for a person of some importance (likely local royalty) and his attendants. This is one of the first structures you see when you enter the ruins of Palenque.
A bit of ancient royal propaganda on the north face of the Palace at the ruins of Palenque in Chiapas, Mexico:
This stucco is a bit tricky to get a good image of — you can’t get near it (for its own sake), and other parts of the structure it’s on block your view from ground level. So you need to work from a distance with a long lens.
I used Topaz Adjust to bring out the colors and structure a bit in this shot.