The Queen’s Bath, revisited

Along with all the amazing ruins, the ancient Maya site of Palenque also offers some really nice waterfalls not too far from the site center.  Dubbed the “Queen’s Bath,” it’s actually a series of waterfalls with terraces.  It can be a really amazing thing to see and photograph.

But can it ever change its appearance with the seasons.

Our most recent trip to Palenque was timed to fall just after the end of the wet season, in early December.  Enough water was flowing in the Otolum creek to give the Queen’s Bath some life:

The Queen's Bath

Note that this is a 1/13 second exposure, so you can see that you can get some nice blurring of the water without a tripod (note that you can’t use a tripod in the ruins without a permit requiring paperwork in advance, etc.).  At least, an exposure like this will work if your camera or lens offers image stabilization.

For comparison’s sake, here’s a shot taken from nearly the same spot two years earlier (but at the end of the dry season, in mid-May):

Queen's Bath (dry season)

Wailua Falls

Wailua Falls on the island of Kauai, Hawaii:

Wailua Falls

These waterfalls are easily captured from a roadside stop — but that’s both good and bad.  Good if time’s short, but bad because you’ve got just one perspective you can take on the subject.  There are… informal… trails that lead down toward the level of the pool at the bottom of the falls.  But so many people have died falling from them, that they’ve been closed off for years.  Officially, at any rate.

The Aqua Azul waterfalls

The Aqua Azul waterfalls, uphill from the ancient Maya ruins of Palenque in Chiapas, Mexico:

Agua Azul Waterfalls

When we visited Palenque last year, we split the first day between the ruins and some nearby sights.  The Aqua Azul (blue water) waterfalls are a beautiful set of pools and cascades not too far uphill from the ruins along a twisty, winding road.  Great place to decompress!

BTW, sorry for the sporadic blog postings lately — I’ve been working to finish up the next “A Photographer’s Guide” eBook.  This one’s on the ruins at Palenque, and should hit the (metaphorical, electronic) streets in the next week.  But first, I need to finish up some editorial work on it…