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.

Pyramid of the Magician

The first thing you see once you’re in the gate at the Maya ruins of Uxmal, Mexico:

Pyramid of the Magician, Uxmal

It’s an impressive structure — although a bit odd for photography. You get a better overall vista from the east side, but the architectural details are better on the west side.

Some years back, you could climb the stairs and either go all the way to the top, or pass through the tunnel partway up (giving you access to older temples now buried in the body of the pyramid). But sadly you can’t climb this structure any more — at least you can get good shots of most of it from the ground. This is actually stitched from two wide-angle shots, with colors tuned up a bit in Topaz Adjust.

The Great Pyramid, Uxmal

Definitely one of the steeper pyramids we saw on our 2011 trip, in the Terminal Classic Puuc site of Uxmal:

The Great Pyramid, Uxmal

As you might be able to tell, kids had no problems with these steps — the bigger ones were racing each other to the top! Regular adults have to do the usual angle-walk up the steps.

You might also notice that this is the only one of the pyramid’s four faces that has been restored. Aside from saving money up front (restoration isn’t cheap), this saves money over the long run too — since once you restore something, you have to maintain it. Restoration also (in a way) destroys — since you can never be 100% sure you’re restoring something exactly the way it once was. So 3/4 of this structure is being saved for future generations of researchers to study and (maybe) restore at a later date.

Palacio Norte

In the Maya ruins of Sayil, Mexico (along the “Puuc Route“):

Palacio Norte

If you’re looking for Puuc-style architecture, most of its sub-styles can be seen somewhere in this structure — its three levels were built in a mix of Puuc styles over hundreds of years. In the interest of preservation, you can’t go up the front steps any more, but with a decent long lens, you can get good views / shots of all sorts of architectural details even from down on the ground.

You’ll need either a wide lens, or some stitching software to get the whole thing in one image, though. I shot this with a 7 mm lens on my Olympus E-5 — so, equivalent FOV to a 14 mm full-frame setup.

The Labná Arch

Labná is a neat little Maya ruin that doesn’t get nearly as much visitor traffic as it deserves. On the east end of the “Puuc Route” in the Yucatan, Labná isn’t particularly close to any major modern cities — but it and its neighboring sites are an easy day trip from Mérida.

Should you ever make it to Labná, its arch is its claim to (touristic) fame:

The Labná Arch from the west

The unusual (and somewhat funny) thing about this arch is where it’s found. Most arches at Maya sites served as ceremonial entrances to the cities — a way to both announce your arrival at the city, and demarcate the boundaries of the city core.

But this arch is different — it separates the royal from the mercantile parts of Labná. This side of the arch (the fancier of the two) is what you’d see as you were walking into the royal part of town (those two ground-level doors may have been where guards were stationed). The other face of the arch, far plainer, announced your arrival into the home of the merely affluent.

I guess some things never change…

Gone to the Palace

I’ve been working through my Yucatan travel shots, and thought that while I was at it, should take advantage of the 15-day free trial period for “Silver Efex Pro 2.” Here’s a black and white treatment of the Palace at Kabah, on the “Puuc Route:”

Gone to the Palace

I hadn’t thought of it at the time, but old ruins like this tend to look really good in black and white. Use the right colored filter settings, and you can bring out some drama in an otherwise bland sky, too!