Temple I, known as the Temple of the Great Jaguar, was built between AD 682–734 and was one of the last structures built in the Late Classic Period of the Mayan civilization. The ‘slides’ on each side of the main stairs are an Aztec influence which indicates that the Mayans trade and political associations were widespread.
I’m fascinated how we know so much about the ancient civilizations in Egypt, Assyria, Asia, Greece and Rome…yet here, less than 3 hours flying time to the Guatemalan border with Mexico in the Yucatan (that’s closer than a flight to New York or Seattle!) lies a major center of the Mayan world which dated back to 1800 B.C…and we still know so little about it. I love it! And more is being revealed as we gain new understanding to the culture and the stone carvings.Tikal was ‘discovered’ in 1848, then excavated and restored beginning in 1955. Still, only 30% of Tikal has been unearthed. There’s so much more to learn.
I’ve studied the Mayan, Aztecs and Inca civilizations (Native American tribes and nations too) for many years and been fortunate enough to have explored many of these sites personally. One of the best books on the Mayans is an audio book that I posted a while back (it’s long – 23 hours) is Maya to Aztec, Ancient Mesoamerica Revealed by University of Texas professor Edwin Barnhart. Great book. Very lively lectures all combined into one big volume. Highly recommend it.
If you go to Antigua Guatemala, you’ve got to grab a photo by the Santa Catalina Arch. Built in the 17th Century, it originally connected the Santa Catalina convent to a school, allowing the cloistered nuns to pass from one building to the other without going out on the street.
I’ve never traveled with a hired model. I much prefer to see what I get whenever I get to a place like this. There’s always someone there posing with friends. If I see something interesting, I may ask if I could include them in my shoot, offering any photo tips to make their shot cool too. That’s what happened this morning.
A couple was having trouble with lighting and getting a cool angle to include her beautiful skirt and the arch. I offered a few posing tips and included her boyfriend in the shot, which they both loved. Then I got the shot with my camera too. (Hint: guys, if your lady dresses up for a shot, please dress up a little bit too. You never know when you’ll end up in the shot too. She’ll love you more!)
The same thing happened on the other side of the arch. A happy gal with her striking red dress and hat was having similar problems with the harsh morning sunlight and the shadows on the arch. I gave a few tips and asked if we could get a little more animated…and the leg kick was the winning idea.
Be kind to everyone you meet. It seems to pay off for me at least!
These two had hiked up the trail with their family to a popular park that overlooked the colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala. They told me they were cousins. They were dressed in their traditional dress of the pueblos. I asked if they would allow me to take their portrait. Wonderful family. Very sweet gals.
As you can tell, I am THE luckiest man in the world.