Magician\’s Pyramid – another view

Magician\’s Pyramid – another view, by Suprada on Flickr.
Magician\’s Pyramid – another view, Uxmal, Mexico

Another view of the Magician\’s pyramid in Uxmal. Excerpt from website: \”Sometimes called the “Temple of the Dwarf,” or “La Casa del Enano” (House of the Dwarf,) this structure is one of the key structures in Uxmal due to its size and religious significance. This is the most impressive structure and the tallest standing at 117 feet (38 m) high; this structure dominates your view as you enter the complex. Unusually built on an elliptical base, this pyramid is the result of five superimposed temples. Parts of the first temple can be seen when ascending the western staircase; the second and third are accessed by the eastern staircase, in an inner chamber at the second level. The fourth temple is clearly visible from the west side, a giant Chaac mask marks the entrance and Chaac’s mouth is the door. Note also the series of Chaac masks on the sides of the stairway. Climb to the top of the east stairs to reach the fifth temple and view the whole site.

Located on the eastern side of the city, with its western face overlooking The Nunnery Quadrangle, this is the first structure seen as visitors enter the city. Though it appears as a single structure, this pyramid has in fact been built and added to five times in the course of history, in the known Maya practice of building newer temples on top of older ones at 52 year cycles. At the base of the western stairs archeologists have discovered the original temple that started the complete construction (called “Temple One”) and its birth has been carbon dated to the year 569. Though the overall temple as it appears now was completed between 900 – 1000 AD.

Structure like “El Castillo” at Chichén-Itzá are known for their angled, stepped appearance, but The Pyramid of the Dwarf is different from any other structure built by the Maya in that it resembles a truncated cone, with an oval base and no corners other than those found on the stairs and on the temples found at the apex of those stairs.

The Eastern Stairs are the widest of the two sets, starting from the base of the structure to the upper temple. The roof of the temple at the top of the eastern stairs stands 45 meters from the ground. Near the top of the eastern stairs is a smaller inner temple that cuts into the stairway itself. Once used for ceremonial purposes, this dark two-room temple is now a home for bats.

The Western Stairs overlook The Nunnery Quadrangle, and perhaps by virtue of them facing this significant structure, are very richly decorated and carved compared to the eastern side. Along both sides of this narrower staircase, images of the hooked-nose rain god Chaac line the stairs meaning that as worshipers climbed the stairs to the upper temples they would be in effect climbing a \”Stairways of the Gods” towards the place where they would perform their ceremonies. The Upper Temple of the western stairs is in the Chenes style, where the open doorway to the inner temple is meant to resemble the jaws of a huge Cosmic Serpent in the visage of the Mayan god of the sky, Itzamna.\”

Post – Processing Notes:
I shot this image in RAW mode and used Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 for my post-processing. After importing the photos into Lightroom and keywording them, I used two Lightroom develop presets available for free on the internet.

I first used the \”Wet Chrome” preset by Terry Johnston I found on Flickr. Search for \”Wet Chrome” in this page to download the preset.
I then followed it by using \”BW1″ from the set of BW presets from 640 pixels to convert to Black and White. Yes, this set of very high contrast and very good black and white conversions is free! I then tweaked the image using the adjustment brush and the other lightroom controls to get the image to my liking.
What do you think about the image and the post-processing?

Link to other posts from Uxmal
Link to other posts from Mexico

Technical Details:
Camera: Canon Rebel XT
Exposure: 1/250 at f/4.0
Focal Length: 19mm
ISO: 100
WB: Daylight
Lens: Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM SLR Lens for EOS Digital SLRs
Date: December 25, 2009
Filter: Singh-Ray Neutral LB Polarizer

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2 thoughts on “Magician\’s Pyramid – another view

  1. The details are awesome in this .. love how I can see the steps so sharp ..
    and the structure itself is imposing.
    Another great BW conversion.

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