New photographs of Tikal in GIF format

all photographs by Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth


Tikal, Temple I


Tikal Temple I and the Great Plaza. Temple I is the mortuary monument erected to commemorate Ruler A, who is interred in Burial 116 beneath this pyramid. One of his sons was buried about 100 yards diagonally across this plaza, under Structure 5D-73, in the Tomb of the Jade Jaguar. (LINK LINK) The photographs on this page were taken with a Hasselblad ELX camera and Zeiss 50mm wide angle lens, using a Polaroid filter. Photography was programmed for December, the height of the rainy season, in order to get the full green of the surrounding jungle. Too many photos of Maya ruins are taken in the dry season, when the grass is wilted and the trees have lost their leaves.


Tikal, Temple I


Telephoto view of Temple I taken from the Central Acropolis across the Great Plaza. The entire structure was originally plastered white. Then the roof comb was painted with reds, blues, and other colors to accent the different areas of sculptural decoration. These roof combs were like giant billboards, with immense portrayals of the enthroned king, larger than life size. The stone used to construct these pyramids is local limestone, obtained from nearby quarries. The ancient Maya had no stone tools but limestone is soft enough that the Maya could utilize chert tools to work the stone into neat rectangular building blocks.


Structure 5D-34


Closeup view of Structure 5D-34 on the corner of the North Acropolis, taken with a Zeiss telephoto lens from the Central Acropolis.


camera equipment for panoramic pictures


This shows the special camera equipment used to take the panorama views of Tikal. This system is fully portable and completely computerized. It draws power from a sophisticated battery system. The lens is a normal Zeiss (borrowed from my Hasselblad system). This remarkable camera can also be mounted on wheels, placed on rails, to do a 15-foot long continuous photograph (on 70mm film) of any architectural facade.



New page format posted July 9, 2009