Tag Archives: 35 mm

Mexican girl photoshoot

Photo I shot a while back with an analog camera CT-3 using 35 mm black and white film, and developed in dark room. My model Gloria.

Gloria. Copyright 2006 Miguel Omaña. Gloria. Copyright 2006 Miguel Omaña.

Tulum, the port city of the Maya world.

Photo and text by Miguel Omaña.

Once the Maya golden age crumbled, Tulum rose as the main port city of the Protectorate of Cobá.

Once a Maya port and trading city which rose after the fall of the great superpowers of the South, Tikal (today Guatemala) and Calakmul. As the golden age crumbled, Maya nations sprinkled the land with tiny nations. This continued until a nation emerged in the Yucatan Peninsula as the heir of the superpowers of old by means of conquest and trade. So the Protectorate of Cobá was born, encompassing much territory. From the vast lands it had, it heavily relied on a port city for trading, Tulum.

Through Tulum, goods were imported and exported in the region.

As this protectorate was enlarged, Cobá achieved great power through trade. Through ports like Tulum goods were imported and exported with other small Maya nations, as well as the rest of Central America and the Caribbean. Tulum must have functioned like an independent Free Zone (a place with few or no taxation), but its importance relied more on it utilitarian purpose.

Location, location… and a reef in the Caribbean.

Tulum’s geographic position was important, so much that a beacon was built to signal trading and traveling vessels. The reef constituted a physical obstacle in front of Mayan coasts. Yet, in front of Tulum’s shores there was (and still is) a safe passage through the reef. The beacon from the high point of Tulum would directly point to the safe route in the sea.

As cities like Chichen Itza grew prominent, Cobá and its port Tulum diminished.

Commercial routes that existed prior to the fall of the superpowers were reestablished. Even trading routes of Maya powers such as Palenque, Yaxchilan, Caracol, Naranjo and Copan were used again, only this time new political players in the Maya world used them. That is how Uxmal, the Mayapan League, and ultimately the now famous city of Chichen Itza (home of one of the seven wonders of the modern world) grew their prestige and political role. The Protectorate of Cobá dwindled, its government collapsed, and ideas and writing from the Maya golden age was silenced.

Then the new era catched up to a changing world.

The realm of trade and navigation yielded to a new era, to a highly militarized changing world. The Maya world would never be the same.


If you enjoy Ancient Mexican history, you might enjoy my ebook novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes. Available at online retail bookstores or follow the links in the official page


Photograph I shot at Tulum in December 23, 1998 with an analog Cosina CT-3 analog camera using 35 mm film.

Tulum, Mexico. Copyright 1998 Miguel Omaña. Tulum, Mexico. Copyright 1998 Miguel Omaña.

Mexican corn vendor.

Photo and text by Miguel Omaña.

Corn in Mexico are sold in the streets. Sometimes it is served in a cob, or you can ask for corn in a cup.

The word elote comes from Nahuatl language word elotl.

The way it is served has no limits. It can be with mayo, cheese, and spicy powder, for instance.

Although elote is how it is known in all of Mexico, the way is served does varies. For instance corn in a cup is called elote desgranado in northern Mexico, while in Central Mexico (in Mexico City or nearby states) it is called esquites. The word elote comes from Nahuatl language word elotl. Nahuatl was spoken during Mexica Aztec times, before the arrival of the Hispanics.

Photo shot with a 35 mm film, black and white. Developed in dark room.

Mexican corn vendor. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña.
Mexican corn vendor. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña.

Chichen Itza Palace of Captain Sun Disc

Photo and text: Miguel Omaña.
A spectacle to the eyes that rivals any of the famed cities of yesteryear.

The great Chichen Itza city had a beautiful blend of artistic and architecture influences at its facades and metropolitan structures. One such example where the high directive of Chichen Itza’s ahauob of assimilating the culture of vanquished people at war, is this building today dubbed as of “The Nuns”. It is an architectonic complex where Puuc style is fused, with a pinch of Chenes style. A work surrounded by an obvious Toltec influenced city, plus the effort to keep Classical Maya writing, and the native architecture, brings a spectacle to the eyes. A spectacle that rivals any of the famed cities of yesteryear, and those of today. Even when its most famous creation is the worldwide famous pyramid, the buildings and palaces that surround it are equally gorgeous, and even more daring if judged with an artistic view.

In this building we can observe its intricate art that easily rivals with baroque expressions of our New World (Europe), or Islamic sacred art. Each bar, each circle, ends up being part of a bigger image. In this case, we see Chaac faces, the rain itself.

Above the door we can observe an image of a seated person, as if vigilantly watching (or checking) of who enters or walks in front of the entrance. It is General Sun Disc (also named Captain Sun Disc). An enigmatic person that in memorial times went to great battles accompanied by his Serpent Generals. Many of these battles were immortalized at murals, where Captain Sun Disc was painted leading the military takeover of cities south of Chichen Itza. A figure so militarized, that even when he may have been a revered Chichen Itza ancestor, his rank was remembered and went on with his own name. Just like the Caesars were called in honor of Julius Caesar, or the Quetzalcoatl pontiffs in the same manner. Maybe this building was constructed by Chichen Itza government to house the Captain Sun Disc in turn. And even when such a rank was in the military highly venerable, it must have fallen at some point to one of the ahauob who ruled Chichen Itza.

Inside of such luxurious building maya writing is found, revealing history data of the great capital of the Itzaes. In those glyphs were recorded, for readers of the future, who was the mother of Kakupacal Kauil (whose name was Lady Kayam Kuk), and who was his maternal grandmother (called Lady Ton Ajaw), y the big importance of both women celebrated in their times. Could we deduce that maybe the great Kakupacal Kauil lived in this palace complex? Or that maybe Kakupacal Kauil, besides being part of the ajauob who ruled Chichen Itza, he also excelled in war as to become a Captain Sun Disc?
Almost a thousand years later Chichen Itza still impresses, ourselves and abroad.

Chichen Itza, the city that got to put in check a world, with its modern politics, its unstoppable army, and commercial connections. Politics that talk of a nation ruled by more than one, instead of a sole person (be a military, divine, inherited, or by merit). An unstoppable army, that when rivaled, it did not hesitate to crush great and ancient domains. But who after stomping enemy governments, it absorbed its people and their culture for the glory of Chichen Itza. And the great commercial links that made it easier for the exchange of ideas through their impressive roads that rose above normal terrain. It was natural that its capital was to be beautiful, and its science exalted to our times of interplanetary travels and smartphones. Almost a thousand years later Chichen Itza still impresses, ourselves and abroad.
Chichen Itza palace of Captain Sun Disc.
Chichen Itza palace of Captain Sun Disc. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña. 35 mm analog photography.