If you’re about ready for a little break from all things Maya, here’s a shot from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science — it’s of a miniature carving (roughly 10″ tall) by Vasily Konovalenko titled “Painter:”


If you’re wondering why miniature sculpture is in a natural history museum, it’s because Konovalenko’s carvings are entirely made from gemstones. Here’s this little guy’s bill of materials from the placard:

Shoes: black jasper

Pants: jasper

Shirt: lapis

Apron: white jasper

Hat: jasper

Face & Hands: jasper

Eyes: sapphire

Floor: agate

Bucket: petrified wood, cacholong

Brush: agate, amethyst quartz

Great Expectations

One of the best parts of living in Colorado is that we can get up to some… interesting… mountain events over the course of the year. This was a Canadian entry at the 2012 Breckenridge snow sculpture contest:

Great Expectations

I’m always amazed at just how much detail the sculptors can coax out of packed snow (OK, in this case with a bit of help from some icicles).

Great Expectations details 1

And of course, you have to look carefully to spot all the goodies they’ve packed into their work.

Great Expectations details 2


A bit of ancient royal propaganda on the north face of the Palace at the ruins of Palenque in Chiapas, Mexico:


This stucco is a bit tricky to get a good image of — you can’t get near it (for its own sake), and other parts of the structure it’s on block your view from ground level. So you need to work from a distance with a long lens.

I used Topaz Adjust to bring out the colors and structure a bit in this shot.

Angels in the Stucco

Stucco decorations on the face of the Acropolis at the Maya ruins of Ek’ Balam:

Angels in the Stucco

This stucco is in fantastic shape for its age — in no small part thanks to the fact that it was buried inside the Acropolis pyramid not long after it was built. It’s a tricky photographic subject thanks to the protective thatched roof overhead (the light’s even, but low, all day long), but it’s worth it to preserve this amazing work.